For all you high Fact-finder/Follow through Kolbe types, don’t panic if the VA form 21-8049 number means nothing to you. It shouldn’t necessarily. If you file non-service-connected pension claims with the VA, you may never have had occasion to use this form, which is formally called a “Request for Details of Expenses.” It is not generally part of what Lawyers with Purpose considers a fully developed VA claim, although there are those who routinely include this form with all their VA claims.
As the name of VA form 21-8049 suggests, its main purpose is to report monthly non-medical expenses as well as expenses of dependents that otherwise are not typically reported on any other forms one submits with a fully-developed claim. The 21-8049 is usually sent to a claimant to be completed when the VA requires further information after the formal claim is filed. In fact, the VA specifically states in the instructions at the top, “We need additional information to determine whether you are entitled to benefits.” The VA may request this additional information because the adjudication manual directs the adjudicator to determine “whether or not the claimant’s financial resources are sufficient to meet his/her basic needs without assistance from VA. If a claimant’s assets are large enough that the claimant could use these assets to pay living expenses for a reasonable period of time, net worth is considered a bar,” M21-1 Adjudication Procedures Manual, Part V, Subpart I, Chapter 3, Section A.1.e. The 21-8049 may not be requested for every claim you file, but if it is requested, it can delay the claim process. For that reason, some choose to include this form with every formal claim they file. Or, you may decide to complete this form only when your claimant has unusually high non-medical living expenses that you want to make evident to the VA.
How to complete the 21-8049
The current version of this form is dated Aug 2007 in the lower left corner of the first page, although the VA still accepts older versions. It is a two-page form that consists of seven sections. The instructions are minimal, but the VA does provide a toll-free number to call for assistance. Like any other VA form, it is recommended that you complete every section. Non-applicable sections should be crossed out, or you should otherwise indicate that these do not apply. Sections I and II are for listing dependents – both those living with the claimant and those not living with the claimant. Furthermore, you can specify the amount, if any, that the claimant contributes to the support of dependents not living with the claimant so that the VA will consider these amounts when evaluating whether the claimant’s net worth is sufficient.
Sections III, IV, V, and VI are for “Monthly Expenses (except medical) for you and those listed above as living with you,” “Hospital and Medical Expenses,” “Educational Expenses,” and “Expenses of Last Illness and Burial of Veteran, Spouse, or Child and Just Debts of Deceased Veteran or Parent’s Spouse,” respectively. The completion of these four sections is fairly straightforward, but a few remarks should be made to avoid potential problems. Section III lists several possible monthly expenses, like Housing, Food, Taxes, etc., and it also provides blanks for inserting other types of expenses, but this section is only for reporting non-medical expenses. For example, the line item “Housing” should not be used for reporting fees for a nursing home or assisted living facility. Instead, total medical expenses that were reported on the VA form 21P-8416 “Medical Expense Report” with the formal claim should be reported in Section IV, “Hospital and Medical Expenses,” along with a brief breakdown of the medical expenses, or simply refer the VA to the already submitted form 21P-8416. Finally, section VII is for reporting “Commercial Life Insurance Payments” to the claimant. While life insurance payouts are not considered income by the VA if the insured was a veteran, these will be considered as part of net worth and could potentially put a claimant over the asset limit unless you can document to the VA that these assets have been spent down.
What to file with the 21-8049
Documentation of the expenses listed on this form is not required but may assist in your claim. If you decide you want to start including the 21-8049 with all your formal claims, you may decide not to include further supporting documentation unless later requested by the VA. If you do refer to the VA form 21P-8416 in Section IV, you may want at least to include a copy of this form for the adjudicator’s convenience. However, if the VA sent you the form 21-8049 to be completed, they may have requested other information as well. In such cases, ensure that you submit the VA form 21-8049 with anything else requested in the VA correspondence, and that you respond by any deadlines the VA may specify.
If you want to lear more about the Veterans Administration Proposed 3 Year Lookback and Other Law Changes join our FREE WEBINAR on Wednesday, March 16th at 4 EST. Just click here to reserve your spot. Here's what you'll get:
Discover the Nuts and Bolts of the Proposed VA Changes...and What it Means for Your Practice!
On Friday, January 23, 2015, the Veterans Administration proposed changes in the Federal Register that would...
- Impose a three year lookback for transfers of assets, including gifts to persons, trusts, or purchases of annuities.
- Deny claims for up to 10 years due to transfers.
- And exempt only the home and two acres from net worth. If a claimant's property exceeds two acres, it will count toward the net worth figure for eligibility.
By Sabrina A. Scott, Paralegal, The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC and Director of VA Services for Lawyers With Purpose.
Victoria L. Collier, Veteran of the United States Air Force, 1989-1995 and United States Army Reserves, 2001-2004. Victoria is a Certified Elder Law Attorney through the National Elder Law Foundation; Author of “47 Secret Veterans Benefits for Seniors”; Author of “Paying for Long Term Care: Financial Help for Wartime Veterans: The VA Aid & Attendance Benefit”; Founder of The Elder & Disability Law Firm of Victoria L. Collier, PC; Co-Founder of Lawyers with Purpose; and Co-Founder of Veterans Advocate Group of America.