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home | Veterans' Benefits | VA Aid and Attendance Application Up . . .
 

VA Aid and Attendance Application Updates and Program Changes

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Debbie Burak of VeteranAid.org has released an urgent alert concerning several significant changes to the VA Enhanced Pension (Aid & Attendance) application process, forms, and rules. With her permission we are re-printing her Alert here so that it will reach as many people as possible.

Debbie Burak and her website VeteranAid.org is our "go to" resource for all things Aid & Attendance. If you or your elder are part of this program, if you are in the throes of the application process, or if you want to stay current now that you're finally "in," you need to be aware of the VeteranAid site, and we strongly recommend that you subscribe to their newsletter. It doesn't come regularly or frequently - you will only hear from them when there is something important to pass on about VA Aid & Attendance.

 

URGENT UPDATES ON VA AID & ATTENDANCE FORM CHANGES AND
APPLICATION PROCESS

Apologies for the length of this newsletter; however there have been a number of recent changes made by the VA that impact procedures for a successfully processed application.

What you need to know:

  • VA Form 21-534 (Application for a surviving spouse) has been updated and requires more information regarding any previous marriages.  If you are in the process of gathering information for submission, make certain that you have the most current and revised form.  The VA will not process the old form.  The most current form is available on the home page of the site if you need to verify you have the correct one or check here. http://www.veteranaid.org/docs/21-534.pdf 

  • VA Form 21-22a (Claimant's Representative) The VA is no longer processing this form until after a determination has been made on the application for benefits, so including this form with your original application currently will not serve any purpose and our recommendation is to not submit at this time. 

  • VA Form 21-0845 ( Authorization to Disclose Personal Information to a Third Party) http://www4.va.gov/vaforms/form_detail.asp?FormNo=21-0845  This is a new form the VA is using and MUST be submitted with the original application package if you are going to be overseeing the application process for your loved one. This form grants permission to the person listed to be able to speak directly with the VA on behalf of the applicant.  An additional advantage of using the 21-0845 is that the form is supposed to be separated from the application upon receipt of the application and sent to scanning so that it is in the system at the processing center handling the claim.  This is actually a positive step on the VA's part to make communication for the family member easier.

  • A huge change in how things are now being processed by the VA is that they are no longer withholding monies on claims approved that require a Fiduciary be appointed.  In the past no money was being released until the Fiduciary process was completed.  This left families with approved claims but no access to the muchly needed monthly income from the pension to help pay for care.  This is singularly one of the best things the VA could have possibly done to truly assist our veterans and their families. The Fiduciary process is still in place on those claims where the applicant has been declared incompetent to manage their own affairs.  Due to the limited number of VA Field Agents, these appointments can take months to schedule, but this change in policy will make the wait a little easier to tolerate.

  • New Legislative Rule - If you can prove that medically and financially you should have gotten the award up to 12 months before you filed, the VA may give you the award for the 12 months prior.  These letters started changing a few months ago, so read carefully all correspondence from the VA in reference to approval on your application.  You would need a Physician's evaluation that states as of ABC month, the applicant needed XYZ help.  You may qualify for the additional back payments and worth exploring if you meet the criteria.

  • Veteran with sick spouse - While the veteran has to qualify for a spouse to benefit (unless they are widowed), what many do not realize is that if the medical costs of the spouse depletes their combined monthly income, the veteran is entitled to file as a "Veteran with a sick spouse" and would be eligible for $1290 a month.

  • Providing care at home - If the veteran or surviving spouse is being cared for in a home by a family member or other non licensed healthcare individual, you are required to call the primary Doctor or nurse and give monthly updates as to how the veteran or widow is doing.  Just a checking in if you will, but this step is crucial for deducting caregiver's cost.  Again this is if the care is being provided by a non-licensed healthcare individual.  Many are unaware of this requirement, and if you have not done so in the past, you need to start doing this to ensure there are no issues when the yearly EVR (Eligibility Verification Report) comes due.

  • Filing online with the VA - Beware if you are considering filing your application online with the VA that their system is programmed to automatically process the claim for "Disability Compensation" and not for Pension Benefits.  Aid and Attendance along with the other two levels of the Improved Pension (Basic & Housebound) are not based on service related injuries and should never be processed as Disability Compensation.  If you file on line your claim will be processed incorrectly and will result in a delay of approval.  You will be on hold until they rule the claim is denied for "Service Connected Disability" at which time you will have to get he claim processed for pension.  You could lose a year+.  Sorry to say that the old fashion way of sending "Registered Return Receipt" is the only recommended method for submitting for Pension Benefits.

A couple of questions we have received multiple inquires on:

  • Pension increase for 2010 - There was no increase in pension amounts for 2010.  Figures remain the same as 2009.

  • Do I claim or report to the IRS income from Aid and Attendance? NO.  This is a tax-free pension and does not get claimed or reported for income.

 

You can see from this one example how useful the VeteranAid.org newsletter is. I'm a loyal subscriber, and I strongly suggest that you check it out and subscribe if you have any interest whatsoever in the Aid & Attendance benefit.

 

 

For Information about the VA
Aid & Attendance program
we recommend

We recommend VeteranAid.org for information about Va Aid & Attendance




·  Pensions For Veterans
·  Will The VA Pay For Care At Home or in Assisted Living?