Submitted by Andy Gero
Applying For VA Benefits
The Dept. of Veterans Affairs informed us that for veterans and survivors who need additional time to gather their claim information, but want to save the earliest possible effective date, the VA is using a new “intent to file” process, effective March 24. The “intent to file” form 21-0966 is available to download at www.va.gov/vaforms or by calling (800) 827-1000 and having it sent to your home.
Upon completion of form 21-0966, there are four ways you may submit this form:
• Work with an accredited Veterans Service Officer (VSO) to file electronically through the Stakeholder Enterprise Portal (SEP).
• Electronically, by initiating and completing the personal information page and saving (but not submitting) the online application to www.ebenifits.va.gov.
• Call a VA National Call Center at (800) 827-1000 or visit a public contact representative at a VA regional office.
• Complete form 21-0966, Intent to File a claim for compensation and/or pension, or survivors pension and/ or DIC and mail or fax it to the VA.
Essentially, 21-0966 form will only notify the VA that you intend to file for benefits. After filing form 21-0966, you will need to collect all your data and submit it on form 21-526EZ for veteran’s compensation, form 21-527EZ for veteran’s pension and form 21-534EZ for survivor’s death pension, and/or accrued benefits. These forms must be submitted within one year after filing form 21-0966.
This information is intended to inform you that the requests to file for VA benefits have changed. For more information, call your VA Regional Benefit Office, hours are Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and it is located at: Federal Building, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles 90026; phone (800) 827-1000.
Andy Gero is a life member of the American Legion Post 288 and the VFW Post 1614. He may be reached through the CV Weekly, (818) 248-2740, or write Crescenta Valley Weekly at 3800 La Crescenta, Ave., Suite 101, La Crescenta, CA 91214.