I process claims for pension benefits at the VA. Ask me anything.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Max, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Title says it all.
  2. ChildWWIIVet

    ChildWWIIVet Newbie

    Thank you VSR. I have a question on recurring vs non recurring expenses on my mom's death pension. This is the basic improved pension. My mom's claims follow the calendar year. Her first year on the death pension was January 2012 to January 2013. Due to funeral expense of my veteran dad her countable income the first year was below zero so she received the maximum pension. In her award letter it stated she could still submit expenses against this 2012 to 2013 year. How can that be when she already received the maximum benefit for the first year? She did have additional non recurring medical expenses for this first year that were not submitted in the claim because they had not yet occurred. Can I submit these expenses for her second year claim?

    I think what I am asking is if a non recurring expense can be used against countable income the following year when the year the non recurring expense occurred the maximum benefit had been received? I hope this question is understandable. Thank you for all your help on this site.
  3. memm12

    memm12 Newbie

    Can you tell me if there is assistance available for non-wartime veteran's spouse with the cost of assisted living due to Alzheimers?
    My Dad served his country and its not his fault that there were no wars when he was in the service. If you can help or refer to where I might get help I would greatly appreciate it.
    Thank you so much,

    Joni Crump
  4. vbcoder

    vbcoder Jr. Member


    I have been drawing max. benefit for A&A. My wife passed away on 6/19/2013. I sent them a copy of her death certificate and a form 21-4138.
    I advised them of her passing and listed the differences in my total income and expenses. Phil,PA handles my app.

    I received a form letter dated 7/12/2013 stating that they received my app. and would get to it as soon as possible.

    In your opinion, how long will it take for them to drop my status to a single Vet and adjust my payment?

    Thank you for being here and answering questions.
  5. Max

    Max Hero Member

    You can always submit additional expenses at any time. If she was already receiving the maximum amount for 2012, submitting additional expenses would not change her award. Expenses can only be used to reduce income for the same year (i.e. expenses incurred in 2012 can only be used to offset income received in 2012).
  6. Max

    Max Hero Member

    If the veteran's death is related to military service, there is a benefit available called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The application is the same as the application for Death Pension. Keep in mind that "wartime" for VA purposes might be different from what you might believe is during a period of war. For example, Japan formally surrendered on August 15, 1945, but for VA purposes, WWII didn't end until December 31, 1946. When did your father serve?
  7. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Unfortunately I'm unfamiliar with the processing times for specific claim types at each pension center. There should be an estimated timeframe listed if you track your claim online. You can do this at www.ebenefits.va.gov. In the meantime, I would be sure to keep track of your finances and setting aside some of the money you receive since VA will be reducing your award once the claim is processed.
  8. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    Hi VSR, don't know if you're still answering questions but if so, here's a link to my question in General Discussion (since I don't want to cross-post). Thanks for your time! --patrick
  9. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Hi PatBarb. There wasn't a link attached.
  10. patbarb

    patbarb Newbie

    I see you were able to find my post in General so I'll continue the conversation over there - thanks!
  11. biekshaj

    biekshaj Newbie

    VSR-you may have encountered this situation.

    "After a long application process, my mother finally received a survivor pension award in July 2013. The celebration was short-lived as my mother had a bad fall and subsequent surgery in June. After one month of PT/OT it has been determined that she will be unable to return to ALF. The ONLY way we can support her needs is to place her in a skilled/long-term care nursing home. The ONLY way we can pay for this is to apply for Medicaid. Unfortunately, with her social security AND the new A&A monthly benefit, she is OVER the max income allowed for Florida.

    I have been told that even though her VA benefit will drop to $90 if Medicaid was approved (which would then place her within income limits), her current income is what is considered and she will be rejected. Unbelievable as she just received her first check this month. That check is going for past medical expenses so it will not be in the bank for very long.

    Does anyone on this forum have suggestions on who to contact for guidance? I do not have to hit the "enter" button on her Medicaid application until September 1, so hoping to find some answers quickly. Please ask if you need more information or clarification. The story is long and I am trying to keep the background short!"
  12. Max

    Max Hero Member

    If she is in the facility and has a medicaid application pending, VA will still reduce the award to the $90 protected rate without the application actually being approved yet.
  13. Stephen58

    Stephen58 Newbie

    Received a letter saying " we are still processing your app for Pension ( A&A), and apologize for any delay... please notify us immediately of any address change...." I am assuming that this is a good sign? We had sent in an updated income form( cant recall form #), in June and, based on a phone call to a VA rep this week, he suggested that we also send in a statement of expense regarding monthly payment to a relative to attend to my moms needs including cooking meals, assistanced with walking, meds, taking to doctor each month, etc.Also ,since originalpackage we sent in June had a March bank statement,I went ahead and sent in a current bank statement also. Is it better to wait for Va to ask for additional info or ok to send supporting updated documents I feel would help expedite process?Thanks !
  14. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Yes, at this point you are pretty much just waiting in line. If her income or expenses change, send in an update. There isn't a need to send updated net worth information or bank statements.
  15. Stephen58

    Stephen58 Newbie

    Thank you VSR ! One more thing,can I track the progress online ??
  16. RoadAhead

    RoadAhead Newbie

    I got through the process and after 10 persistent months I got an award of Pension and A and A for my Dad.

    Issue 1.
    Then the "proposing a finding of Incompetency" came in. I have read all I can find here.

    I sent in on 4138 requesting I be appointed as Fiduciary - citing that I am his SSA Rep Payee, I am his co-bank account holder, I am co-listed for Medicare contact and for his VA Health Center information -with all document copies. I also noted being bonded and working in position of financial responsibility. Should I also note I am his POA? or does this drive the idea of "Incompetent" even more? I sent via e-benefits and sent by mail via Certified Letter.

    I thought after the fact? Am I better to challenge the whole "incompetent" issues or just go with it. If I am correct, a VA finding of "incompetence" is not the same as a Court having determined him as such?

    Issue 2
    He is now - as of just a few days ago...in an Assisted Living. Am i required to provide this detail and will it increase his A and A? Will it drag the receipt of any monies out even longer?

    And of course I am dealing with Philly.... :)


  17. Max

    Max Hero Member


    Provide VA with an updated care expense statement. The statement should include: date he moved into assisted living, the monthly cost, his level of care, and services provided. The statement should be signed by your father and an administrator at the care facility.

    As long as you are listed as being his next of kin and as the person he would prefer to be his fiduciary, you don't need to turn anything else in on that front.
  18. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Do not challenge the rating of "incompetency". It will only drag things out, and if there is anything to point to beginnings of dementia or ALZ, you would end up with the same ruling. Appealing the ruling would buy an approximate 2 years to get through that process. Take the money and move forward with Fiduciary appointment.
  19. Stephen58

    Stephen58 Newbie

    Just curious, how is the monthly A&A benefit determined, does it vary based on gross income after allowabale deductions ?
  20. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Yes. The payment is based on a rate set by congress each year. The annual adjusted income is deducted from the annual pension rate. The beneficiary receives whatever is left over. For example. If the annual pension rate is $24,000 and the beneficiary has $12,000 in annual income, then they will receive $1,000 per month (or $12,000 per year).

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