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M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, Chapter 6, Section B – Station of Origination (SOO) Action for 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
6
7
8
9
10

 

1.  Handling Claims for REPS Benefits When the Deceased Veteran’s Claim Folder Exists


Introduction

This topic contains information on handling claims for REPS benefits when the deceased Veteran’s claim folder exists, including

Change Date

July 23, 2015

IX.i.6.B.1.a.  Actions on Receiving the REPS Claim

The table below describes the process for handling claims for Restored Entitlement Program for Survivors (REPS) benefits when the deceased Veteran’s claims folder exists.
Stage
Who Is Responsible
Description
1
Station of origination (SOO)
Forwards all REPS claims to the St. Louis Regional Office (RO).
2
St. Louis RO
Faxes a copy of the REPS application with a cover memorandum to the station of jurisdiction (SOJ)  in possession of the deceased Veteran’s claims folder.
3
SOJ
  • Refers the faxed copy of the application to the REPS liaison for further processing and control, and
  • establishes the appropriate end product (EP) discussed in M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.1.b.
Reference:  For more information on the responsibilities of the REPS liaison, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.A.5.
4
REPS liaison
  • Processes the application
  • establishes control
  • contacts the St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q) with questions on
    • the completeness of the application, or
    • any other aspect of the claim
  • refers the claim to the
  • certifies the back of the application.
5
SOJ
Takes EP credit when final action is complete.

IX.i.6.B.1.b. Determining Which EP Control to Use for REPS Claims

Use the table below to determine which EP to use to control claims for REPS benefits.
If …
Then use EP …
no prior claim for survivors benefits, such as Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) or pension, has been filed
140.
  • the issue of service connection (SC) was not considered with a previous claim for survivors benefits, or
  • the date the disability was incurred or aggravated cannot be determined without additional rating action
020.
SC was properly decided previously
290.
Note:  Use this EP to control the disallowances or certifications of entitlement.

 

2.  Authorization Determinations of Basic Eligibility


Introduction

This topic contains information on authorization determinations of basic eligibility, including

Change Date
March 14, 2019

IX.i.6.B.2.a.  Preparing a Memorandum Decision Holding That There Is Basic Eligibility

Prepare a memorandum decision holding that there is basic eligibility for REPS benefits if either of the following conditions exist:
  • the person on whose service the REPS claim is based died in service before August 13, 1981, or
  • the latest release from active duty (RAD) date for the person on whose service the REPS claim is based is earlier than August 13, 1981, and the person’s death is service-connected (SC) under rating code 1d.
Reference:  For information on rating determination of eligibility when the RAD was after August 13, 1981, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.3.

IX.i.6.B.2.b.Preparing a Memorandum Decision Holding That There Is No Basic Eligibility

Prepare a memorandum decision holding that there is no basic eligibility for REPS benefits if any of the following conditions exist:
  • the earliest entry on duty date of the person on whose service the claim is based is after August 12, 1981
  • DIC entitlement was established under 38 U.S.C. 1318, or
  • DIC entitlement was established as if SC under the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1151 (disability due to treatment or training) or 38 U.S.C. 1160(paired organs or extremities).
Reference:  For more information on DIC entitlement as if SC, see 38 CFR 3.812(c).

IX.i.6.B.2.c.Approving REPS Authorization Determinations

After preparing a memorandum decision indicating whether or not REPS entitlement exists

IX.i.6.B.2.d.Making LOD Determinations for REPS claims

If death occurred in service, line of duty (LOD) is not a factor.
An LOD determination is required when death occurs after active service and character of discharge (COD) is a bar to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) noncontractual benefits.
If LOD for the in-service disability that caused or contributed to the Veteran’s post-service death is established, refer the claim to the rating activity.
Reference:  For more information on death after separation from service, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.A.2.f.

 

3.  Rating Claims for REPS Benefits


Introduction

This topic contains information on rating claims for REPS benefits, including information on determining basic REPS eligibility

Change Date
March 14, 2019

IX.i.6.B.3.a..Determining Basic REPS Eligibility by a Formal Death Rating

The rating activity determines basic REPS eligibility by a formal death rating if no previous claim for death benefits has been filed and one of the following applies:
  • a previous rating was not made because
    • COD was a bar, and
    • the authorization activity has established the disability was incurred in the LOD
  • the Veteran’s RAD date is after August 12, 1981, or
  • death occurred in service after August 12, 1981.
Note:  If the rating determines that the disability that resulted in SC death had its onset before August 13, 1981, basic REPS eligibility exists.
Reference:  For more information on making LOD determinations for REPS claims, see M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.2.

IX.i.6.B.3.b.Determining Basic REPS Eligibility When Death Occurred in Service After August 12, 1981

If death occurred in service after August 12, 1981, review the service treatment records to determine if the disease or injury that resulted in or contributed to death had its onset before August 13, 1981.
Basic REPS eligibility exists if the condition that caused death had its onset before August 13, 1981.

 

4. Verifying and Updating Data in Qualifying REPS Cases


Introduction
This topic contains information on verifying and updating data in qualifying REPS cases, including information on


Change Date
March 14, 2019

IX.i.6.B.4.a.Certifying REPS Eligibility

The Veterans Service Center Manager or designee must certify in VA Form 21P-8924Application of Surviving Spouse or Child for REPS Benefits, Part IV, Items 25A through 25C, that the Veteran’s death meets the basic REPS eligibility requirements.

IX.i.6.B.4.b.Reviewing REPS Applications in Qualifying Cases

Follow the steps in the table below to review the application for completeness and accuracy once qualifying SC death is established.
Step
Action
1
Compare the data on the application with data already of record in the claims folder.
2
Verify the Veteran’s Social Security number (SSN) since REPS claims are established and adjudicated based on the Veteran’s Social Security account.
3
If the claimant is filing for benefits as a schoolchild, complete Item 24 (postsecondary school approval data) in Part IV.
Note:  The school approval certification must indicate if the instruction or training is by an approved institution as described in M21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.C.7.
4
If there is a discrepancy that is resolved by evidence in the claims folder, enter the correct data in the Remarks section of the application.
Important:  Do not alter data furnished by the claimant.
Example:  If the REPS application shows the applicant’s date of birth (DOB) as July 5, 1956, but the applicant’s birth certificate in the claims folder shows a birth date of July 5, 1965, enter applicant’s correct DOB is July 5, 1965 in the Remarks section.

IX.i.6.B.4.c.Updating BIRLS for REPS Cases

Review the Beneficiary Identification and Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS)  and update as necessary.  Ensure that the Veteran’s SSN is correctly entered into the BIRLS Veteran Identification Data (VID) screen.
Note:  The St. Louis RO must rely on the BIRLS data and the information in the eFolder when processing REPS claims.

 

5.  Action to Take After Determining Basic Eligibility


Introduction

This topic contains information on the actions to take after determining basic eligibility, including

Change Date

March 14, 2019

IX.i.6.B.5.a.  Notifying Claimants of REPS Disallowance

If the Veteran’s death is nonqualifying, the RO making the denial disallows the claim.  Notify the claimant of the specific reason for denial.
Note:  Existing VA review rights will apply for these cases.

IX.i.6.B.5.b.  Notifying the St. Louis RO of REPSDisallowance

Notify the St. Louis RO via fax at (314) 253-4110 that the claim has been denied.
The St. Louis RO then clears its control and uploads the original application to the eFolder.

IX.i.6.B.5.c. Handling Disagreements With Decisions Involving REPS

The St. Louis RO (to include its Special Processing Unit (21Q), if applicable) handles all disagreements with denials of eligibility to REPS benefits.
References:  For more information on

6.  Transmitting Certified Applications to the St. Louis RO


Introduction

This topic contains information on transmitting certified applications to the St. Louis RO, including

Change Date

February 3, 2017

IX.i.6.B.6.a.  Process for Transmitting REPS Certified Applications to St. Louis

The table below describes the steps the REPS liaison follows to transmit certified applications to the St. Louis RO.
Step
Action
1
Upload a copy of the completed application, along with the memorandum decision, to the deceased Veteran’s eFolder.
2
E-mail the REPS mailbox at VAVBASTL/RO/REPS indicating that the completed application is in the eFolder.
3
Mail any original REPS applications, forms, or correspondence separately from all other mail for that RO to the address below.
Veterans Service Center (REPS UNIT 21Q)
VA Regional Office
9700 Page Ave.
St. Louis, MO  63132-1547
Notes:
  • The St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q) may have to develop additional evidence or information from claimants.
  • If a claimant sends the requested information to the local RO, forward it to the St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q) using the address shown above.

IX.i.6.B.6.b.  Faxing Additional Information to St. Louis for Qualifying REPS Cases

Fax the following evidence with the completed REPS application as described inM21-1, Part IX, Subpart i, 6.B.4 to the St. Louis Special Processing Unit (21Q) at (314) 253-4110:
  • DD Form 1300Report of Casualty, if death occurred in service
  • signed copies of any rating decisions establishing service connection for the cause of death
  • a signed copy of any disability rating decision establishing SC for the condition which was the primary or contributory cause of death, and
  • name of the claimant’s power of attorney, if any, entered in the Remarkssection of the application.
Exception:  If this information is already located in the eFolder, then do not fax this information, as it can be viewed electronically.

7. Exhibit 1:  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility–Death After Service


Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.B.7.a.  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility – Death After Service

A sample memorandum decision showing REPS eligibility when death occurred after service is shown below.

This is a sample memorandum decision showing REPS eligibilty when death occurred after service is shown below.

8. Exhibit 2:  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility–Death on Active Duty


Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.B.8.a. Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility – Death on Active Duty

A sample memorandum decision showing REPS eligibility when death occurred while on active duty is shown below.
 This is a sample memorandum decision showing REPS eligibility when death occurred while on active duty is shown below.

 

9.  Exhibit 3:  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility Not Established–All Active Duty After August 12, 1981


Change Date

December 6, 2004

IX.i.6.B.9.a. Sample Memorandum Decision Showing REPS Eligibility Not Established – All Active Duty After August 12, 1981

A sample memorandum decision showing that REPS eligibility was not established because the Veteran’s active duty was after August 12, 1981 is shown below.
 This image is a A sample memorandum decision showing that REPS eligibility was not established because the Veteran’s active duty was after August 12, 1981 is shown below.

 

10.  Exhibit 4:  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing DIC Payable but REPS Eligibility Not Established


Change Date

April 19, 2005

IX.i.6.B.10.a.  Sample Memorandum Decision Showing DIC Payable but REPS Eligibility Not Established

A sample memorandum decision showing that DIC is payable, but REPS eligibility was not established is shown below.
 This image is a sample memorandum decision showing that DIC is payable, but REPS eligibility was not established is shown below.
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