VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents

What Is VA Form 21-0538?

VA Form 21-0538, Mandatory Status of Dependents is a document issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The main purpose of this paper is to collect information necessary to determine veterans' eligibility for additional payments for their dependents (spouse and/or children).

The latest version of the form was released by the VA in April 2013. An up-to-date fillable version of the VA Form 21-0538 is available for download and digital filing below or can be found on the VA website.

Veterans that have dependents are entitled to a higher level of compensation than veterans without dependents. The VA needs to be updated about a reduction or increase in the number of dependents. That is the VA occasionally sends veterans a VA 21-0538 form for completion in order to obtain the most recent information. The VA Status of Dependents Questionnaire is sent to the service members who:

  • receive benefits due to service-connected disabilities;
  • receive additional compensation for their children and/or spouse.

The disabled veterans are responsible for reporting any changes to the number of their dependents. The Questionnaire will be sent if the VA has not received any reports of changes for a long time. The willful submission of any false statements or evidence, as well as fraudulent acceptance of the payments the veteran is not entitled to may lead to a fine and/or imprisonment.

VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents
VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents
VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents
VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents

Download VA Form 21-0538 Mandatory Status of Dependents

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VA Form 21-0538 Instructions

The 21-0538 VA Form instructions are as follows:

  • The received form should be completed and returned to the regional VA office within 60 days from the date of the letter. The inability to return the document within a deadline may result in payment delay;
  • The veterans have the right to submit additional information at any time;
  • The veterans have right for personal hearings necessary to clarify their statements;
  • The people qualified as the dependents are: veteran's spouse, children under the age of 18, children under the age of 23 who are attending school, permanently disabled children of any age;
  • No other forms or documents should accompany this questionnaire. However, if a question of proof arises, the veteran must provide all the papers requested;
  • The completed document should be hand signed.

How to Fill out VA Form 21-0538?

The questionnaire is easy to complete. It usually takes about 10 minutes to review the instructions, to find the requested data, and to fill out the paper. The Status of Dependents Questionnaire includes eight items:

  1. Item 1 is for your first, middle, and last name;
  2. Items 2 - 3E are for marriage information. If you are not married, Items 3A through 3E should be left blank;
  3. The information about your dependent children (full name, date, place of birth, and the SSN) should be indicated in items 4A - 4D. If the child is not in your custody, the name and address of a person having custody must be provided in Item 4E;
  4. If you have more than four children, you can list the others in Item 6;
  5. If you have no eligible children, it is required to put "None" in Item 4A;
  6. Items 5A through 5C should contain data about the terminated dependents. The full name of the terminated dependent, reason for termination, and the date they were terminated from you should be provided in the corresponding fields of the table;
  7. Any additional information can be indicated in Item 6;
  8. Items 7A - 7C are for your contact phone numbers;
  9. Signature and date should be provided in Items 8A and 8B correspondingly.

Where to Mail VA Form 21-0538?

Place the completed questionnaire in an enclosed envelope so that the return address indicated on the form is visible through the envelope window. Mail the document to the regional Veterans Service Center.

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