How do we get the benefits that my father had a right to?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

My father passed away, unexpectedly, in January, 2011. He had been in a nursing home for a couple years and was receiving his VA benefits until about 6 or 7 months before he died. The benefits just stopped. One of my siblings went to the nearest VA offices to find out why his benefits stopped and to get them started again. No one had an answer why the benefits stopped, but gave him forms to get them started again. He had filled out the forms twice and still no benefits were restarted. There is a large bill left to be paid at the facility that took care of him. These benefits are needed for our father's care. How do we get the benefits my father had a right to? Will a lawyer's help move this along faster?

Expert Answers

Barbara Steinberg is the CEO and founder of BLS Eldercare Financial Solutions, which specializes in helping families pay for long-term care for their loved ones. A registered financial gerontologist, she speaks regularly on the topic of paying for long-term care and is a financial expert for

I'm going to assume your father was getting a non-service connected pension from the VA as opposed to service connected disability compensation. When your father's VA benefits stopped, was he on Medicaid? If Medicaid was paying for his nursing home care, then he was only entitled to a Personal Needs Allowance of $90/mo. from the VA. If he was paying privately, then his benefits should not have stopped until the month of his death. If your local VSO could not help, you can try calling the VA Hotline number at 800-827-1000. Be prepared to wait on hold and don't get discouraged if you don't get the information you seeking. A last resort is to contact your congressman or woman and ask them to investigate. If the forms were submitted, it will take a long time for the VA to process them. Claims on behalf of deceased Veterans are given the lowest priority in the VA processing centers.