Wartime veterans who have 90 days of active duty, one day of which began or ended during a period of war, are eligible for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits. Surviving spouses who were married at the time of the veteran’s death may also be eligible. There are certain financial and medical qualifications that may apply. Here are some of the documents you will need in order to avoid making any mistakes in applying for veterans aid and attendance benefits.
Documents you will need when applying
When completing the Veterans Aid and Attendance Application, there are certain documents you will need to gather and submit in addition to the documents the government requires you to complete. Here are examples of documents that you will need to have available:
- Discharge/Separation Papers (DD-214).
- Copy of Marriage Certificate and any other marital information.
- Copy of the Death Certificate (for surviving spouses only)
- Copy of current Social Security Award Letter
- Net Worth information
- Proof of income
- Proof of insurance premiums, medications, medical bills or any other medical expenses that are not reimbursed by insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
- Court order of guardian appointment (if guardian of the veteran or surviving spouse)
- Physician statement regarding medical condition
- Nursing Home Status Statement
- Banking information for Direct Deposit of benefit payments
- Employment history (unless you are over 65)
- List of all doctors and hospitals visited in the last year.
Required Veterans Aid and Attendance Forms
After you have gathered the required documents and information you will need, the next step is to complete the required VA forms to complete the application. These forms are available on the VA’s website. Please note, the VA changes its forms quite frequently. To avoid delays, be sure to use the most current form available.
Qualifications for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits
In order to qualify medically for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits, the wartime Veteran or surviving spouse must require the assistance of another person in performing daily tasks, including eating, dressing and undressing, etc. Eligible veterans or spouses who are blind, patients in nursing homes for mental or physical incapacity, and assisted living residents also qualify for these benefits. Much like other types of government benefits, applicants for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits cannot have too many assets excluding their residence and vehicle. These rules are complex and it is strongly recommended you get advice from a VA accredited attorney before proceeding. Mr. Murphy is so accredited.
Submitting the application by mail
When you have completed everything, you can mail your application to the processing center for your state. It is strongly recommended that you mail the application and other materials by Certified Mail, requesting a “Return Receipt” so you will have a record that your application was received. The current address for the submitting your application for Veterans Aid and Attendance benefits in California is: Department of Veterans Affairs, Claims Intake Center, Attention: St. Paul Pension Center, PO Box 5365, Janesville, WI 53547-5365. Please note that the VA does change it’s mailing address for applications, so check before mailing to see if this address is still current.
What happens after filing for Veterans Aid and Attendance?
Each person’s application is unique and can have its own set of issues. In addition to that, every processing center is not the same in that some are more efficient in handling claims than others. If any necessary information is missing from your application, that will also have an impact on how your application is processed. It can take over a year for applications to be processed. At that point, you will receive a determination letter. That is just an estimate.
Experienced and qualified accredited VA attorneys can usually speed up the approval process as they can counsel you on the proper steps to qualify and submit a successful application.
Download our FREE estate planning checklist today! If you have questions regarding Veterans Improved Pension benefits, including the so-called aid and attendance benefits or any other estate planning matters, please contact us at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning and Elder Law for a consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us at (916) 437-3500. We are here to help!