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M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, Chapter 6, Section A – General Information on Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS) Benefits

Overview


In This Section

This section contains the following topics:
Topic
Topic Name
1
2
3
4
5

1.  Description of REPS Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains a description of REPS benefits, including information on the

Change Date

June 11, 2015

IX.i.6.A.1.a.  Description of the Term REPS

Benefits payable under Public Law (PL) 97-377, Section 156 are called Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS) benefits.The term REPS was chosen because PL 97-377, Section 156 restores certain Social Security benefits that were reduced or terminated by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, PL 97-35.

IX.i.6.A.1.b.  Differences Between PL 97-35 and REPS Benefits

The 1981 changes in PL 97-35 eliminated
  • the “parent with child in care” benefit when a surviving spouse’s last child in care attains age 16, and
  • most student benefits for children over the age of 18.
REPS restores payments to
  • a surviving spouse until the youngest child of the Veteran in the surviving spouse’s care attains age 18, and
  • unmarried postsecondary school students between ages 18 and 21.

IX.i.6.A.1.c.  Unique Nature of the REPS Program

The REPS program is unique in that it is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) using a mixture of VA and Social Security Administration (SSA) eligibility criteria.
SSA eligibility criteria are used in order to pay benefits to the claimant for approximately the same duration he/she would have been paid but for the 1981changes.
Reference:  For more information on the REPS program, see

2.  Eligibility for REPS Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains information on the eligibility for REPS benefits, including information on

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.A.2.a.  Applying for REPS Benefits


IX.i.6.A.2.b.  Basic Eligibility Requirements

Certain spouses and schoolchildren have basic eligibility to REPS benefits if they are survivors of members or former members of the Armed Forces who
  • died while on active duty before August 13, 1981, or
  • died from disabilities incurred in or aggravated by active duty before August 13, 1981.
Reference:  For more information on REPS eligibility requirements, see 38 CFR 3.812(a).

IX.i.6.A.2.c.  Who Is Eligible for REPS Benefits

Pay REPS benefits to
  • a surviving spouse of the qualifying deceased Veteran who has in his/her care a child of the deceased Veteran who has reached age 16 but not 18
  • an unmarried schoolchild who is
    • between 18 and 21 years old, and
    • in full-time attendance at an approved postsecondary school, or
  • a grandchild who is recognized as a child of a deceased person.
Notes:
  • A surviving spouse who remarries can establish eligibility if his/her marriage is subsequently terminated.
  • A child who marries after eligibility has been established may again establish eligibility if the marriage is voided or annulled.
  • A child may not again establish eligibility if the marriage is terminated by divorce or death of the child’s spouse.
Reference:  For more information on approved postsecondary schools, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.7.

IX.i.6.A.2.d.  Who Is Not Eligible for REPS Benefits

A divorced spouse of a deceased Veteran is not eligible under the REPS program because he/she cannot be considered a surviving spouse at the time of the Veteran’s death.

IX.i.6.A.2.e.  Establishing Eligibility for SC Death

If death occurred in service, the
  • service must meet the definition of “active military, naval, or air service” as described in 38 CFR 3.6(a), and
  • death must have occurred before August 13, 1981.
Note:  If death occurred in service, line of duty is not a factor.
Reference:  For more information on death in service occurring after August 12, 1981, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.3.b.

IX.i.6.A.2.f.  Establishing Eligibility for Death After Separation From Service

If the Veteran died after separation from service the
  • death must have resulted from a disability incurred or aggravated in the active military, naval, or air service before August 13, 1981, and
  • disability must have been incurred in the line of duty.
Note:  If separation from service was after August 12, 1981, the service-connected (SC) disability must have had its onset prior to August 13, 1981.
Reference:  For more information on death or disability after separation from service, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.3.

IX.i.6.A.2.g.  Considering COD

Although the Veteran’s character of discharge (COD) might be a bar to the payment of benefits under 38 U.S.C. 5303, there may be entitlement to REPS benefits provided the
  • post-service death was the result of a disability incurred in or aggravated by service before August 13, 1981, and
  • disability that resulted in death was incurred in the line of duty.

IX.i.6.A.2.h.  Establishing Eligibility in Special Circumstances

Use the table below to determine if REPS benefits are payable in special circumstances.
If …
Then eligibility for REPS benefits is …
service was in the Regular Philippine Scouts of the Philippines
established.
service was in the
  • commissioned corps of the Public Health Service
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • New Philippine Scouts, or
  • Commonwealth Army of the Philippines
not established.
death was presumptively connected to service prior to August 13, 1981 due to
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or any other disease SC under the provisions of 38 CFR 3.313, or
  • any disease presumptively SC
established.
death was due to a disability awarded “as if” SC under
not established.
References:  For more information on

IX.i.6.A.2.i.  Establishing Basic Eligibility in Wartime MIA Cases

Basic REPS eligibility exists in wartime missing in action (MIA) cases where
  • MIA status is established prior to August 13, 1981, and
  • the casualty report has a date of death after August 12, 1981.
Note:  If MIA status was established prior to August 13, 1981, it is presumed that the actual death or disability resulting in death occurred prior to August 13, 1981.

3.  Providing Notice of Potential Eligibility to REPS Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains information on providing notice of potential eligibility to REPS benefits, including information on

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.A.3.a.  Notifying Dependents of Potential REPS Entitlement

Notify dependents using the following forms:

IX.i.6.A.3.b.  Criteria for the Automatic Issuance of the Forms

VA Forms 21-8934a and 21-8924 are automatically released by the central system computer if there is a running Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) award and either of the following criteria are met:
  • the payee is a DIC surviving spouse whose youngest child or children (in the case of twins) will reach age 16 within two months of the current processing month
  • the payee is a DIC child whose 18th birthday is two months from the current processing month, or
  • the payee is a DIC surviving spouse with a child whose 18th birthday is two months from the current processing month.

4.  Handling Inquiries From Claimants


Introduction

This topic contains information on responding to inquiries from claimants, including information about

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.A.4.a.  Claimants’ Inquiries to ROs

Normally, REPS claimants contact their local regional office (RO) if they have a question relating to REPS benefits.

IX.i.6.A.4.b.  RO Inquiries to the St. Louis RO

Local ROs may contact the St. Louis RO for assistance by e-mail to the VAVBASTL/RO/REPS mailbox or by telephone at (314) 552-9803, if the inquiry cannot be handled locally.

IX.i.6.A.4.c.  Claimants’ Inquiries to the St. Louis RO

Claimants may call the St. Louis RO directly for assistance or e-mail theVAVBASTL/RO/REPS mailbox.
The St. Louis RO can call or e-mail the beneficiary back once the claimant furnishes his/her phone number or e-mail address.
Note:  A record of the telephone call must be prepared for the claims folder.

5.  General Information on Jurisdiction and Responsibility for REPS Claims


Introduction

This topic contains information on the jurisdiction and responsibility for REPS claims, including information regarding

Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.A.5.a.  Responsibility of the REPS Liaison

Each RO appoints a REPS liaison to handle and control REPS claims.
The REPS liaison is responsible for
  • expediting REPS claims, and
  • answering inquiries from the St. Louis RO.

IX.i.6.A.5.b.  Sending the REPS Liaison’s Contact Information to the REPS Mailbox

Send the name, phone number, and fax number of the RO’s REPS liaison to theVAVBASTL/RO/REPS mailbox.
If the REPS liaison is detailed, on extended leave, or otherwise unavailable to perform the REPS liaison function, send the name of a replacement to theVAVBASTL/RO/REPS mailbox.

IX.i.6.A.5.c.  Jurisdiction for REPS Claims

The responsibility for processing REPS claims is split between
  • various ROs, and
  • a special processing unit (21Q) at the St. Louis RO.
The St. Louis RO manages the processing of REPS claims.
ROs must forward all REPS claims to the St. Louis RO without establishing a control or taking any further action.

IX.i.6.A.5.d.  Responsibility for Determining Eligibility for REPS Benefits

The table below describes who is responsible for determining eligibility for REPS benefits.
Stage
Who Is Responsible
Description
1
  • RO with jurisdiction, or
  • St. Louis RO
Determines basic eligibility.
Reference:  For more information on meeting the basic eligibility SC death requirements, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.A.2.
2
St. Louis special processing unit (21Q)
  • Makes all determinations regarding payment of REPS benefits, and
  • processes all REPS awards.

IX.i.6.A.5.e.  Determining Eligibility When the Deceased Veteran’s Claims Folder Exists

The table below describes the responsibilities when the deceased Veteran’s claims folder exists.
Stage
Who Is Responsible
Description
1
RO
Forwards all REPS claims to the St. Louis RO.
2
St. Louis RO
Faxes a copy of the application and cover memorandum to the office that has the deceased Veteran’s claims folder.
3
RO with jurisdiction
Determines if there is basic eligibility to REPS benefits.
Reference:  For more information on RO actions for determining basic eligibility, seeM21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.
Note:  The deceased Veteran’s claims folder is also known as the xc folder.

IX.i.6.A.5.f.  Determining Eligibility When the Deceased Veteran’s Claims Folder Does Not Exist or Exists at the RMC or FRC

The table below describes the responsibilities of the St. Louis RO when the deceased Veteran’s claims folder either does not exist or exists at the Records Management Center or at a Federal records center.
Stage
Who Is Responsible
Description
1
RO
Forwards all REPS claims to the St. Louis RO.
2
St. Louis RO
  • Determines basic eligibility, and
  • invites a claim for DIC and Dependents’ Educational Assistance benefits, if
    • the deceased Veteran’s claims folder does not exist, and
    • COD is not a bar to payment of VA benefits.
Change-June-11-2015-Transmittal-Sheet-M21-1IX_i_6_SecA_TS.docx May 19, 2019 40 KB
Historical_M21-1IX_i_6_SecA_6-11-15.doc May 19, 2019 94 KB
5-8-19_Key-Changes_M21-1IX_i_6_SecA.docx May 19, 2019 57 KB
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