Starting Over: When a Veteran or Spouse Is Gone, the Aid and Attendance Application May Need to Be Started Again
Tom and his wife Mary were in their 80s when it became clear they needed help. As a veteran of the United States Navy, and with limited income and assets, Tom had heard about the Aid and Attendance Benefit. He discovered that because he was considered a wartime veteran, even though he didn’t see direct combat, but because he served during the Vietnam War, he might qualify.
He also discovered that his dependents, his wife, in this case, might also be eligible.
This was a great relief to him because both Mary and Tom had been concerned about their safety and well-being at home. Unfortunately, because of their expenses in life, such as medications, mortgage payments, taxes, food, utilities, and more, his pension was barely enough to cover that, let alone anything else.
They sat down and filled out the application together and submitted it. They heard it could take a long time for the approval process to go through, but in the meantime, they contacted a home care agency to begin receiving support.
Within a few weeks, Tom’s wife faced a serious medical emergency and a few days after that, in the hospital, she passed away. Tom was grief-stricken, and one of the last things on his mind at that time was the Aid and Attendance Benefit application.
A few weeks after the funeral, when he contacted a local representative from the VA and had a conversation about what had happened, he was informed he needed to start the application again. This was incredibly frustrating and it brought into question whether or not he would get reimbursed for the home care support he and his wife had already been receiving to that point.
Do you have to start over?
When a beneficiary or dependent situation changes during the application process for the Aid and Attendance Benefit, it will be necessary to completely fill out a new application and submit it. Tom had to fill out a new application for himself and himself alone. It also meant having to start all over with the waiting process.
He thought this was going to be an easy pension to receive, and now he was wondering if there was any point to doing it because all he wanted was to be with his wife. His family was a strong support system that got him through all of this and within a few months he was approved for home care support through the Aid and Attendance Benefit.