VSO Issues Warning to All Veterans
By Sandy Britt, VSO
April 27, 2018
Recently, several of my clients were put through unnecessary stress because those who didn't understand the Aid & Attendance benefit filed a claim for them, or told them to file, even though they weren't eligible.
Several clients have reported that a VA employee at a VA clinic or medical center filed the form for them, despite not being eligible, though a veteran would not be expected to know that. I'm sure these employees had good intentions, but in several cases, the filing caused immense problems and wasted VA's time with claims that had no merit.
1. A VA clinic employee filed the A&A form for a veteran who was receiving Temporary 100% disability compensation for recovery from surgery for a service-connected condition. Temporary 100% is just that: temporary, increased disability compensation for the duration of a convalescence period after surgery. There's no need for permanent A&A and even if there was, only veterans receiving 100% P&T can qualify for A&A for themselves.
2. The daughter of an elderly veteran who served in the late 1950s and early 1960s was told her dad would qualify for full VA Pension at the maximum amount because he needed A&A, if he was in an assisted living facility paying a cost that reduced his annual income to zero. Based on this advice, she put her father in a facility and filed a Pension claim. The veteran was denied because he didn't serve during a War Period, a requirement for VA Pension eligibility. The family was responsible for the charges.
3. A VA clinic worker submitted an A&A application for a veteran who was 100% P&T for 5 years, in part due to Parkinson's disease. He may have qualified at some point for the A&A benefit, but the form sent to VA was marked by the doctor stating the veteran did not need help with any daily activities. Because of this, VA called him for exams to determine if he qualified. He subsequently was denied, and also got a letter proposing to reduce his compensation from 100% to 90% based on an error VA found in a previous rating for one of his conditions. It was a complicated mess that took months to sort out, all because someone submitted an application they shouldn't have.
It's always best to fully understand your eligibility for VA benefits
before filing a claim to avoid problems such as those highlighted above. If you need help, see an accredited veterans service officer who understands and can explain all VA benefits.