Evidence of incompetence

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sfrench, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. sfrench

    sfrench Newbie

    I've been through the General Discussion section and see that several people have asked how to handle dementia when filing an application for the Aid and Attendance benefit. But I'm still confused.

    I'm working on my father's application now. He is able to sign it himself.

    He is a WWII veteran, has Alzheimer's disease and is living in an assisted-living facility. His wife, my stepmother, handles their finances and has power of attorney.

    In submitting the application, should I include some form requesting that my stepmother be granted power of attorney (in the VA-specific sense of the term)? If so, what is the number of that form? Or should I simply include a cover letter with the application, explaining the situation and asking that my stepmother be allowed to act as the claimant's representative (or should I avoid that term?)?

    The doctor has made the Alzheimer's diagnosis clear in his report.

    Thank you,
    Sara
     
  2. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    My recommendation would be for you to complete the VA form 21-22a. This will allow you to work directly with the VA in the processing of your Father’s claim. There are different stages of Alzheimer and by bringing the issue to the VA’s attention could slow the processing or the application. I suggest the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach.

    You are not withholding anything from the VA because it is noted in the medical report.

    After the approval for the benefit, you or your stepmother can request to be made payee or fiduciary for him.

    Processing time takes too long as it is now, do not give them a reason to make it longer.
     
  3. sfrench

    sfrench Newbie

    Thanks very much for your response.

    I'd like to play it back to you, to make sure I've understood correctly.

    You suggest I include Form 21-22a with the application, thereby requesting that my stepmother be appointed as my father's representative. Are you saying that we need to be up-front about appointing a representative, rather than simply having my father sign the application and then having my stepmother handle subsequent correspondence from the VA?

    When you suggest a "don't ask, don't tell" approach, I understand you to be saying that -- for now -- I should not bring up the issue of needing a fiduciary, that this could delay the application unnecessarily.

    So, as I understand it, you're saying that having my stepmother be appointed as my father's representative would be an entirely separate matter from having her be appointed as his fiduciary once the application is approved. Is that correct?

    Then, if being a person's representative has nothing to do with handling the actual payments, I wonder whether I should suggest to my stepmother that I be appointed as my father's representative. I'm the one putting the application together and would be best able to answer any questions raised by the VA. However, neither she nor I would want me to have anything to do with the spending of any pension payments received.

    In addition, I live in another state and do not have direct access to their files, which are at my stepmother's house. If I became his representative, the application would be filed with the VA regional office nearest to me rather than the one nearest to them. Do you see this as a problem?

    Thank you again,
    Sara
     
  4. veteranadvocate

    veteranadvocate Full Member

    You suggest I include Form 21-22a with the application, thereby requesting that my stepmother be appointed as my father's representative. Are you saying that we need to be up-front about appointing a representative, rather than simply having my father sign the application and then having my stepmother handle subsequent correspondence from the VA?

    The recommendation for the 21-22a form is to permit either you or your step-mother to handle and follow-up with the paperwork involved with the processing of the application. This form will give you the right to take action on your Father’s behalf. Without the form, your Father will have to work directly with the VA. The VA will not address your inquiries without the form being on file.

    When you suggest a "don't ask, don't tell" approach, I understand you to be saying that -- for now -- I should not bring up the issue of needing a fiduciary, that this could delay the application unnecessarily.

    You stated that the medical records document the fact that your Father is suffering with Alzheimer. Some individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer may not need to have a fiduciary. To request the VA to appoint a fiduciary will slow down the processing of the application. If the records support the need for a fiduciary, the VA will initiate the process. Let them make the decision.

    So, as I understand it, you're saying that having my stepmother be appointed as my father's representative would be an entirely separate matter from having her be appointed as his fiduciary once the application is approved. Is that correct?

    You are correct. These are two separate issues.

    Then, if being a person's representative has nothing to do with handling the actual payments, I wonder whether I should suggest to my stepmother that I be appointed as my father's representative. I'm the one putting the application together and would be best able to answer any questions raised by the VA. However, neither she nor I would want me to have anything to do with the spending of any pension payments received.

    I would recommend your stepmother to jump at the offer of you serving as your Father’s representative, in the processing of his application. Dealing with the VA is no picnic. They love to send forms and letters. Most don’t need to be completed or responded to but if one is not responded to that need to be, can cause a lot of problems.

    Representing your Father gives neither the right to handle his money.


    In addition, I live in another state and do not have direct access to their files, which are at my stepmother's house. If I became his representative, the application would be filed with the VA regional office nearest to me rather than the one nearest to them. Do you see this as a problem?

    You can mail all of the correspondence to the VA Regional Office in the state where he lives. As his representative, you can have his correspondence sent to your home address.



    My recommendations are only made to help get the application processed in a timely manner. There is nothing recommended that is illegal or questionable.
     
  5. sfrench

    sfrench Newbie

    Thank you so much! :)
     

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