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Compensation For Common-law Spouse And Stepchildren


I was rated last April and began to recieve pay for myself only.

My wife and children, who were listed and had verification provided for on the forms, were not included in the compensation.

They all live in the home with me and have done so for over 5 years. They are supposed to be counted as my spouse and dependants.

After loosing our paperwork between last April and last December, we finally recieve word in December that VA needs more information to verify our common-law marriage.

We send in the statements requested. Statements from people who know us and we have been "married" around. VA already has our tax returns.

Still nothing. I call at least weekly.

We began working with an OEF/OIF represenative in Dallas VA. She calls to check on this and now they said they need for US to sign a statement.

So we fax her the requested statement (VA provided sheet). She calls them to check again. Now they say we EACH need to send in a statement. We say OK. We later realize that this statement has a signature space for "veteran" me, and "spouse" my wife. They would be getting an exact copy of the same paper if this were the case. So we inform our represenative in Dallas over voicemail and have not heard back yet due to it being the weekend.

They owe 12+ months in back pay for my wife, my daughters and my mother-in law and they seem to be dragging their feet. Loosing things, not knowing what they need, etc.

The OEF/OIF represenative from the Dallas VA seems disturbed that this has drug on for over a year. We have been faxing her info and she has been getting answers within days. She says she is speaking with someone who is working on the claim.

Any advice? We've been waiting for this for a very long time.



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As long as you live in a common law state and are within the common law criteria as in this case:


and there is no ex spouse contesting the benefit- there should be no problem with this benefit.

It seems absurd that this is taking so long.

I had claim from a vet org referred to me in email and found the "spouse" had NO status at all regarding the veteran.

It took the VA time to attempt to get verification she was the spouse but she wasnt-coommon law or otherwise. The VA seemed to get that denied very fast yet you have legit claim.

Does your rep have any suggestions as to how to speed this up?

The VA -due to the backlog- is stringing out most claims these days. dont know the solution for that.Most of us here have waited for months and years for decisions.

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Did you fill out and submit the 21-686c forms ?


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Thank you for asking and providing the specific form number.

I looked this up online and also compared it to our information. We did fill this out and sent it in, along with all of our other information with our initial request for compensation. They received this along with our marriage liscenses, divorce decrees, tax returns, etc.

We haven't gotten any answers today, no calls back. We're just trying to figure out what they need.

At this point, I'm contemplating copying everything marriage/dependant related and faxing it all in again at one time. Not sure what they've misplaced or "haven't received"-so maybe having it all in front of them will help them know what's missing?



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OK, we have found out that all needed paperwork is in. We refaxed everything.


We were informed that since there is a PTSD claim in that the PTSD claim takes priority and nothing else will be fixed until the PTSD is decided on. So now we're waiting on the PTSD claim. It's already at the board. We were told they had 30 days to decide on the PTSD after my C&P exam, not sure if it's because it's been over a year since we filed the claim or if that is normal procedure. We've also been told my friends here to not expect a decision that soon.

We forsee getting the PTSD compensation and the dependant back pay in bits and pieces and seriously doubt it will all be fixed at one time.

Does anyone know more about the different processes and what happens where (I know the paperwork gets shuffled back and forth to different departments during this process). I saw it here somewhere and don't remember where I saw it.


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Make sure that form is sent in as you may have to submit it more than once as they tend to either misplace it quite often. They will not pay anything without that form.


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