Substitution in a VA Claim

VA recently changed its substitution rules that apply to cases where a veteran dies while pursuing a VA disability claim. The death of a loved one is always very difficult.  Substitution in a VA claim allows the spouse, children, or dependent parents of a veteran to continue to pursue the veterans disability claim when the veteran passes away.

Substitution in VA claim versus Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Substitution is different that a Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) claim which can be brought by eligible survivors.  A DIC Claim only addresses benefits that are due to survivors after the veterans death.

Substitution addresses benefits that were or are potentially due to the veteran prior to death but have not been paid yet.

Substitution versus accrued benefits

Substitution in a VA claim is also different than an accrued benefits claim.  The primary difference is that substitution gives survivors the possibility of introducing additional evidence.  In an accrued benefits claim, a decision will just be made based on the evidence that is already in the veteran’s file as of the time of the veteran’s death.

Substitution is a much more powerful tool.  It allows the survivors to introduce additional evidence to support the veteran’s claim or claims.  If additional evidence is needed to prove the veterans claim to VA, it can be added after substitution.

The new substitution rule

The new substitution rule became effective in October 2014.  Rule 3.1010 provides that certain survivors can elect to substitute for the veteran.  The following list indicates the top three people who have the right to substitute in the order of priority.

  1. The veteran’s spouse
  2. The veteran’s children
  3. The veteran’s dependent parents

Although we have not stated them here, there are additional survivors who can be eligible under Rule 3.1010 if the first three indicated above are not eligible.

When does a request for substitution need to be made?

The request for substitution in a VA claim must be made within a year of the veteran’s death. One way (and probably the safest and easiest way) to make a request for substitution is to use VA Form 21-0847.  There are also other applications that can also be treated as a request for substitution.  These include:

  • A claim for survivor’s pension
  • A claim for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
  • A claim for accrued benefits

Should I apply for substitution if I am eligible?

Substitution provides a greater ability to prove entitlement to benefits before the veteran’s death.  Because of that, it is almost always a good idea to file for substitution.

With VA’s new rules that treat claims for DIC, accrued benefits, and survivor’s pension as a request for substitution, it is really difficult not to elect substitution if you are a spouse or child of the veteran and are going to pursue any sort of claim.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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