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When you become a veteran, you gain access to many benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that are not only for yourself but for your family too. One of those is educational benefits for your children. To get those benefits, you’ll need to fill out VA Form 21-674. In this article, we’re going to cover what exactly VA Form 21-674 is, how to fill it out, and what documentation you’ll need to get benefits.
What is VA Form 21-674 and its Purpose?
To start, it’s important to understand what exactly VA Form 21-674 is. Va Form 21-674 is also known as the “Request for Approval of School Attendance” form. So, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This document is used by the VA to collect information from individuals who are eligible for the education VA benefit and who want their dependent children’s school enrollment certified. It’s typically used in the context of the GI Bill and other Veterans Affairs education assistance programs.
What’s the Purpose?
The purpose of the form is to verify that a dependent child is enrolled and attending an educational institution. The veteran will typically fill out and submit the completed form to the VA along with documentation from the school that confirms the child is actually enrolled.
The VA will then use the information provided on the document to determine if the dependent children are eligible for educational benefits and to process the payments needed for assistance.
What are the Eligibility Criteria for VA Form 21-674
Veterans must ensure that the criteria are met for VA dependent benefits. Here are the criteria for educational assistance that must be met for eligible dependents.
Parent’s Military Service: The parent needs to be eligible for and receiving VA benefits.
Dependent Child: Being a dependent child means that they must be a biological child, stepchild, or adopted child of the qualifying veteran. A dependent spouse may also be eligible depending on the circumstances.
Age Limit: Typically, the age limit is between 18 and 26 years old. This can vary depending on the educational program.
Enrollment in a Qualifying Educational Institution: The dependent needs to already be enrolled in a qualifying institution such as a college, university, vocational school, or high school.
Full-Time or Part-Time Enrollment: Depending on the program and specific circumstances, the dependent child may need to be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student to be eligible for benefits.
Compliance with School Attendance Requirements: To maintain benefits, they must maintain school attendance and be making progress towards their educational goals.
Submission of Required Documentation: You’ll need to submit VA Form 21-674 to confirm eligibility along with supporting documents such as enrollment certification, transcripts, or other relevant records.
It’s important to note that eligibility requirements may vary depending on the specific VA educational benefit program and can change over time. You should always do your research, or consult with Benefits.com to ensure that your children will meet the criteria.
How to Fill Out VA Form 21-674 Correctly
Once you’ve gathered the documents needed, you’ll have to fill out the form. Here’s how:
Obtain the Form
The first thing you’ll need to do is get the VA Form 21-674. You can hop online and get it from the VA website, or by visiting your regional VA office.
Review the Instructions
Before you start filling it out, make sure you carefully review the instructions. They will guide you on how to complete every section accurately.
Provide Your Information
In Section I, you’ll provide your personal contact information. Make sure everything is accurate and up to date.
Provide Dependent Child’s Information
In Section II, you will need to provide information about your dependent child. This should include the child’s full name, date of birth, and Social Security Number.
Indicate the Educational Program
Next, you will indicate the educational program that you are seeking benefits for in Section III. Make sure you specify whether you are applying under the GI Bill or another VA education program.
School Attendance Information
In Section IV, provide details about the school the dependent child is attending. Include the school’s name, address, and the student’s enrollment status (full-time or part-time).
Sign and Date the Form
In Section V you will sign and date the form to certify the accuracy of the information you’ve provided.
Gather Supporting Documentation
You may also need to provide supporting documentation depending on the VA program. This can include proof of your service, proof of child’s dependency, and certification of school enrollment. The instructions on VA Form 21-674 should tell you which documents you’ll need.
Submit the Form
Lastly, you’ll need to submit the form. When submitted, make sure you include all supporting documents. The form should have the address for the VA office that you should drop it off at, or you can reference the VA’s website.
After you submit the form, it’s a good rule of thumb to keep your own records of the submission and follow up with the VA office. That way, you can ensure that the claim is processed correctly and quickly. If you have questions, you can contact the VA office.
Understanding the Documentation Required for VA Form 21-674
As previously mentioned, to get VA benefits for dependents, you’ll need the proper documentation. If you don’t have it, your claim could be denied. Here is an overview of the documentation that may be required.
Proof of Relationship: You will need to provide documentation that establishes your relationship with the eligible veteran. This may include a marriage certificate, birth certificate, or adoption papers, depending on your specific situation.
Social Security Number: You should include your Social Security Number as it is essential for processing your application.
School Information: You will need to provide information about the educational institution you plan to attend, including its name, address, and the program or course you intend to enroll in.
Cost of Education: You’ll need to provide information regarding the cost of the program such as tuition and other expenses. This will help the VA determine the amount of assistance your dependent is eligible for.
Bank Account Information: To receive payments, you will need to provide your bank account details, including the bank’s name, your account number, and the routing number.
Military Service Documentation: You may need to provide documents related to the veteran’s military service, such as a copy of the veteran’s DD-214 form, which shows their period of service and character of discharge. If the veteran is currently serving, you may need to provide their military status.
Death Certificate: If the veteran is deceased and you are applying as a surviving spouse or dependent, you will need to provide a copy of the veteran’s death certificate.
Marriage Certificate: If you are a spouse, you may be required to provide a marriage certificate to prove your legal relationship with the veteran.
School Attendance Certification: After you are enrolled in an educational program, the school’s certifying official may need to complete a school attendance report form to verify your enrollment and report it to the VA before receiving compensation.
Proof of Total and Permanent Disability: If you have total and permanent disability, you may qualify for further financial assistance, as well.
Other Documents: Depending on your specific circumstances and eligibility, you may need to provide additional documentation. It’s essential to carefully read the instructions provided with VA Form 21-674 and follow any specific guidance for your situation.
Common Issues and Challenges with VA Form 21-674
In this section, we’ll cover common issues and challenges that veterans may face when filing VA Form 21-674.
Navigating the landscape of VA Form 21-674 can be complex. There can be veteran eligibility, age restrictions, and disability ratings that come into play. For instance, can the VA take away 100 permanent and total disability? Do you have the right documentation?
A solution to this issue is to make sure you’re familiar with the criteria on the VA website, and don’t hesitate to contact the VA directly or other veteran services such as Benefits.com. You should also start the process as early as possible to give yourself enough time to gather everything you need.
Missing the deadline can result in a delay in receiving benefits, especially if you need to provide more documentation.
Make sure you are aware of submission deadlines and set yourself a personal one ahead of the real deadline. This will help you plan for unexpected delays.
Changes in Circumstances
Things change over time, it happens. That’s why it’s crucial to continue updating dependents with the VA as well as status and disability rating. This can cause overpayments or underpayments if things change.
To avoid any delays, make sure to update the VA on changes ASAP.
Contacting the VA and receiving timely responses can be difficult, particularly when questions or issues arise. It’s important to be patient, but persistent. Keep records of all communication.
Regularly checking the VA website during the process will ensure that you stay on top of eligibility criteria for a smooth application process.
Verify Your School’s Role
Along with VA Form 21-674, you should also ensure that the school is aware of the VA benefit application. This way, they can provide timely verification of enrollment and attendance.
If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal. Gather additional documentation and consider seeking assistance from a veteran’s service organization or legal experts if needed.
The bottom line is that VA Form 21-674 can help veterans and their children get much-needed academic assistance. We know that navigating your benefits can be confusing. If you have questions, please contact us at Benefits.com today!