Death of surviving spouse during Aid and Attendance application process

Discussion in 'Tips and Resources' started by jetmech217, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. jetmech217

    jetmech217 Newbie

    In November of 2008, I assisted my mother in filing a 21-4138 form for intent to apply for Aid and Attendance. We received a letter from the VA acknowledging receipt of the form and notifying us that we had a year to file the actually application.

    Over the following year, my family got all the information together and at the end of November 2009, we formally submitted the Aid and Attendance application to the VA. Over the next several months my mother fell ill, and unfortunately, she passed away on January 28, 2010. The week after she passed way, I received a phone call from the VA indicating that they had decided to award my mother a monthly VA benefit.

    Last week, I received that actual award letter which indicates that my mother would be receiving a monthly payment and that she is entitled to the accumulated amount of those payments going back to the point when we filed the 21-4138 form. There is also a statement in the award letter saying that a finding of incompetence is pending on my mother due to the information provided in the physician’s statement that we submitted with the application. The VA is requesting additional information before they will release the retroactive award.

    Since my mother is now deceased, I am wondering what my best course of action should be with the VA. Obviously, we need to notify them of my mother's passing, however, I am afraid they will no longer pay her estate the retroactive amount she was due (aprox $14,000). This money would go a long way to helping pay for the funeral costs and other outstanding bills she had due.

    Thanks in advance
  2. jetmech217

    jetmech217 Newbie

  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Your situation is a little more complicated and you may need someone to guide you through this as there is a different set of forms for accrued benefits and what you will receive is dependent upon your mother’s estate and filling out the forms correctly.

    With the amount of money that is owed here, you may want to contact Patty at to see if you can do this on your own or with assistance. I have total respect for the work Patty does, and if she can help she would be the one to talk to.
  4. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Accrued benefits are payable to anyone who paid for the claimant's last illness and death. I would put together all of your expenses that you helped her pay between the date you submitted the 4138 and her death including the funeral and burial. This can include nursing home costs and medical costs. Please keep in mind that if she submitted an expense as something she was paying for on the application, you cannot claim it as an expense that you paid for to be reimbursed with the accrued because her eligibility was based on her payment of expenses, so if you paid for it, then she might not have been eligible. That being said, if she had $1,000/mo from SSA and $2,000 in expenses at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you could submit expenses showing that you paid for a portion of the nursing home or assisted living facility and this would not affect your eligibility.

    If you have questions, just let me know
  5. jetmech217

    jetmech217 Newbie

    Thank you all for your answers.

    I wound up submitting a Form 21-601 including all the funeral expences, end of life assistance costs, and other medical bills I paid prior to my mother's passing. Both my sisters also submitted 21-601 forms even though neither sister paid any of the final costs. I had them fill out their own individual forms since the instructions included in the 21-601 specificaly stated that "each person claiming a share of the accrued benefits should file a seperate form 21-601" and also "The fact that a preferred beneficiary fails to file or prosecute a claim does not permit payment of his/her share of accrued benefits to a person or persons having an equal or lower preference".

    This lead me to the conclusion that if neither of my sisters submits a claim, I would only be entitled to 1/3 of the accrued benefits since there are actually three persons entitled to benefits based on their relationship to the beneficiary. In order to receive all the accrued benefits, all three surviving children of the beneficiary would need to submit a Form 21-601.

    Frankly, I'm a bit confused regarding the need to submit burial and final medical expences since paragraph C of the instructions for Form 21-601 states "If there are no living persons who are entitled on the basis of relationship, accrued benefits may be payable as reimbursement for last illness and burial expenses." This statement indicates that you only need to submit funeral and medical expences if you are not entitled to accrued benefits based on your relationship to the beneficiary.

    Since according to the table included in paragraph C, my sisters and I are entitled to equal shares of the accrued benefits on the basis of "relationship" to the beneficiary, it would appear that we need no further justification to receive the accrued benefits.

    I'll keep you posted on the final outcome.
  6. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Payments based on relationship can only be issued to minor dependent children, children under the age of 23 who are still in school, children who became completely disabled before the age of 18, or widows. A payment based on relationship likely could not be issued to you in this case.


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