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At Law Elder Law, we are fortunate enough to work with clients that have served our country at some point in their lives. Often these individuals and their spouses are in need of monetary assistance. One of the many facets of elder law permits us to focus on counseling seniors on how to properly apply for Veteran’s Benefits if they are indeed eligible. The rules and process for determining eligibility frequently change. Because of this, it is to the advantage of the veteran to seek the guidance of a qualified VA consultant, such as an elder law attorney. Recently, Zach Hesselbaum wrote an article that was featured in the Illinois State Bar’s February newsletter.  In the article, Zach spoke about some recent changes at the VA that may affect your benefits… “On December 20, 2012 the VA released news that beginning in 2013, they will no longer require the submission of an Eligibility Verification Report for VA pensioners. This release caught VA practitioners by complete surprise because the EVR process was such an integral part of VA pension benefit planning. The VA is ceasing this annual recertification process to reallocate the caseworkers who typically process Eligibility Verification Reports to clear up the large backlog of claims of VA claims. The VA will recertify Veterans and Surviving Spouses receiving pension on an annual basis using alternative means. The VA will use reports issued to the VA from the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service to determine ongoing eligibility. When this news release was made official on the VA Web site, I was doing figurative back flips with excitement. For years, the EVR reporting that traditionally began in January and ended in March was a huge thorn in the side of our practice. We would spend January through March helping clients file these forms prior to the March 1st deadline. We would then subsequently spend March through December working with clients to have VA benefits reinstated for those who filed their EVRs incorrectly or not at all. In my opinion, this is a step in the right direction for the VA because it will benefit not only those already on the benefit but those who have a claim waiting in the mountainous backlog. How the VA will conduct maintenance on benefits is yet to be seen.” Congratulations to Zach on the publication of this very timely and interesting article!