Accrued benefits paid to children if not paid to widow?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by patbarb, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    Hi, great site! Now, I know this question has probably been answered to death but I just can't find it.* :-\ My mom received A&A benefits for about 1 1/2 years before her death, and those benefits were a real blessing! However, the original approval process took about a year (where we kids paid for her care out of our own pockets) and we were told mom would eventually receive the accrued benefits for that waiting period.

    We still had not gotten those retro benefits when she passed away so we filed 21-601. Now, a full 17 months(!) after her passing, we got a denial recently with the usual boilerplate that they'd only cover burial/'last illness' out-of pocket.

    So my question is, was this legal of the VA to sit on the accrued back payments for the 1 1/2 years my mom was approved and in the system receiving benefits? Are they able to duck out of this responsibility by just waiting for her to die?

    *Did see lots of questions about accrued benefits if death occurred BEFORE benefits were approved but not if after.

    Thanks for any help,
    Patrick Barbour
     
  2. Max

    Max Hero Member

    How much was the very first payment she received?
     
  3. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    Hi, her first payment was just the standard monthly amount.
     
  4. Max

    Max Hero Member

    When did she die specifically and what was the date on the denial letter?
     
  5. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    Hi, she died on 7/11/11 and the denial date was stamped 'May 06 2013'.
     
  6. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    (Oops, small correction. That was my brother's denial letter. Mine was stamped 'May 22 2013'.)
     
  7. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Your only option at this point would be to appeal the denial. You can provide receipts showing that you were held financially liable for expenses related to the beneficiary's last illness and/or burial.
     
  8. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    OK, thanks much. One last question. Is there such a thing as 'accrued benefits' or is that a myth? I ask because my mom never received them and, if I understand what you're saying, that's not something that she normally could have expected would be paid out to her. Thanks!
     
  9. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Accrued refers to the back months that you waited. If it took 12 months to get through the process, then the prior 11 months are accrued. If deemed incompetent to manage own affairs, you will have to go through the Fiduciary process before those prior 11 months will be released, However, the monthly pension would start so there would be funds to help offset care cost.

    Keep in mind that the VA's definition of "date of last illness" is the same day you applied for this pension.
     
  10. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    Aha, did not realize that about the 'date of last illness'! Was assuming they meant the final cause of death, as stated on the death certif. or something. That's helpful info, indeed. -)
     

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