When a Family Can Submit an Application without Help

We have mentioned in previous sections that there are basically two types of Pension claims. The first of these are claims for veteran households who have low income and few assets. The second type of claim is for veteran households who may have income exceeding the MAPR or who may have substantial assets or both. These households typically only qualify for Pension when a member of the household is paying out-of-pocket for expensive long term care costs.

When the Family Should Not Submit a Claim without Prior Knowledge or Advice

Veterans or family members should seek further advice before attempting to submit a claim that deals with income in excess of MAPR and involves long term care costs.

This second type of claim for higher income households requires medical evidence for substantiating a need for aid and attendance or being housebound. In addition, evidence is needed to prove recurring medical costs. In addition, if assets are going to be a block to a successful award, a qualified consultant must be sought out to help with this issue. And finally, if a fiduciary might be appointed, a consultant could provide advice to reduce the time added to the claims process by this additional step.

According to VA, the average processing time for a claim is 177 days -- almost 6 months. Knowing how to submit a well-documented claim could cut this processing time in half. 

The complexity associated with these high income claims warrants seeking advice or knowledge; otherwise the processing time from VA could be extended to 8 to 12 months or even longer. Not getting things right could mean the maximum award may not be realized or the claim could be denied.

When the Family Can Submit a Claim without Help

The claim associated with low income, few assets and no ongoing, long term care costs can usually be attempted by the veteran household or a member of the family without much help. Little additional advice is needed to submit one of these claims. If a member of the family or a trusted friend wants to submit a claim on behalf of a veteran, there must be a proper VA power of attorney. There is a form available online -- VA 21–22a. 

§ 14.630   Authorization for a particular claim.

(a) Any person may be authorized to prepare, present, and prosecute one claim. A power of attorney executed on VA Form 21–22a, “Appointment of Attorney or Agent as Claimant's Representative,” and a statement signed by the person and the claimant that no compensation will be charged or paid for the services, shall be filed with the agency of original jurisdiction where the claim is presented. The power of attorney identifies to VA the claimant's appointment of representation and authorizes VA's disclosure of information to the person representing the claimant.

(b) Representation may be provided by an individual pursuant to this section one time only. An exception to this limitation may be granted by the General Counsel in unusual circumstances. Among the factors which may be considered in determining whether an exception will be granted are:

(1) The number of accredited representatives, agents, and attorneys operating in the claimant's geographic region;
(2) Whether the claimant has unsuccessfully sought representation from other sources;
(3) The nature and status of the claim; and
(4) Whether there exists unique circumstances which would render alternative representation inadequate.

(c) Persons providing representation under this section must comply with the laws administered by VA and with the regulations governing practice before VA including the rules of conduct in §14.632 of this part.

(d) Persons providing representation under this section are subject to suspension and or exclusion from representation of claimants before VA on the same grounds as apply to representatives, agents, and attorneys in §14.633 of this part.

(Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a), 5903)
[68 FR 8546, Feb. 24, 2003, as amended at 73 FR 29872, May 22, 2008]

Pension -- Maximum Annual Pension Rates (MAPR) 2016-17

These amounts increased by .3% on 12 / 01 / 2016

For a Living Veteran

 

Yearly

Monthly

Without Spouse or Child

 

$12,907

$1,075

Medical Deduction

 

$645

$54

With One Dependent

 

$16,902

$1,408

Medical Deduction

 

$845

$70

Housebound Without Dependents

 

$15,773

$1,314

Medical Deduction

 

$645

$54

Housebound With One Dependent

 

$19,770

$1,647

Medical Deduction

 

$645

$70

Aid and Attendance Without Dependents

 

$21,531

$1,794

Medical Deduction

 

$645

$54

Aid and Attendance With One Dependent

 

$25,525

$2,127

Medical Deduction

 

$845

$70

Add for Each Additional Child

 

$2,205

$183

 

Death Pension -- Maximum Annual Pension Rates (MAPR) 2016-17

For a Survivng Spouse

 

Yearly

Monthly

Without Dependent Child

 

$8,656

$721

Medical Deduction

 

$433

$36

With One Dependent Child

 

$11,330

$944

Medical Deduction

 

$566

$47

Housebound Without Dependents

 

$10,580

$881

Medical Deduction

 

$566

$47

Housebound With One Dependent

 

$13,249

$1,104

Medical Deduction

 

$566

$47

Aid and Attendance Without Dependents

 

$13,836

$1,153

Medical Deduction

 

$566

$36

Aid and Attendance With One Dependent

 

$16,506

$1,417

Medical Deduction

 

$566

$47

Add for Each Additional Child

 

$2,205

 

MAPR FOR CHILD ALONE

 

$2,205