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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 2, Section H – Renouncements

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3

1.  General Information About Renouncements


Introduction

This topic contains general information about renouncements, including


Change Date

November 30, 2015

III.ii.2.H.1.a.  Regulatory Provisions Regarding Renouncement of the Right to a Benefit

According to 38 CFR 3.106, any individual entitled to compensation, pension, or Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) may renounce his or her right to that benefit.
Important:  38 CFR 3.106 requires renouncement of the full amount of entitlement; it specifically prohibits renouncement of individual portions of a benefit, such as the additional benefits payable for
  • a dependent or dependents, and
  • being housebound or requiring the aid and attendance of another person.

III.ii.2.H.1.b.  Acceptable Means of Renouncing the Right to a Benefit

Beneficiaries desiring to renounce their right to a benefit must submit a written andsigned request to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
VA will not accept a request for renouncement that a representative, such as a power of attorney, signs and submits on a beneficiary’s behalf.
Requests for renouncement must be clear and unambiguous.
  • If there is any question as to a beneficiary’s intent, attempt to obtain clarification by telephone.
  • If attempts to contact the beneficiary by telephone are unsuccessful, use a locally generated letter to ask the beneficiary for clarification.
  • If the beneficiary does not respond to the letter within 30 days, notify him/her that VA will take no further action on his/her request until VA obtains clarification of his/her intent.

Reference:  For more information about obtaining information from a beneficiary by telephone, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 1.B.1.


III.ii.2.H.1.c.  Right of a Former Beneficiary to File a Claim for a Benefit He/She Previously Renounced

A former beneficiary who renounced his/her right to a benefit may later reapply for the same benefit at any time by filing a new application.  Per 38 CFR 3.106(b),
  • VA must treat the new application as an original claim, and
  • if VA awards benefits based on the new application, it may not pay them for any period prior to the date VA received the new application.
Exception:  If VA discontinues benefits based on a beneficiary’s renouncement of his/her right to pension or Parent’s DIC, and the beneficiary submits a new application for the same benefit within one year of the date VA received the beneficiary’s request for renouncement, 38 CFR 3.106(c)
  • waives the requirement to treat the new application as an original claim, and
  • allows VA to pay benefits (if entitlement still exists) as if the beneficiary had never renounced the right to receive the benefit.
Important:  Upon receipt of a new application for benefits, address only those issues or contentions the claimant raises on the new application.
Example:  Prior to a Veteran’s renouncement of her right to disability compensation, VA had been paying benefits to the Veteran for a service-connected (SC) back disorder.  If the Veteran files a new application for disability compensation for a knee disorder, do not
  • resume the payment of disability compensation for the back disorder, or
  • invite the Veteran to file a claim for service connection for the back disorder.

III.ii.2.H.1.d.  Effect of the Renouncement of One Benefit on a Beneficiary’s Entitlement to Other VA Benefits

Unless a beneficiary specifically renounces his/her right to all VA benefits, he/she may continue to receive other VA benefits to which he/she is entitled that do not require (as a condition of eligibility) the actual payment of compensation, pension, or DIC.
Examples:
  • A Veteran who renounces his/her right to disability compensation may continue to receive
    • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits
    • treatment at a VA medical center for SC disabilities, and
    • a clothing allowance for certain SC disabilities.
  • A surviving spouse who renounces his/her right to DIC may continue to receive Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA).
Note:  The policy described in this block applies even when entitlement to the “other VA benefit” flows from the benefit the beneficiary renounced.
Reference:  For more information about the other VA benefits referenced in this block, see

2.  Information Unique to Renouncements of the Right to Disability Compensation or DIC


Introduction

This topic contains information that is unique to renouncements of the right to disability compensation or DIC, including

Change Date

November 30, 2015

III.ii.2.H.2.a.  Effect of Renouncement of the Right to Disability Compensation on Disability Evaluations

The bullets below describe the effect that renouncement of the right to disability compensation has on the disability evaluations assigned to each of a Veteran’s SC disabilities:
  • The protection (from future reduction) that 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords to disability evaluations ends when a Veteran renounces his/her right to disability compensation.
  • Time does not accrue toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords as long as a Veteran’s disability compensation is in a renounced status.
  • As stated in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.H.1.c, if a Veteran reapplies for disability compensation after renouncing his/her right to this benefit, VA must treat the new application as an original claim.  This means:
    • Any time that had accrued (prior to renouncement) toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords is lost when a Veteran renounces his/her right to disability compensation.
    • The accrual of time toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords must start over again if VA awards disability compensation based on the new application.

III.ii.2.H.2.b.  Effect of Renouncement of the Right to Veterans Pension on a Rating of Permanent and Total Disability

The bullets below describe the effect that renouncement of the right to Veterans Pension has on a Veteran’s permanent and total (P&T) disability rating:
  • The protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords to P&T disability ratings ends when a Veteran renounces his/her right to pension.
  • Time does not accrue toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords as long as a Veteran’s pension is in a renounced status.
  • As stated in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.H.1.c, if a Veteran reapplies for pension after renouncing his/her right to this benefit, VA must treat the new application as an original claim.  This means:
    • Any time that had accrued (prior to renouncement) toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords is lost when a Veteran renounces his/her right to pension.
    • The accrual of time toward entitlement to the protection 38 CFR 3.951(b) affords must start over again if VA awards pension based on the new application.
Exception:  The policies described in this block do not apply when a Veteran who renounced his/her right to pension reapplies for pension within one year of the date VA received his/her request for renouncement.

III.ii.2.H.2.c.  Effect of Renouncement of the Right to DIC on Other Beneficiaries of the Same Class

If VA is paying DIC to multiple beneficiaries in the same class (multiple children of the same Veteran, for example), renouncement of the right to DIC by one beneficiary will not have the effect of increasing the rate of DIC payable to any other beneficiary in the same class.

III.ii.2.H.2.d.  Effect of a Surviving Spouse’s Renouncement of the Right to DIC on the Veteran’s Surviving Children

If a surviving spouse renounces his/her right to DIC
  • any child on the surviving spouse’s award that is under the age of 18 also loses his/her right to DIC (unless the child is entitled to DIC based on the death of a different Veteran-parent), and
  • the surviving spouse’s renouncement will not have the effect of increasing the rate of DIC payable to a child or children over the age of 18.

III.ii.2.H.2.e.  Effect of Renouncement of the Right to Disability Compensation on a Dependent’s Entitlement to DEA

Dependents entitled to DEA do not lose their entitlement when the Veteran on whose service the benefit is based renounces his/her right to disability compensation.

3.  Processing Renouncements


Introduction

This topic contains instructions for processing renouncements, including

Change Date

June 19, 2018

III.ii.2.H.3.a.
EP Control of Requests for Renouncement

Control and process requests for renouncement of the right to a benefit under end product (EP) 290, using the Renouncement claim label.

III.ii.2.H.3.b.  Effective Date for Discontinuing an Award

Follow the instructions in the table below when discontinuing an award based on receipt of a renouncement.
If the award is …
Then discontinue the award effective the …
running
first day of the month following the date VA received the renouncement.
suspended
date in the LAST PAID DATE field on the AWARD INFORMATION tab in Share.

III.ii.2.H.3.c.  System Entries for Discontinuing an Award

To discontinue a beneficiary’s award based on his/her renouncement of the right to a benefit
  • select Terminate – Renouncement from the drop-down box for the DECISION field on the RECORD DECISIONS – BASIC ELIGIBILITY screen, and
  • enter the proper effective date (based on the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 2.H.3.b) in the AWARD EFFECTIVE DATE field.
References:  For more information about processing renouncements in

III.ii.2.H.3.d.  Notification of Renouncement of the Right to Pension or Parents DIC

Include the following text in decision notices to beneficiaries that have renounced their right to pension or DIC:
On [Enter the date VA received the request for renouncement.], we received notice that you want to renounce your right to [Enter the type of benefit the beneficiary renounced.] at this time.
This letter is to inform you we have discontinued your [Enter the type of benefit the beneficiary renounced.] effective [Enter the effective date of the renouncement.], which represents [Enter whichever of the following phrases applies:  the first of the month following the date we received your request for renouncement or the first day of the month after the month for which we last paid benefits to you].
[If the beneficiary is a Veteran who is renouncing his/her right to pension, add the following text:  For your information, Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 3.951(b), protects from reduction a rating of permanent and total disability for pension purposes that has been in effect for 20 or more years.]  [If a rating of permanent and total disability has been in effect at least 20 years, add the following text: By renouncing your right to pension, you have lost the protection this regulation provides.]  [If a rating of permanent and total disability has been in effect fewer than 20 years, add the follow text:  While your benefits are in a renounced status, time does not accrue toward entitlement to the protection this regulation provides.]
You may reapply for the benefit you renounced at any time by submitting a new application.  We will treat the new application as an original claim unless we receive it within one year of the date we received your request for renouncement.
  • If we receive your application within the one-year time limit, and you remain entitled to the benefit you renounced, we will award benefits as if we had never received your request for renouncement.
  • If we receive your application after the one-year time limit, the law prohibits us from awarding benefits for any period prior to the date we receive the new application. 
References:  For more information about

III.ii.2.H.3.e.  Notification of Renouncement of the Right to Benefits Other Than Pension or Parents DIC

Include the following text in decision notices to beneficiaries that have renounced their right to a benefit other than pension or Parents DIC:
On [Enter the date VA received the request for renouncement.], we received notice that you want to renounce your right to [Enter the type of benefit the beneficiary renounced.] at this time.
This letter is to inform you we have discontinued your [Enter the type of benefit the beneficiary renounced.] effective [Enter the effective date of the renouncement.][Enter whichever of the following phrases applies:the first of the month following the date we received your request for renouncement or the first day of the month after the month for which we last paid benefits to you.].
[If the beneficiary is a Veteran who is renouncing his/her right to disability compensation, add the following text:  For your information, Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 3.951(b), protects from reduction any disability evaluation that has been in effect for 20 or more years.]  [If the Veteran has a disability evaluation that has been in effect at least 20 years, add the following text: By renouncing your right to disability compensation, you have lost the protection this regulation provides.]  [If the Veteran has a disability evaluation that has been in effect fewer than 20 years, add the following text, as well:  While your benefits are in a renounced status, time does not accrue toward entitlement to the protection this regulation provides.]
You may reapply for the benefit you renounced at any time by submitting a new application.  We will treat the new application as an original claim.  If you reestablish entitlement to the renounced benefit, the law prohibits us from awarding it to you for any period prior to the date we receive the new application.
References:  For more information about
11-30-15_Key-Changes_M21-1III_ii_2_SecH.docx May 11, 2019 51 KB
Historical_M21-1III_ii_2_SecH_11-30-15.doc May 11, 2019 102 KB
6-19-18_Key-Changes_M21-1III_ii_2_SecH.docx May 11, 2019 46 KB
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