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Time to file claims for 2008 medical expenses

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By Donald Mustard

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has advised claims for reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses incurred during 2007 will be accepted beginning January 1, 2009. 

    If you were receiving monetary benefits under the Improved Pension Program during 2008 you may be eligible for partial reimbursement of medical expenses you paid for yourself or any dependent you are legally obligated to support.  You may submit a claim to VA for reimbursement of the expenses you have paid and were not reimbursed by insurance or any other source.  Examples of allowable medical expenses include the following; hospital expenses, doctor fees, prescriptions, eye glasses, dental fees, medical insurance premiums, Medicare Part B deductions, hearing aids, nursing home fees, home health care charges, and the cost of transportation for medical purposes.  VA may pay for unreimbursed medical expenses exceeding five percent of the income for the veteran and dependents for which reimbursement is requested.  For example, if the family income is $10,000 per year VA may pay for unreimbursed medical expenses in excess of $500.

    VA has revised the practice of sending Eligibility Verification Report (EVR) forms and no longer sends the forms to everyone who receives benefits under the Improved Pension or Section 306 Program.  Now you will only be required to complete an EVR if you or your dependents receive income from any source other than VA or Social Security.  You are still required however, to advise VA of any changes in your income or in the number of dependents you have.  Claims submitted to VA must be supported by receipts or in the case of prescription medication; a listing provided by the pharmacy will suffice.

    Even though you may not receive an EVR, if you were in receipt of benefits under the Improved Pension Program you are entitled to submit a claim for reimbursement of medical expenses in excess of five percent of your income.

    It is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL that if you receive an EVR, IT MUST BE RETURNED to VA by March 1, 2009.  If it is not returned to VA by March 1, 2009 your BENEFITS COULD BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED 

    If you would like further information or assistance in submitting a claim to VA for reimbursement of medical expenses please call Don Mustard, the Veterans Service Officer for the Lynchburg based DAV Chapter 8 and VFW Post 8184 at 434-316-0229.  The office is open Tuesdays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Thursday by appointment.  The office is located in the Marine Corps League Building, 2337 Lakeside Drive, Lynchburg, VA.

    The information for this article was derived from the Department of Veterans Affairs Service Officer Guide, 2008 edition, and applicable VA forms.