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Death Of Veteran While Claim At Bva



Hey All,Lost my Best friend yesterday to Cancer,his Agent Orange Claim is At BVA in Washington DC,will his Spouse be entitled to any benefits due if claim is awarded in future,Thanks for any help,You all are Great,George

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Sorry to hear about the death of your friend. Did he use a VSO for his claim? If so, his wife needs to contact the VSO. Berta is the expert on here about DIC and I'm sure she will post a comment.

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I'm sorry for your and her loss! She may be entitled to DIC, depending on cause of death, and what he was SC for and how long. She should be entitled to accrued benefits but needs to file a claim for herself, as I believe his claim died w/him. Berta should post soon, as she is the "lady" w/all the answers on this subject, having been there herself.


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It is very sad to hear of a veteran's death, particularly today, Memorial Day 2012.

Boomer is right-if he had a VSO, she should continue to use this VSO as this person is familiar with his claim.

I cant determine here if she should file the 21-534 form and request accrued' benefits or substitute herself as the claimant for the BVA case.

The VSO could best advise her there.

If this is a question of exposure to AO, or a question as to whether the disability is not an AO presumptive, or a claim for a higher rating of an AO established disability- I cant tell.

She will still have to continue to prove his case,for any potential accrued benefits and/or DIC.

Philip=thanks but I don't seem to have all the answers these days.

The new 'substitution' regs are still confusing to me, and I have not had time to really figure them out. In any event the VSO will know the best way to go-if this widow needs to substitute herself as the claimant and he will have the form she needs to sign.

Jim Strickland has info on Substitution here:


I assume that substitution,in this widow's case here today , would allow the widow to have the deceased veteran's place in line at the BVA, instead of the traditional ordeal of the widow having to start the claim for a accrued benefit all over again,like it used to be done.

The fact that an Agent Orange claim is at the BVA concerns me and I pointed out above that this could be due to an exposure issue or to a disability that is not on te presumptive list, and would take a VERY strong IMO to possibly award it.

Then again, not enough info here and the VSO is this widow's best bet for help.

And I suggest she join hadit because we have a wealth of DIC info in our DIC forum here.

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Berta brought up a great point...whether to file a substitution or to request "accrued" benefits. However, I would be very careful in accepting the VSO's advice carte blanche without digging a lot more. Many, many a Vet has accepted VSO's advice only to regret it later. If it were MY spouse, I would advise her to have my C file at least reviewed by a professional VA attorney, such as Katrina Eagle or Ken Carpenter, B&M, etc. before making that choice. This should cost nothing to have a NVLSP or NOVA attorney give you advice. None of this is meant to "refute" anything Berta says..she is the best of the best.

An expert chess player I used to play with once suggested, "make the move that leaves the most options"....seems to apply here. This would suggest filing a substitution within a year simply because it would appear that you could withdraw this at a later date if it turned out accrued benefits made more sense BUT, once the year is up, its done. Its kind of like whether to file a CUE or an appeal. If in doubt appeal in the one year, and if that fails, you can "CUE" at any time.

You can always withdraw your appeal and the VA is more than happy to accommodate this. But, once you wait a year, there is no going back. You have to meet much tougher standards to appeal if you delay appealing beyond the one year mandate.

This is all just broncovets humble opinion, and I think if Carpenter or Eagle, or even a very highly skilled VSO said other wise, by all means follow their advice instead. The trouble with a VSO is that, if they are highly skilled, they are probably so popular that they wont be available. The only ones that are available are the newbies, and those less skilled or those, for whatever reason, have not yet "earned an ACE VSO reputation".

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