Frequently Asked Questions about Veterans Benefits in Maryland
Who Can Help Me Fill Out the Forms?
Any private individual may assist with completing the forms; however, this individual is allowed to assist ONLY one person. A VA accredited agent or a service organization, such as, State Veterans Office, VFW, or American Legion may help you, as well as a VA accredited attorney. NOBODY may charge you for helping you prepare or present the application forms, but you should be sure that the person understands VA.
What are the Advantages of Having an Attorney Assist Me?
An attorney may assist you with much more than just the VA application, such as making sure that all of your assets are in order to help prevent a denial of your claim and with other paperwork that might be needed to help prove your claim. An attorney must be accredited through the VA and as such, can represent you before the VA if your claim is denied or if the award is incorrect.
Must I Already be Living in an Assisted Living Community Before I Apply?
No, it is not necessary to be living in assisted living in order to apply for VA benefits; however, if you are in need of personal assistance, the entire cost of assisted living helps to qualify you for benefits, but you must be a current resident to submit these expenses as a deduction off income.
How Long Does It Take to Find Out if I am Eligible?
An attorney should be able to give you an idea of your qualification within thirty minutes; however, in order to be absolutely certain that you qualify for benefits, the attorney would need to review all of your financial, personal, military, and medical records.
How Long Does It Take for Me to Get My First Check?
Once an application is turned into the VA, it can take anywhere from four to six months on average to get your check if you are approved for benefits. If you have dementia or other memory loss issues, the VA may insist on meeting you and your representative before sending you a check, so your award may be delayed a few additional months.
Does the Money Come to Me or Straight to the Assisted Living Facility?
All benefits are paid to the claimant and not to any facility.
Can I Have It Deposited Directly Into My Bank Account?
Yes, the VA actually prefers to have all checks directly deposited into a bank account. If you have memory loss issues, the VA will insist on a direct deposit.
Is It Retroactive Back to When I Applied or Does It Start the Day/Month I Get Approved?
Benefits are retroactive from the first day of the next month after the VA receives your application OR your first notice of intent to file. An attorney can help you preserve this Informal Award Date. In order for the benefits to be retroactive, you must live through the entire month after the VA receives your first Informal Request or application, whichever is received first. In addition: if you are filing an Informal Request, you must be alive when the rest of the application is submitted and you have one year from the date of the Request to get the rest of your application into the VA.