Allowance for Helpless Child Benefits (For Live Veteran)
What is a Helpless Child?
The term “Helpless Child” refers to a child who, before the age of 18, became permanently incapable of self-support.
Who is Eligible?
An additional allowance for a helpless child is payable to a veteran who is
Service-connected at 30% or more, or
Is in receipt of non-service connected pension, and
Who has a dependent helpless child who is 18 or older.
The additional benefit payable on a veteran’s award for a helpless child is the same amount payable for a dependent child under the age of 18.
A VA rating decision will determine the helpless child’s mental and/or physical status. However, a decision will not be made more than three months prior to the child’s 18th birthday, but can be made any time after his/her 18th birthday.
Note: If the child improves to the point that he/she is no longer helpless, or the helpless child marries, the helpless child status will be terminated.
What Conditions Establish a Child As Helpless for VA Purposes?
In order for a child to qualify as a helpless child for VA purposes, all of the following criteria must be met:
The child is 18 years of age or older, and
Medical evidence shows permanent incapacity for self-support existed prior to the child’s 18th birthday, and
The child is determined to permanently incapable of self-support by a Rating Decision, and
The child is unmarried
How Can You Apply?
To apply, the Veteran must submit the following:
VA Form 21-686c, Declaration of Status of Dependents, and
VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim, and
Evidence to show the child became incapable of self-support before the child’s 18th birthday, which includes:
A statement from a physician who knows of the child’s mental and/or physical condition showing the extent of disability, diagnosis, prognosis, and date of onset. The medical evidence should include the child’s ability to perform self-care functions and the ordinary tasks expected of a child of that age.
If the child has ever been in an institution for treatment, training or custodial care, a statement from the institution explaining the child’s condition at entrance and discharge. This statement should also show whether any improvement occurred or can be expected.
If the child ever attended school, a statement from a school official showing whether any progress occurred or can be expected. It should state the maximum grad attained.
If the child has ever been employed, send a statement showing the nature, dates and amount of earnings of such employment. If he/she has never been employed, please send a statement to that affect.
A statement detailing if the child has ever been married or not.
Medical evidence of the child’s present condition.
Note: The informal claim may be initiated via telephone. The PCR should send Veteran the following for his/her signature: 21-686c and 21-2142 for each doctor/hospital record that needs requesting by VA. Also send 21-4138 for use by doctors or individuals to make statements.
Please send your information to the Department of Veteran Affairs regional Office for your state. (See Resources).
References: for more information on a child, who is permanently incapable of self-support, see:
M21-1MR, Part III, iii.5.F.30-32
M21-1MR, Part III, iii.5.G.37-38
M21-1MR, Part III.iii.7
M21-1MR, Part IV
M21-1, Part IV, Chapter 15
38 CFR 3.5
38 CFR 3.52 through 3.54
38 CFR 3.57http://epss.vba.va.gov/vsr%5Fassistant/Helpless_Child/Helpless_Child_index.html