How does Vet's passing affect the application process

Discussion in 'Surviving Spouse Application' started by JimsKid#3, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. JimsKid#3

    JimsKid#3 Newbie

    I recently submitted and Intent to File signed by my father, the veteran. At the time our intent was to move him and my mother (not a vet) to an assisted living facility. I'm now in the process of collecting the information for the A&A application. My father's health has recently declined and it is very possible that he will have passed before I complete and submit the application. That will change the need from the veteran's benefit to the spouse's benefit. Also, since my father will remain at their home until he passes and my mother will not move to an assisted living facility, the benefit will be to assist with medical bills instead of help with monthly assisted living expenses. How will this affect the process?

    Do I need to submit the application on behalf of my mother?
    Do I need to resubmit the Intent to File signed by my mother?
    Do the forms I need to submit change since they are no longer moving to an assisted living facility?

    Thank you for your help. This process is so overwhelming.
  2. Jandy

    Jandy Jr. Member

    Hi JimsKid#3,
    First of all, I am so sorry for what your family is going through right now. I know how tough this must be.

    To be eligible for the A&A benefit, your parents would need to be paying someone else (can be an outside caregiver or a family member) to come in and provide assistance with dressing, toileting, etc. The VA expects that spouses help each other without payment, so it would not be enough if your mother is the one assisting your father. And using the money to pay for medical bills is not what the benefit is for. Now, if your father rallies and your parents move to an ALF, then you can file for veteran benefits. OR if he does pass and your mother moves to an ALF, you can file for surviving spouse benefits at that time.

    In either of those scenarios, if you are approved, the effective date for payment of benefits would not be the date you sent in the Intent to File. Why? Because at the time you sent in the Intent, your parents were not in an ALF, and it does not sound like they were incurring care expenses with a paid caregiver at home. The correct order needs to be: first, expenses are incurred; then immediately send in the Intent to File to lock in a date; and last, follow up (within 1 year) with the full application for benefits.

    JimsKid#3, I know this is a lot to take in during an already stressful time. I hope for comfort for your father and peace for you all. Good luck and take care.
  3. JimsKid#3

    JimsKid#3 Newbie

    Hi Jandy,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. My father returns home today and we will have a nurse come in 3 times a day until he passes to help my mother with his care since she is in her mid-80's and unable to provide all the care he needs. In addition to the visiting nurse, my father is receiving hospice care - he is not expected to rally. Based on your response, my understanding is as follows:
    • My parents would be eligible for the A&A benefit and the effective date would be the date on which the nurse began caring for him
    • Once the nursing services begin, we need to file another "intent to file"
      • Does the form need to be on behalf of my mother (signed by her as opposed to my father)?
      • Do I need to do anything to rescind the "intent to file" that I have already submitted on behalf of my father (with his signature)?
    • We need to file the full application for benefits within one year
    Is that correct?

    Many thanks.
  4. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Hello JimsKid#3,

    Unfortunately the VA doesn't have an easy process to change the A&A application and/or benefit over from the veteran to a surviving spouse. Yes, you will have to submit another Intent to File for your mother. Are you filing just on behalf of her? Or both your mother and father? If your father is passing away soon then it may be best to just apply for your mother because otherwise you will have to update the application once he has passed.

    If you want to rescind the Intent to File for your father simply call the VA to let them know or mail a Statement in Support of Claim form 21-4138 with request to ignore the Intent to File you submitted.

    Yes, you do need to file the full application within one year of sending the Intent to File.

    I am so sorry to hear of your father's bad condition. I hope you can get the A&A benefit for your mother soon.

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