Denied, looking for insight

Discussion in 'Surviving Spouse Application' started by jhobart, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. jhobart

    jhobart Newbie

    Sent in VA 21-534 along with everything else. Received a reply:

    "We denied your claim for dependency and indemnity (DIC), death pension and accured benefits. We denied your claim for DIC because there is no evidence to show that the veteran's death was related to military service".

    Regarding the 21-534 form, we answered Yes to question 31 regarding if we we're applying for A&A. Anyone have any suggestions where we went wrong? Looks like we'll have to start the appeals process.

  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    The VA processed the claim for disabiltiy compensation rather than pension benefit. You did nothing wrong. The person handling the claim did.

    What you need to do at this point is to submitt a Statement in Support of Claim (Form 21-4138) with wording something to the following:

    Dear VA,
    On __________ I filed for NON-Service Connected Pension Aid and Attendance. You have processed my application for service connected disability, which is not what I applied for.

    Tell them that the claim needs to be expedited either due to financial hardship or whatever the circumstance may be. It is also recommended that you include a VCAA form which should have been included with your letter in the event you want to appeal the decision.

    This unfortunately is a common practice by the VA in their rush to meet daily production quotas.
  3. pattyclarke

    pattyclarke Newbie

    I empathize with you. I am new to this process and am trying to research everything before filing our initial claim. I have been learning so much from this site. (Thank you again Debbie) When I read your post about the form 21-534, it caught my attention because this is the application form that I have in my file to fill out. So I pulled it out to re-read the instructions and it says right at the top: "For application for dependency and indemnity compensation, death pension and accrued benefits by a surviving spouse or child (Including death compensation if applicable)." Then in in 2E it talks about how to apply for aid and attendance allowance etc. Ugh, if the VA processors commonly mistake this application to be for a veteran's death related to military service, wouldn't it be a good idea to have a separate for to apply for A&A?

    Debbie, you mentioned including a VCAA form, but I was unable to locate this on the VA site for forms using VCAA. Is there a form number that you could provide?

    Thank you,
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    The VCAA is an internal form the VA sends out giving you the right to respond. Since it is internal I don't know if you could find it on their site. It is sent allowing you to have 30 days to respond stating you have additional information or that you have submitted all necessary documents.

    No they don't make it easy, and those processing claims have production quotas and to them whether they do it correctly or not isn't the concern as much as they can count it as being processed.

    Another little thing they don't tell you is if you use their automated online filing system, the system is programed to AUTOMATICALLY put the claim in as Disability Compensation rather than Pension Benefit, so your doomed out of the gate to fight for the claim to be processed for A&A.

    There is very little the VA does that is designed to be easy or understandable, so many fall through the intended cracks in the system.

    Thank you for you kind remarks about the site
  5. pattyclarke

    pattyclarke Newbie

    Thanks Debbie. I misunderstood the part about the VCAA form being included with the rejection letter. My head is spinning with my two week process of research. I ordered a government booklet recommended to me by the VSO I talked to on the phone at the local VA office titled "Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents & Survivors." She assured me this booklet would be extremely helpful in understanding the application process. Wrong...

    I have a list of questions that I keep adding to so I can come back and ask questions about before filing. Sometimes doing diligent research can end up making you more confused. There is a lot of conflicting information about what is recommended to include with the application. For instance, one article said DO NOT include medical records, if the VA wants them they will ask. Another article said INCLUDE all medical records for the claimant for the last 12 months with the application because it will save you a huge amount of time in the approval process.

    So hard to understand.

  6. jhobart

    jhobart Newbie

    Thanks Debbie, I suspected someone at the VA had rendered an incorrect decision. That 21-534 form really needs another box so applicants may clearly identify what the request is for (DIC vs Death pension with A&A). I didn't find a VCAA form in the package from the VA, only a VA Form 4107 that outlines how to appeal should I disagree with their decision. It stresses I have one year to appeal. You mention a 30 day window. Is there another avenue to pursue before appealing?

    Good luck with you claim Patty, keep a log of all add'l rrequests from the VA, what you sent back and when. I've already had to submit the 21-22a form 3 times appointing me as Mom's rep. Even after the VA sent a letter saying they already had it!

    Appreciate the help - Jim
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Jim & Patty,

    I am sending via private email the VCAA form for you to use and will respond to the rest of your question in a separate post.
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    You don't want to appeal this decison as that will only complicate things and it not the appropriate action at this stage. What you are asking for is a DRO review.

    You want to do the Statement in Support of Claim and write your statement on it stating that this was processed for service connected rather than NON-service connected. Tell them that you think there was a clear error and include the VCAA form that I sent to your personal email.
  9. Max

    Max Hero Member

    This is actually incorrect. The 534 is one application for 3 benefits: death compensation, death pension (what you were probably applying for) and accrued benefits. After that statement, there should be something that says "we denied your claim for death pension because..." If you private message me with what this statement says, I can give you more guidance.
  10. Max

    Max Hero Member

    I agree, appeals don't give you anything special except someone else reviews your claim. The LAST thing you want to do is DRO review. DRO's are very smart people, but VA does not have enough of them. It will take forever to review the case.

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