On December 20th, the VA announced that, effective immediately, it is implementing a new process to confirm beneficiaries’ use of pension benefits. The VA will monitor beneficiaries’ continued eligibility by working with the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service. This means that recipients of the VA’s Aid & Attendance benefit will no longer be required to complete and submit an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR). The VA says it plans to redirect staff who formerly handled EVRs, to help process the claims backlog.
Prior to the announcement, recipients of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s “Aid & Attendance” pension were required to submit an annual EVR that verified their eligibility to continue receiving the benefit. Failure to submit the report by March 1 would result in the cessation of all or part of a beneficiary’s pension payments.
The elimination of a reporting deadline may seem like good news, but it means that beneficiaries who don’t keep a close watch on their income and assets, along with their allowable medical expenses, may be jeopardizing their pension. To qualify for the full amount of the need-based pension, applicants are required to demonstrate that medical expenses exceed income by at least five percent. Claimants who are approved for the benefit are required to remain in compliance by maintaining this income to medical expense ratio.
But beneficiaries who work with Veterans Home Care will not need to worry about continuing to qualify for the “Aid & Attendance” benefit. Veterans Home Care has 10 years’ experience helping elderly wartime veterans or their surviving spouses to receive and retain their “Aid & Attendance” pensions, by helping clients analyze and accurately report changes to their financial status or medical expenses.
The VA’s elimination of EVRs is certainly a step in the right direction. It eliminates the annual scramble on the part of elderly veteran families to submit paperwork before the deadline, or risk losing the pension. Invariably, people forget they got something from the VA, or papers get lost in the mail. Any of this can put the pension in jeopardy for elderly, disabled people who rely on it to help them receive home care and other services. But, people need to be aware that the VA’s elimination of EVRs means they need to keep a more careful watch on their income and medical expenses. That’s part of the service we provide at Veterans Home Care.