What Is Post-Award Support?
Post-Award Support is a subscription donation service offered to current claimants and those filing for the wartime Aid and Attendance Pension benefit (“VA Benefit”) from the VA. It is NOT a charge for assistance in preparing and filing the initial application for VA Benefits (such help is FREE OF CHARGE). It is a cooperative effort where subscribers make monthly (or annual) donations to APSC for the benefit of all successful APSC claimants needing post-award assistance. APSC uses these funds to help VA Benefit recipients comply with ongoing VA regulations, thus helping them preserve their VA Benefit. Post-Award Support includes clerical and administrative assistance dealing with the VA on a post-award basis. It does NOT include legal representation, appeals, administrative representation or other legal services.
Why Do I Need It?
- VA requires notification when changing bank accounts, addresses, or there are changes in medical expenses
- If your veteran’s care requirements change, the VA must be notified
- Every time a care provider is added or removed, the proper form must be filed with the VA
- VA routinely does audits, and one should never respond to an audit without guidance
- Routine correspondence from the VA should never be responded to without prior advice or help
- When any claimant dies, the benefit immediately stops, and the VA must be notified immediately
- When a veteran dies, there are certain additional VA benefits available including a reduced ongoing pension to the surviving spouse, but they must all be applied for.
What Does It Cost?
$20.00 dollars per month (less than $1 dollar/day). Sustaining Members prior to November 1, 2020 are exempt for so long as they maintain their Sustaining Membership. People frequently pay for a single hour of attorney time nearly twice the amount of APSC’s annual fee for identical clerical and administrative services. Your subscription donations begin at the time your veteran’s initial application for VA Benefits is submitted to the VA.
Isn’t It Against VA Regulations To Charge For Assistance?
Yes, it is against VA regulations to charge for assistance in preparing and filing the initial claim for VA Benefits. APSC does not, and will not, ever charge for its assistance in preparing and submitting an initial application for VA Benefits (unlike other organizations that charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars for similar help, but merely call it something else). The Post-Award Support services are clerical and administrative services often required by successful award claimants in continuing to protect and preserve their awards in a post-award environment.
APSC Didn’t Use To Charge For This Service – Why The Change?
During the first nine years of its existence, APSC provided Post-Award Support free of charge. During APSC’s early years, with only a few hundred clients receiving VA Benefits, APSC was able to voluntarily provide continuing post-award services. However, APSC’s administrative staff resources are now being largely consumed helping clients already awarded VA Benefits – thus taking valuable resources away from our primary mission of helping vulnerable veterans file their applications for VA Benefit in the first instance. Since monetary donations have not kept pace with the increasing demand for APSC’s services, we are simply faced with the option of either not providing Post-Award Support, or asking for donative help from those who may directly benefit from our Post-Award Support services.
Can I Do This On My Own?
Certainly, but we don’t recommend it for two reasons:
- The VA rules are strict and frequently confusing. Honest mistakes do happen and can be very costly, resulting in future benefit termination and letters demanding that “claims paid in error” must be returned. We have seen VA demand letters requiring repayment of thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars due to simple mistakes made by claimants in VA connection with VA correspondence or audits.
- Becoming a subscription donor not only qualifies you to receive future help, it provides APSC the charitable resources needed to continue its fight to serve our Veterans. As of 10/12/2020, 315 Sustaining Members support this effort. APSC needs a minimum of 685 additional subscribers to ensure our ongoing ability to continue to provide Post-Award Support.
Are My Post-Award Support Donations Refundable If My Initial Application For VA Benefits Is Not Approved by the VA?
Your Post-Award Support subscription donations are made to support a large pool of veterans needing Post-Award Support. As potentially tax-deductible donations to a public charity, they are not refundable. However, you may notify us at any time of your desire to stop making your monthly donations to help veterans, although we encourage you to continue to help these veterans keep the benefits to which the VA has determined they are entitled.
EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 18, 2020 APSC WILL ONLY PROVIDE POST-AWARD SUPPORT FOR VETERANS/SURVIVING SPOUSES WHERE THE CLAIMANT’S FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE HAS EXECUTED A DONATION FORM FOR POST-AWARD SUPPORT. SUSTAINING MEMBERS AS OF 11-1-20 ARE EXEMPT FROM THIS REQUIREMENT.