“Can an ex-spouse (divorced) of a veteran receive pension with aid and attendance after the veteran dies?” “In Florida, you must be married to the Vet at the time of his death to be eligible for benefits.”
Frequently I will receive emailed questions about veterans benefits or receive a general posting on a list serve. The most recent inquiry was about whether a divorced spouse of a veteran could claim benefits as a surviving spouse after the veteran has died. The response above is what was submitted on the list serve. While that answer is completely accurate, it is true in ALL states (not just Florida). Veterans benefits law is embodied in Title 38 of the United States Code and is federal law applicable to all states.
Each state has a Veterans Administration Regional Office (VARO). Applications for benefits are filed at the VARO. Then, the application may be adjudicated at the VARO or sent to a Pension Management Center (PMC) for adjudication. This is where you may begin to see differences in processing and “application” of the law. A couple recent examples of “regional” differences where adjudicators at different PMCs are processing claims differently include the (1) which form attorneys are supposed to use to act as the veteran’s representative and (2) whether a home place is a countable resource if it is empty or rented. A more complete discussion of these two talking points will be forthcoming in future articles.
Also, be sure to call in for the August 16, 2010 Academy teleseminar related to Expanding and Marketing a Veterans Benefits Practice within Your Existing Estate Planning Practice by Victoria Collier.
Victoria Collier is a nationally recognized expert in VA Benefits Planning and author of 47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits for Seniors… Benefits You Have Earned but Don’t Know About, available on Amazon.com. Victoria established The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC in 2002 and has been appointed by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to the Georgia Council on Aging Advisory Board. Victoria is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, National Organization of Veteran Advocates, Co-Founder of Veteran Advocates Group of America, Co-Founder of Trust Associates Inc (a non-profit), and creator of “In the Trenches” veterans benefits conference. Victoria frequently speaks at national estate planning and elder care planning conferences and has appeared on radio and television as an authority on veterans benefits. Victoria is an ongoing contributor to the Academy blog. More information about Victoria can be found on her website www.elderlawgeorgia.com.
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