VA Benefits | Dealing with a Denial for VA Benefits
VA Benefits | Every business day, the Department of Veteran Affairs sends out thousands of letters. Some are award letters, which inform a veteran or surviving spouse that they are approved to receive a special monthly pension called Aid and Attendance. It is a notification that the recipient is to receive a financial benefit based on their need for the assistance of another person with the activities of daily living. That’s the VA’s way of saying, “We’re giving you X amount of money each month to help pay for healthcare costs.” But the VA also sends out thousands of letters that basically say, “You have been denied.”
These denial letters can seem like a crushing blow if you are struggling to pay an assisted living facility bill or an in-home caregiver. Your initial reaction may be anger or frustration or confusion. Angry because you believe you deserve this benefit after serving active duty during a wartime period. Frustrated because the process took so long. Confused because the VA denial letter lacks details about what went wrong, or it is littered with terms you don’t understand.
It’s Not Over
But one denial letter is not the end. Sure, it would have been great to be approved right from the start, but an initial denial can still work out. Of course, this is going to take more work and more time, but with patience and the help of an expert, it is certainly possible to obtain this financial aid.
The VA denial letter will explain that you have one year from the date of the letter to respond with requested materials or to ask for a higher level appeal. So, indeed, while the claim is denied, it is not completely closed. If you respond within a year to the items listed in the letter, the VA will reconsider your claim. Sometimes the VA merely is requesting clarification or additional evidence to support something on your claim application, such as the dates of active duty. The turnaround for approval could be fairly quick. Other times, you must work to convince the VA to agree with you over a certain aspect, such as your amount of income or assets.
Getting the Right Help
Working with a VA-accredited attorney can speed things along and spare you from some of the unnecessary back and forth with the VA. An accredited VA attorney has experience with the VA policies, procedures and forms. The attorney can decipher the denial letter and get things back on track. If the VA has made a mistake – and it happens – the attorney is likely to catch it and respond.
At Mortellaro Law, we have assisted clients seeking VA Aid and Attendance benefits for more than a decade. Because Michelangelo Mortellaro is an accredited VA attorney, he maintains up-to-date information on VA rules changes and how to work with this government agency. Call Michelangelo for a free, no-obligation initial consultation if you have received a VA denial letter.