I process claims for pension benefits at the VA. Ask me anything.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. JeanT

    JeanT Newbie

    I read where people are checking the status of applications for benefits online. How do you sign up for that?
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member


    This ability to check the status of applications online is usually for those who have sent in their Aid and Attendance application through the eBenefits website. However, we do not recommend this website for submitting the A&A application because it has been known to have glitches and if you change one thing on the application, it is sent back to the bottom of the pile.
  3. cheriw

    cheriw Newbie

    Do the copies of documents they require (marriage, death, etc.) need to be "official" copies? Or, can I make photocopies?

    Thank you
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Responded to this in the General section where you posted as well.
  5. k2

    k2 Newbie

    Dear VetAdmin,

    I just reread one of your responses (on page 32): "You can file at any time informing the VA of any changes to include increases in care expenses."

    Does this apply to both prospective and retroactive medical expenses?

    If not, would you please identify any deadlines by which MERs must be filed for A&A recipients to report and receive retroactive medical expenses?

    Thanks in advance... !
  6. k2

    k2 Newbie

    My 92 year old Dad, who receives A&A, was under the impression that their doctor submitted medical documentation for his 91 year old disabled spouse with his initial application. (My Mom is legally blind, relies on a pacemaker, etc. etc.)

    When I recently discovered that they were not getting full credit for their medical expenses, I called and was told the V.A. does not have medical documentation for her. Since their doctor's office lost their archives when changing over to a new software system, it appears there is no choice but to file (refile?) the appropriate forms for her.

    Which forms should I use to ensure she is rated? Should I file an Intent to File form? Or just proceed ASAP?

    Again... many thanks for sharing your expertise.
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Are you saying that the original application was made for Veteran only, rather than Veteran with spouse?

    If that is the case, then you would use VA form 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim to update the VA that his spouse should have been included in the application. You will also need VA form 21-2680 Physician's Evaluation for her Dr. to complete to be attached to the 21-4138. It doesn't matte that they lost data, as they can still attest to her current physical state.

    If they are in facility care, then you will also need a Statement of Occupancy from the facility showing her as a resident, and the service provided to her.

    The pacemaker is not really an issue here, but her legal blindness is, so that should be more than sufficient to demonstrate her needs.

    I would get her approved first, and then once that portion is done, then go back to see if the VA will adjust the award amount if it can be proven Dad should have been rated as Veteran with Spouse for the higher award amount.
  8. k2

    k2 Newbie

    I have not been able to access their data on line, but it appears (from a recent claim decision and calls to the PMC phone number) that the original application was made for both, but that a 21-2680 is not currently on record for my Mom (whose disability predates my Dad's and has, among other things, been sufficiently severe to require a power wheelchair long before he received his).

    It must be a popular complaint, but It would be so much easier to problem solve if the VA was more transparent and recognized civilian POAs!

    I'll prepare a VA form 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim to apprise the VA and attach a VA form 21-2680 Physician's Evaluation for her. (I've already scheduled a home visit from her physician.)

    Thanks for putting the pacemaker in perspective; it's true that her congestive heart failure has not progressed as far as some of her other conditions. It's also good to hear that the VA will accept legal blindness, even though state's definitions tend to be more generous than the V.A.'s.

    If the doctor attests to the length of her disability, might it still be possible to ask the VA to re-evaluate past awards once we complete these steps and they confirm her status?
  9. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member


    As vetadmin mentioned, it would be best to get her award straightened out first. Then you could look at getting the VA to re-evaluate to adjust past awards. One step at a time is probably your best bet.
  10. casagrayson

    casagrayson Newbie

    Got a denial letter today due to having too many assets. When I sent in the form, I didn't realize that my father's IRA would could against my mother's assets. Here is the situation. Both of my parents are WWII Vets, they are 94 and 95, and are living in an assisted living community due to the health issues of both. I submitted two applications ... one for my father and one for my mother. I haven't received the denial letter for my father, yet, although I suspect I will get it soon as the information on the forms was virtually identical. The denial for my mother also states that I didn't return form 21-8049, but I did (both by fax and regular mail).

    I guess I don't know where to go from here. Should I just concentrate on ONE of the applications - send an updated form 8049, and also update the assets (since we have depleted additional assets since the original file date)? Should I submit this as additional information in support of a claim, or file a full appeal?

    I wish I had found this site *before* I filled out the original claim paperwork!!
  11. Heather-Lynn

    Heather-Lynn Newbie

    My friend hung him self the 28th of December 2015. He was a marine. His wife is now fighting for benefits and as he failed to bet his benefits done before this. She need to know whats the best way to handle this. A tort claim or a 1151? He visited the Va mental health begging for help? They told him you are not service connected, sorry. :'(
  12. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Hello Heather-Lynn,

    I am so sorry to hear of your friend. Is his wife eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit based on his wartime service and her financial situation? To find out if she's eligible I highly recommend reading this page, especially the top section: http://www.veteranaid.org/apply.php

    If she's eligible, we'd be more than happy to help you or her with any questions regarding the application.

    This site is mostly used for questions regarding the Aid and Attendance benefit. The "service-connected" you mentioned is relating to compensation, not pension. The A&A benefit is a pension benefit. So she still may be eligible.
  13. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    My heart is broken for you. How truly sad that he felt there was no help available to him.

    If he never completed his application to be classified as "service-connected", then there really is not an avenue for her to explore. Without him having been awarded that classification, she cannot file against benefits that were never awarded

    His application would have been for "compensation" and not "pension", which is what Aid and Attendance is.

    If she herself is in need for assistance for her daily living, then as Kaylin has mentioned, she could explore the A&A "pension" to assist with expenses in paying for her care.

    Most importantly would be if this is the case would be to verify his dates of service would make her eligible for this one benefit.

    Sincere condolences on the loss of your friend.
  14. k2

    k2 Newbie

    To VetAdmin:

    Would you please identify any deadlines for submitting Medical Expense Reports?

  15. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Can you specify if this is for updating the VA on an approved application, or one that is in process?

  16. k2

    k2 Newbie

    It's for updating the VA on an approved application.
  17. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    If it is just updating the VA on an increase in expenses, then no, there is not a time limit, but until it is received and processed, he won't see the increase. I would include a 21-4138 Statement in Support of Claim making it clear as to why you are submitting the Medical Expense form,
  18. k2

    k2 Newbie

    Thanks, VetAdmin!

    Guess I shouldn't have answered so quickly. Let's try again. A vet was approved for A&A in 2012 and began receiving a pension. He states that a letter he received from the VA in December 2014 (that notified him about a slight increase in his monthly pension) invited him to submit additional expenses. In 2015 he filed three MERs (one for each intervening year). What, if any, deadlines should he have used?
  19. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Not sure if there would have been a deadline unless one was stated in the letter.
  20. casagrayson

    casagrayson Newbie

    My mother's application was denied due to having too many assets ($89,000). Since the original filing of the application, however, we have drawn that down to around $60,000 due to her being in the facility. I want to send in Evidence in Support of Claim, asking them to reevaluate her application. The form 21-4138 isn't all I need to submit, is it? Should I resubmit the 21-527 and mark it as "amended"? I also need to submit a 21-8049 with updated expenses (although they show they never received the first one!). If I do submit "amended" forms, I should include that information in the 21-4138, correct?


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