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M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, Chapter 8, Section A – General Policies for Veteran First Notice of Death (FNOD) Processing

Overview


In This Section

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

1.  General Information About Veteran FNOD Processing


Introduction

This topic contains general information on FNOD processing, including

Change Date

March 25, 2019

III.ii.8.A.1.a.  Purpose of Veteran FNOD Processing

Veteran First Notice of Death (FNOD) processing establishes or updates a Veteran’s Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem record with the date of the Veteran’s death.  It also automatically
  • clears and takes end product (EP) credit on any pending issues for compensation and pension benefits for live Veterans and apportionees that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has not already authorized
  • discontinues any benefits being paid, and
  • terminates the power of attorney (POA) of record.
Note:  The FNOD process will discontinue an award as of the first day of the month of death (MOD).
References:  For more information on the termination of a POA relationship, seeM21-1, Part I, 3.A.6.e.

III.ii.8.A.1.b.  Criteria for an Acceptable Veteran NOD

A notice of death (NOD) is acceptable if it
  • furnishes sufficient information about the Veteran to allow a definite identification of the Veteran’s record, and
  • identifies the source of the report of the death.
Exception:  If the NOD is a returned check indicating that the Veteran is deceased, identification of the source of the report of death is not necessary.
There is no requirement that a NOD be in writing or originate with the next of kin.
Examples:
  • Notice of a Veteran’s death from the Compensation and Pension Record Interchange (CAPRI) is considered an acceptable NOD.
  • A NOD may originate with a funeral home or other third party.
  • A report of contact based on a telephone call is an acceptable NOD if the report clearly identifies the Veteran and the caller.

III.ii.8.A.1.c.  Veteran FNOD Processing Guidelines

Upon receipt of an acceptable Veteran NOD, process an FNOD only
  • on a Veteran’s record
  • under either the
    • FNOD command, or
    • establishment of an EP for a claim for survivor benefits, and
  • when the exact date of death is known.
References:  For more information on processing a NOD for a

III.ii.8.A.1.d.  Notice Requirements Associated With Veteran FNOD Processing

In most cases, VA must issue notice of proposed adverse action (due process) to a beneficiary before reducing or discontinuing his/her benefits.  The discontinuation of benefits based on receipt of an acceptable NOD is one of the exceptions to this rule.
Although notice of proposed adverse action is not required, contemporaneous notice of the action taken is required if the NOD was obtained
  • by way of telephone or personal interview
  • from an Insurance Service Public Contact Representative, or
  • through computer matching with another Federal agency, such as the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Notes:
  • An automatic generation and mailing of a contemporaneous notice is sent to the Veteran’s last known address (as it exists in the corporate record), when
    • there was a running award of Veteran’s benefits, and
    • a spouse is of record on the Veteran’s award at the time of the FNOD entry, and
    •  a user selects a Next of Kin letter on the MONTH OF DEATH screen.
  • If the award has been suspended by the SSA Death Master File notification, a user-generated letter must be sent by the claims processor.
  • Although a contemporaneous notice is not required per 38 CFR 3.103(b)(3)(iii), VA is required to provide notice of benefit eligibility per 38 U.S.C. 6303.

III.ii.8.A.1.e.  Notifying a Deceased Veteran’s Estate of Benefits to Which Survivors and Others May Be Entitled When There Was a Running Award

When a VA employee processes the NOD and the Veteran has a running award, the employee is presented with the default option of sending a Next of Kin letter on the MONTH OF DEATH screen. If the employee proceeds with this selection, the Hines Information Technology Center (ITC) generates and mails a letter to the Veteran’s estate containing information about survivor benefits to which the Veteran’s survivors and others may be entitled.  These benefits include
  • burial benefits
  • Survivors Pension
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • accrued, and
  • educational benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35.
References:  For more information about

III.ii.8.A.1.fNotifying a Deceased Veteran’s Estate of Benefits to Which Survivors and Others May Be Entitled When There Was No Running Award 

When a VA employee processes a NOD and the Veteran has a suspended or terminated award or a pending claim where no award decision has been made, a contemporaneous notice is not required, per 38 CFR 3.103(b)(3)(iii).  However, VA is required to provide notice of benefit eligibility per 38 U.S.C. 6303.
Note:  When processing the NOD, the VA employee is presented with the option of sending a Next of Kin letter.  The Next of Kin letter will not be generated or sent if the letter option is selected but the Veteran had did not have a running award.
References:  For more information on

III.ii.8.A.1.g.  Language Included in a Locally Generated Notice

Include the language below when notifying a deceased Veteran’s estate of benefits to which survivors and others may be entitled.
You may be entitled to additional VA benefits.  Visit this website for benefits fact sheets:  https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets.asp.  You may also request a copy of the fact sheet by contacting us as outlined below.
 
The fact sheets provide information about the following benefits:
  • burial
  • Survivors Pension
  • Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)
  • educational benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35, and
  • accrued.
 A person eligible to receive accrued benefits may be a substitute claimant for the Veteran or other claimant to process his or her pending claim, higher-level review, or appeal to completion.  You have one year from the date of death to file a claim for accrued benefits.  For more information on accrued and substitution, you may visit our website at:  http://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/general/Accrued.pdf.

III.ii.8.A.1.hBenefits Paid to Surviving Spouses Through the FNOD Process

After FNOD processing, the following automated benefits can be awarded to eligible surviving spouses based on information contained in the corporate record:
  • burial allowance, and
  • DIC.
The MOD payment is also awarded to eligible surviving spouses after a VA employee completes the MONTH OF DEATH screen that automatically appearsafter FNOD processing is completed.
Note:  An automatically generated letter informs the surviving spouse if the burial allowance, DIC, and/or MOD payment are awarded.
References:  For more information on

III.ii.8.A.1.i. Guidelines for Specific Veteran NOD Situations

The table below contains guidelines for handling specific situations that may arise when processing a NOD.
If …
Then …
the fact of death is established, but the date of death isunknown
  • using the SUSPEND/RESUME button in the Veterans Services Network (VETSNET) or Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), suspend the Veteran’s award, to include any associated apportionment(s), effective the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the beneficiary, and
  • initiate development for the date of death.
Note:  The regional office (RO) may use CAPRI or the SSA INQUIRY function in Share to obtain a Veteran’s date of death.
References:  For information about using
the Veteran has a running compensation or pension award
the FNOD processing
  • discontinues the award, to include any associated apportionment(s), as of the first day of the MOD
  • generates work item showing the status of the account if there is an overpayment, and
  • allows users to subsequently processonly burial and/or survivor claims on the record.
Note:  If the apportionee award is in suspense at the time of NOD processing, then the system
  • discontinues the apportionee award the first of the month following the month for which VA last paid the beneficiary, and
  • generates a work item.
Reference:  For information about system generated work items, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 10.A.
  • the Veteran has a running award when the FNOD is processed, and
  • the date of death is more than 12 months before the processing month
the system
  • discontinues the award the first of the month following the month for which the VA last paid the Veteran, and
  • generates a work item.
  • the Veteran’s award was in a suspended status when VA received the NOD, or
  • FNOD processing did not discontinue the Veteran’s award
  • remove the date of death from the corporate record, if necessary
  • take award action to discontinue the Veteran’s award on the appropriate date, and
  • undertake normal NOD processing, which will update the corporate record with the date of the Veteran’s death.
the Veteran has a running education award
forward a copy of the NOD transaction to the appropriate regional processing office (RPO).
Note:  NOD processing suspends a running award of education benefits under 38 U.S.C. Chapters 30 or 31 but does not suspend an award under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 32 or 10 U.S.C. Chapter 1606.
the VETERAN IDENTIFICATION DATA (VID) and INSURANCE DATA screens display an
  • insurance file number, or
  • insurance policy number
the system sends a NOD transaction to the VA Regional Office and Insurance Center (VAROIC) in Philadelphia.
the Veteran’s claims folder is in the Records Management Center (RMC)
the system
  • sends a message to RMC, and
  • advises RMC personnel to move the folder to the RMC NOD unit.
RMC
  • reviews the folder for verification of service
  • upon service verification, enters a “Y” in the VER field on the VID screen, and
  • files the folder in the NOD file bank.
Reference:  For more information on RMC actions related to NOD processing , see M21-1, Part III, Subpart ii, 8.C.1.
the Veteran was a former prisoner of war (FPOW) and there is a claim for survivor benefits
after FNOD processing, prepare a corporate flash and expedite claim to the outreach FPOW coordinator.

III.ii.8.A.1.j.  Furnishing Notice to an RLC After Completing an FNOD

Loan Guaranty benefits may be available to certain surviving dependents of deceased Veterans.  Use the table below to determine the appropriate means of notifying a regional loan center (RLC).
If…
Then…
  • the Veteran diedin service
  • the Veteran’s death was notdue to willful misconduct, and
  • there is a surviving
    • spouse, or
    • next of kin
forward a copy of the DD Form 1300, Report of Casualty, to the RLC having jurisdiction over the address of the spouse or next of kin.
Note:  If DD Form 1300 does not show the address
  • obtain the address from the evidence of record, and
  • if possible, enter the address on the copy furnished to the RLC.
Reference:  For more information on RLC jurisdiction, see the RLC Contact Information website.
  • the Veteran diedafter service
  • the Veteran’s death is service-connected (SC),and
  • there is a surviving
    • spouse, or
    • next of kin
    • file number
    • Veteran’s name
    • spouse’s or next of kin’s name and address, and
    • a statement that the Veteran’s death was due to an SC disability, and
  • forward the OF 41 to the RLC having jurisdiction over the spouse’s or next of kin’s address.

2.  Types of Veteran NOD Correspondence


Introduction

This topic contains general information on processing NODs depending on the type of correspondence received, including the process for receiving

Change Date

March 18, 2019

III.ii.8.A.2.a.  Process for Receiving a Returned Check as a NOD

The table below describes the stages in the process of receiving a returned check as a NOD.
Stage
Description
1
The Department of the Treasury
  • receives a Veteran’s returned VA benefit payment, and
  • sends an electronic file to the Hines ITC.
2
If the file indicates the payment was returned due to death of person entitled, the Hines ITC suspends
  • the Veteran’s award, and
  • any apportionee awards.
3
The Hines ITC
  • processes the payment, and
  • establishes the applicable work item for action by the RO of jurisdiction (ROJ).
4
The ROJ
  • considers establishment of the work item in Stage 3 as notice of the Veteran’s death, and
  • undertakes development action to determine the exact date of death.
Reference:  For information about processing work items, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 10.A.

III.ii.8.A.2.b.  Process for Receiving an Insurance Claim as a NOD

Accept any of the following forms as a NOD:
Upon receipt of the form,
  • process the NOD, and
  • forward the insurance claim to the Philadelphia VAROIC.

III.ii.8.A.2.c.  Process for Receiving an Application for United States Flag as a NOD

  • forward the top portion of the completed form to the National Cemetery Administration for NOD processing at the following address:
Memorial Programs Service (41A1)
Department of Veterans Affairs
5109 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-3903
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