VA Form 21-686c is the Declaration of Status of Dependents Form. Unlike many of the forms I write about, VA Form 21-686c is used for aid and attendance pension benefits and compensation benefits.
The 686c is an important form. Veterans receive more money from the Department of Veterans Affairs if they have dependents. The more dependents a veteran or spouse has, the greater the benefit from the VA.
Years ago, VA Form 21-686c was a mandatory form when a veteran or surviving spouse applied for pension benefits. However, the VA eliminated the requirement to submit 21-686c with applications for pension. The VA eliminated this requirement, in my opinion, for the following reasons: 1) to be more claimant friendly; 2) to decrease the workload of the people deciding the claims; and 3) their continuous effort to modernize the VA.
Eliminating VA Form 21-686c as a mandatory requirement for aid and attendance applications is claimant friendly. Any reduction in VA forms helps the claimant by eliminating the possibility to make a mistake. Mistakes on the aid and attendance application result in requests for more information letters from the VA and, eventually, denial letters.
Instead of requiring VA Form 21-686c, the VA added marital information sections to VA Form 21P-527 EZ and VA Form 21P-534 EZ. Complete marital information is still required by the VA. However, this information is now reported on the same form as income, net worth, and medical expense information.
If the claimant fails to report complete marital information, which is easy to do, then the VA will require the claimant to complete part of 21-686c. The VA is extremely serious about complete marital information. A claimant that fails to report information such as a date of marriage or a place of marriage should expect a request for more information letter. The VA also demands complete marital information for all marriages. Even if you don’t think it’s necessary to report a piece of information from the veteran’s third marriage, the VA will demand that information.
Claimants for pension with special monthly pension should do themselves a favor and report complete marital information on VA Form 21P-527 EZ or VA Form 21P-534 EZ. Doing so will save valuable time.
Please contact VA Legal Team with any questions.