Hello everyone, Here is a neat little VA policy of which you may be unaware: If you are considering applying for benefits within the next year, but are either not ready or are unsure of how the finances will play out after going into a nursing home/assisted living facility, it is best to submit an informal claim. An informal claim is any correspondence VA receives that requests benefits. For example, if you would like to apply for pension benefits, submit a signed statement that says something to the effect of "I would like to apply for pension benefits." Why would you want to do this? Say you submit an informal claim on March 29, 2010 and then submit an application on August 12, 2010. If VA can approve your claim for benefits, they will be able to grant the benefit retroactively to March 29, 2010. What's the time limit for this? One year from the date VA acknowledges your informal claim. For example, if you submit an informal claim on March 29, 2010, VA might review it on April 25, 2010 and send you a letter requesting an application. As long as you return the application to VA by April 25, 2011, VA will be able to grant the benefit back to March 29, 2010.