21-601 correct form for possible accrued benefits for recently deceased veteran?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by arnie88k, May 7, 2015.

  1. arnie88k

    arnie88k Newbie

    Hi there,

    My father, a WWII army veteran with an honorable discharge unfortunately passed away the first week of March this year. He had applied close to a year earlier for the Aid and Attendance benefit, as well as an increase to his disability pension.

    The last year of his life, he moved up to MA from Florida to get surgery and be closer to his children. He clearly needed day to day assistance, and so he moved into a nearby good quality assisted living residence. The residence was willing to let him pay only half of their usual monthly rent, based on his paying them back, assuming he got approved for the Aid and Attendance benefit, which appeared very likely given his condition.

    The wait for the VA to get to his application went on for about a year, which is not too surprising. However, what is very unfortunate is that the VA finally looked at his application and sent out a request for him to get seen by the VA to confirm his need for Aid and Attendance a day after he passed. When we let the VA know, they went ahead and closed out his claim(s).

    Now the assisted living residence has sent me a bill for the balance due for the year (approx $18,000) which is well beyond what was left in his account, and I can't pay it either. I called the VA, and was advised to submit a new claim using form 21-601 - Application for Accrued Amounts Due a Deceased Beneficiary. However, I'm not sure that this is the right form to submit for this situation.

    My sister and I are our father's children, but we are both well above 18 years old, and it doesn't look like the Lump sum accrued benefits are applicable, unless 'domiciliary care' is similar to 'assisted living' in this context.

    It would be nice to help the assisted living residence with at least some of the accrued funds, as they did help my father. I'm just hoping someone here can advise me if this is the right claim form to submit. I see related 21-534 and 21-535 forms, but it's not clear they're correct or incorrect either. Thanks in advance for anyone able to advise us here. Please let me know if you need any additional information.

    Thanks to all here who have served their country! Your service is very much appreciated!

    Arnie
     
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Arnie,

    The 21-601 would be the correct form, however, this is for where family members paid expenses on behalf of the applicant out of their personal funds. If this is strictly a matter of no family members paying on your Dad's behalf since the facility gave him reduced rent, I don't know that you will prevail.

    If you send copies of the invoice showing what is still owed to the facility, the VA may considered these expenses.

    The fact that he was receiving "compensation" from the VA is why the VA asked him to see a Dr to verify he now required assistance with his daily living. This also means that he would surrender the "compensation" money for the "pension" money of Aid and Attendance as he could not draw both of them. You would have wanted the higher amount of the two.

    I am not sure how the VA will deal with the 21-601 if no family member is out of pocket. You cannot claim paying down the amount owed with his own funds, only what you or other family member may have paid on his behalf.

    If that is not the case, I would submit the invoices, and hope the VA would be willing to consider on that basis.

    Our condolences on the loss of your Dad, and hope the VA will help out with the debt owed to the facility.
     

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