Before you start receiving Aid and Attendance benefits, you need to submit an application to the Department of Veterans Affairs. While this is axiomatic, and obvious, the truism raises a tricky question: what form should you submit to the VA?
If you want to submit the correct form to the VA, you need to know what benefit you’re applying for. Veterans and surviving spouses, for example, use different forms to apply for Pension benefits.
If you are a veteran, submit VA Form 21-527EZ when you apply for Aid and Attendance benefits. Be sure to submit the application to the appropriate Pension Management Center, and not your local VA office.
Filing VA Form 21-527EZ when you apply for Aid and Attendance gives you the best chance at a quick VA decision. A fully completed 527EZ, along with the necessary additional evidence, puts your claim on the Fully Developed Claim track. This type of claim receives expedited treatment from the VA, and is desirable.
Before you file VA Form 21-527EZ, make sure you have the correct form. The Department of Veterans Affairs also issues a 21-527 form. This form is for veterans who have previously filed a Pension claim with the VA, and is different than the EZ form.
I have multiple issues with using the regular 527 form to file a Pension claim. Actually, I have multiple grievances with the VA’s publication of the form to begin with. I’ll just say this about VA Form 21-527: use it as your peril. If you do, you may be leaving money on the table.
Curiously, the instructions on the regular 527 advise veterans to use either VA Form 21-527EZ or VA Form 21-526 if they haven’t previously filed a Pension claim. Why would the VA recommend that a veteran file VA Form 21-526 and not VA Form 21-527 EZ? I wish I had the answer. The 526 is obsolete and cumbersome.
Before you file VA Form 21-527EZ with the VA, make sure you avoid the following errors. Don’t check the box in Question 32. The question is misleading, and checking the box will take the claim off the fast-track, the exact opposite of what you want.
Finally, don’t omit marital information. If you report any marriages, you must give the VA all required information. The VA takes marital history seriously, so be warned.
Using VA Form 21-527EZ gives you the best chance at a fast decision. But a fast decision is beside the point if you aren’t eligible, or if you are eligible but make a mistake on the application. If you want to make the Aid and Attendance process easy, find out how an Eligibility Analysis can save you time and money.