During this time of year, the VA has generally required that veterans receiving certain benefits file an Eligibility Verification Report (EVR) annually; most veterans would be expecting their forms now. Failure to fill in and return the EVR ran the risk of kicking the veteran out of the payment system. However, the VA has announced that it will no longer require the filing of the EVR form in order to maintain eligibility for benefits. The annual form has been discontinued in order to free up approximately 100 VA employees. The employees will now be able to process claims contributing to a large backup in the process, causing many veterans to have to wait several months before knowing if their claims are approved. Veterans who are currently receiving benefits should expect a letter from the VA instead of the expected update form to explain how the VA will determine continued eligibility, namely through collaboration with the IRS and Social Security Administration.
If you are not yet receiving benefits, but are a war time veteran who will be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance Non Service Connected Pension benefits, verifying that you have all of the necessary documents in advance should be among your top priorities when planning your estate. The bureaucracy of the VA and military records can lead to serious paperwork mix-ups. Unfortunately, once you learn of the mistake, it may already be too late!
The VA has been known to deny or stop payments due to a mistake in discharge status or even declaring their living beneficiary deceased! Most war time veterans who meet the other income and asset qualifications will qualify for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. Unfortunately for some, your discharge status could mean the difference between qualifying and not qualifying. Although such mistakes are rare, an incorrect DD-214 could prevent your becoming eligible but correcting your discharge status can be time consuming and difficult. The various discharge statuses could impact your eligibility for a variety of other benefits as well. Many times it is too late to request that your form be corrected when you want to apply for some of the available benefits. Speaking to an attorney accredited by the VA is one of the best ways you can ensure that your benefit eligibility is secure.
For many veterans, it is not enough to have your paperwork in order. Some asset planning may be necessary in order to qualify for the benefits. Verifying that your Living Trust and Power of Attorney is up to date and meets your needs is an important estate planning step to take every few years. By regularly reviewing your Trust, you can ensure that your trust continues to achieve the benefits goals and tax benefits for which it is intended. Further, it ensures that if you lose mental competence, you can still use a QVap Trust or other technique to gain VA benefits. This is especially true during these times when substantial tax changes are regularly being proposed and passed. Additionally, you can verify your beneficiaries and trustees. By planning ahead correctly, you can limit the chance that something will be overlooked or that your claim will be denied when it is time to apply for benefits!
VA Aid & Attendance–How Can I Correctly Choose Help for my Application Process? FREE REPORT: This complimentary report focuses on the various kinds of people one can consult when applying for the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit. Who one chooses can mean the difference between success and failure. Remember, if you are denied, you may not be able to reapply for up to a year or longer. Download our complimentary report for a behind the scenes look at the different types of people you can consult and the dirty underbelly of the Veterans Aid & Attendance industry.