As easy as it may appear on first sight through their online portal, applying for VA Aid and Attendance is not easy as sending the online form. Here are mistakes that will cost you when completing your application.
Costly Application Mistake #1: You don’t use the right forms. As simple as it may sound, you must use the correct form for the benefit you are applying for. For example, the form for a surviving spouse to claim aid and attendance is different from the form for the veteran to claim aid and attendance. You will get a reply from the VA with the correct forms, leading to delay.
Costly Application Mistake #2: You haven’t used enough forms. Simply using the primary application form is a mistake. Other VA forms are needed to apply for VA benefits. If you forget to send a form, then the VA will write you back and request the form you should have sent in the first place. This of course will delay a decision.
Costly Application Mistake #3: You fill out the forms incorrectly. Despite directions on the forms, it is possible to fill the forms out incorrectly. For example, when filling in income numbers, you put a “N/A” instead of a “$0”. I have heard of applications be rejected for that reason. Another mistake would be filling out information that is not applicable to your claim. By doing so, you invite the VA caseworker to mistakenly believe you are applying for a benefit that you don’t intend to apply for.
Costly Application Mistake #4: You don’t provide enough information. If you leave out information, you are inviting the VA caseworker to have to perform more work. If you force a caseworker to have to follow up, you invite mistakes on your part and procrastination on the caseworker’s part.
Costly Application Mistake #5: You don’t provide enough supporting documents. You can actually provide all the correct VA forms and follow the directions perfectly, but if you do not provide enough supporting documents you are inviting delay because the VA caseworker will have to follow up with you. You also invite further delay or denial risk because your supporting information won’t match your application information.
Costly Application Mistake #6: You use the VA’s medical form. The VA actually accepts any medical information you provide. Ironically, the VA’s own medical form for Aid and Attendance Examinations could lend itself to a mistake. There might not be enough room for a doctor to elaborate on your condition. Also, the medical form does not provide much instruction to the doctor. Incomplete, illegible, or inaccurate medical forms will delay your aid and attendance application decision.
Costly Application Mistake #7: You don’t have any proof when the VA received your application. The VA is notorious for losing information. Don’t let your claim be a victim. If you send your application via express overnight with a signature requirement, you have a good chance your application’s arrival will be known and you will have proof of the date the VA received your application. A very important piece of evidence if your application is lost and you want benefits from the date your first applied. Important note, always make a copy of the exact documents that you send to the VA so you can have the record if you need to reapply or you need to refer to it if the VA contacts you.
Costly Application Mistake #8: You sent the application to the wrong place. You could send the application to any VA office, but ultimately your application will need to end up at the city where your type of claim is supposed to be evaluated. Transit time between VA offices will delay your claim.
Costly Application Mistake #9: You haven’t met the requirements for an award and your application is premature. Don’t apply for the VA Improved Pension benefits if you do not meet the 4 requirements. If, for example, you have too high assets, you are going to put yourself through all the bureaucratic headaches for nothing and then you will have to apply again once you do meet the requirements.
Costly Application Mistake #10: You provide incorrect information on the application. The VA has the ability to cross reference IRS records and other government information about you. If you put your income as one number and your tax return shows another, you risk benefit denials, demands for repayment, or prosecution.
If you want to learn more about VA Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance, the costly financial pitfalls associated when seeking this benefit, and how to hire someone to help, then download my free guide, Long Term Care Benefits for Veterans and their Families.