Veterans' Legal Aid | Helping those who fought for our freedom.

Applying for A&A Benefits

How do I apply for Aid and Attendance pension benefits?

  • The applications are available from the VA (VA Form 21-526 for veteran applying for benefits for him/herself; VA Form 21-534 for a surviving spouse who is applying)
  • The application process is quite complex, requires careful attention to detail, and multiple supporting documents
    • Here are some of the documents required for a complete application:
      • Official copies of military discharge records
      • Marriage certificates (for surviving spouse applications)
      • Death certificates (for surviving spouse applications)
      • Complete copies of financial information
        • Bank Accounts
        • Stocks
        • Annuities
        • CDs
        • Trusts
        • Bonds
        • Business Assets
      • Income information
        • Retirement accounts (IRAs)
        • Pensions
        • Interest income (investments, dividents, annuities, etc.)
      • Copy of current Social Security Award Letter
      • Proof of medical expenses
        • Insurance premiums
        • Out-of-pocket prescription medication information
        • Medical bills
        • Care contracts
      • Doctor statement showing the need for Aid and Attendance (diagnosis, disabilities, evidence that applicant is unable to care for self)
      • List of doctors and hospitals visited in past year
    • Getting approved for benefits can take several months from the time the application and all supporting materials are submitted to the VA
  • Because the application is complicated, and can be confusing, the VA often rejects applications that are filled out incorrectly or incompletely
  • If the VA rejects an application, the claimant must wait one year to refile, OR he/she can file a Notice of Disagreement (appeal)–however, this further delays the awarding of benefits

How can I get help with the application?

  • It is highly recommended that an applicant have the professional help of an attorney (one accredited by the VA), or help from a registered veterans’ service organization (VSO)
  • Getting assistance with the application process reduces the chance that an eligible veteran or widow is rejected, and this helps to ensure that any delay in receiving benefits is minimized to the extent possible
  • The VA keeps a directory of all registered VSOs, which is available on the VA’s website

Does the Veterans’ Legal Aid Society assist with Aid and Attendance Applications?

  • VLAS employs an attorney accredited by the VA, and can therefore assist with A&A applications
  • VLAS can only help veterans, surviving spouses, and families located in Illinois who are able to visit its office in Chicago
    • The VLAS attorney is licensed in Illinois and cannot provide legal assistance in other states
  • If you need to find an attorney who is accredited by the VA, and you cannot visit the Chicago VLAS office, the VA has a list of accredited attorneys available on its website

 

The content contained on this website is for illustrative and informational purposes only. The content on this website does not constitute legal advice.

    • normally requires a signed physician statement)