What is the effect on Veterans and their widows of the VA’s discontinuance of the EVR procedure?
The VA has just announced that it is no longer going to send out the forms and require the annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR) to reconfirm benefits that are based on financial need, such as the VA Pension, with or without the Aid and Attendance supplement. This procedural change shifts the burden totally to the beneficiary (or his representative) to remember to report changes in income or expenses that would effect his eligibility. If such changes would reduce the amount of the benefits the beneficiary would be entitled to receive, the VA can and will demand reimbursement of the overpayment, even years later. Of course, if the beneficiary’s income goes down, such that the beneficiary would have been entitled to MORE benefits, the VA will do nothing. It will be up to the beneficiary to provide the relevant data and make the claim for the added benefits by the end of the year following when the income changed.
In addition, again because there is no EVR annual report due anymore, it is now totally up to the beneficiary to remember to report any change in his unreimbursed medical expenses (UMEs) as well. Unfortunately, while the VA can go back years to surcharge for additional income it finds, the beneficiary has only until the end of the following year to report an increase in his UME that offsets the increased income. Failure to report increases in his UME, thus, could cause the VA to determine there was an overpayment in situations where, had the beneficiary reported his increased expenses, there would have been no overpayment. Due to the potential problems this could cause the beneficiary years down the road when the VA finds the unreported additional income, it is now vital that every beneficiary (or his representative) establish the habit of always reporting to the VA when there is any change in the beneficiary’s income or expenses.