How to Start the Application Process for Aid & Assistance Benefits Through Veterans Affairs

By: | Tags: | Comments: 0 | June 7th, 2017

One of the most frustrating parts about finding reliable benefits and aid programs is knowing where to look. Because the VA is such an expansive organization with lots of moving parts and the occasional disconnect between their procedures and being able to reach veterans, it can be hard to find the right information for what benefits you or someone in your family is eligible for. If you are or know a veteran or survivor who needs the aid and attendance of another person, the Department of Veterans Affairs has funding set aside to help supplement VA pensions. It’s a key benefit for veterans who need additional assistance, and knowing how to navigate the requirements for eligibility can help you get it.

What is Aid & Assistance?

This isn’t just a term or a medical phrase — it’s the specific pension supplement that you can receive if you meeting one of any number of conditions that requires assistance for day-to-day tasks, or if you’re bedridden, in a nursing home because of a physical or mental incapacity, or have impaired eyesight to a certain degree. Be sure to reference this specific program when filling out any forms or asking questions at your local Veterans Affairs office; just like with any large organization, specifics are the only way to navigate bureaucracy and knowing precisely what you’re looking for is the key to finding out more about it and getting results.

There is a similar supplementary pension program for housebound veterans and survivors, and it’s important to stay consistent on whether you are applying for Aid & Attendance (A&A) benefits or Housebound benefits. You can apply for either one depending on your medical conditions, but you can only receive benefits from one at any given time.

How can you or someone you know apply for either Aid & Attendance or Housebound benefits?

Unfortunately, there is no one application form you can fill out across the nation. In order to check your eligibility, the Department of Veterans Affairs recommends you:

  • Write to your state’s Pension Management Center. Illinois shares a center with several other states, so be sure to address any physical communications to the Milwaukee VA Pension Center:

Department of Veterans AffairsClaims Intake CenterAttention:  Milwaukee Pension CenterP. O. Box 5192Janesville, WI 53547-5192Fax: 1-844-655-1604

However, paper-based communication can be slow and difficult to complete, and it’s both faster and more secure to communicate in-person or online when possible, especially if you’re being asked to send copies of medical records and personal information.

  • Contact a local benefits office instead to get a detailed rundown of the procedure. You can search the Chicago Regional Benefit Office here for information related to all of your benefits and for specific contacts you can reach out to throughout the process of applying.

Because this is a benefit related to pensions, you will be submitting a claim through a VA Form 21-527EZ and any documentation related to your claim, including proof of income, Social Security award letters, and medical statements. If you are applying as a survivor, rather than as a veteran, additional paperwork will be needed. Collect all of the documentation you can, with copies, and have the Chicago benefit office help guide you through the process.

Ultimately, your application and documentation will need to be sent to the Milwaukee address for processing. If your form is in any way incomplete or if there’s a mistake, the regional office will send you back your application for re submission, which can make an already lengthy process restart. If you can have a trusted individual who is familiar with the process look over your application, it’s much more likely to be processed through the first time. And while it can take up to eight months for an application to be processed, benefits are given retroactively according to the filing date.

Having additional Aid & Assistance benefits through your pension can be a great tool for getting the medical care you or a family member need. Whether you’re just starting the process of applying for additional benefits or you are currently receiving aid and assistance and want to learn more about this benefit program, please contact ActiveCare Home Care here.

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