Fiduciary Tips?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by nananorma, May 6, 2008.

  1. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    My mother received a letter that she was approved for A&A after only 10 days from mailing application and required documents. Now our roadblock is the POA and fiduciary appointment since her Dr. statement reads "moderate dementia". I have been her POA for years, sent that AND the VA's POA document asking that I be appointed her representative. They returned all my documents and included a 12-page attachment with a list of approved attorneys and said to chose one from the approved list. I sent back their POA with another letter requesting that I be appointed her representative. Any tips on how this process can be resolved in a timely manner? Her income is $900 and assisted living is $2500. I'm having to pay the balance from my savings .... as long as that lasts. I also sent them a copy of the 14.630 that "anyone" can be appointed.
     
  2. ericol

    ericol Newbie

    I don't have a solution for you. I'm in a similar situation. Waiting to be appointed a fiduciary. Been waiting 3 months and have heard nothing from VA. especially a list of lawyers to choose from!
     
  3. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    I'm also approaching 3 months. Hopefully, no news is good news?? Is that possible? Until I'm appointed representative, I understand that they won't even tell me anything by phone as to the status. It's just a waiting game...............
     
  4. SCD

    SCD Newbie

    AArgh......Same problem! A&A doc's went thru quickly, approved, now waiting for Fiduciary....NO response, sent in all the same docs, POA, 14.6, waiver of waiting period, etc....haven't even gotten the list. Call, they say you just have to wait, no details etc. Father has income of 1200/mo....his care is 2500/mo (this is with the 1,500 discount per mo)....He'll soon be out of assets (about 4,000 left). Any recourse?????
     
  5. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    They say misery loves company - so I guess we are all miserable together. A friend of mine got a letter yesterday for her mother with money amounts listed, date it will be mailed, date it will start going to her checking account, etc. She filed March 1st. The difference in our situations is that her mother's doctor didn't document dementia. She is qualified because of blindness and other physical problems. I think the dementia puts us in a whole different quandry. My mom's assets will probably last until December - hopefully we'll hear by then or we're out of option for her care. Would love to hear from anyone who has had success in this fiduciary process.
     
  6. madlou

    madlou Newbie

    I found this on another website. Hope it might be useful:

    "I respectfully question the withholding of my (parent's) benefits, pending the appointment of a fiduciary. Referencing a VA policy: Pursuant to VA Manual M21-1, Section 17.15: Procedure Upon Receipt of Evidence of Incompetency, your manual states: "Do not routine suspend direct payments to a beneficiary pending development of an issue of incompetency or certification of a fiduciary." The manual further states: "If entitlement to benefits has been established but no payment has been made or if increased benefits are payable, make a determination as to whether or not benefits should be paid directly pending certification. The determination should consider if delaying the payment of the benefits would cause undue hardship for the beneficiary. If the evidence of record shows that delaying payment would create a hardship, properly annotate the award, referencing the evidence reviewed and the justification for paying benefits directly to the beneficiary." I think if you reference my (parent's) claim, you will see that withholding his/her payment does constitute a hardship for him/her. I would like to request that he/she receive payments during the ficuciary appointment process.

    Whew, quite a mouthful. But maybe it will let the VA know that you know what's going on.
     
  7. SCD

    SCD Newbie

    I DID include that and the waiver.............still waiting :(
     
  8. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    After three months and three requests to be named representative, my mother got a letter yesterday saying they would need to appoint a fiduciary for her. The 90 days had expired and she hadn't disputed the incompetance ruling. I had requested on three different occasions to be named her representative and fiduciary. The letter stated that since they had no record of her requesting a representative, they would name one. I again sent in the form requesting to be named her fiduciary. How exasperating!!! We'll see what happens next.
     
  9. bw92116

    bw92116 Newbie

    We got a letter today, stating the amount of her entitlement and also that it is "withheld for competency." They stated "The issue of competency will be addressed by separate correspondence." After reading this forum it seemed like it would be another long delay before that was settled, so instead I just drove her down to the local VA office.

    The very nice benefits counselor there read the letter and talked with us briefly, then suggested that as her son, I be appointed the custodian and payee of her benefit. (I asked him did this mean the money would still be direct deposited into her account and he said yes.) So he prepared a "Statement in Support of Claim" form (Form 21-4138) and I signed it, and it basically said that I am her son and I request that the VA appoint me as the custodian and payee for her benefit. He said that someone would contact us within about a month or so, and interview me and her regarding it, and make a final decision on that.

    He asked if she is contesting the competency judgement and I said no, she is not contesting the competency judgement. (What does it matter anyway, as long as she still gets the money?) So hopefully they will call us and get this wrapped up. If I had tried to do this by mail, it may have taken a lot longer. I think if possible, you should always go in person to the VA and see a benefits counselor in person, to turn in any paperwork or just to ask questions.

    On another visit a couple of months back, I mentioned to someone that I had mailed her medical records to the office address specified, and the employee said something like, "it's better to bring in the paperwork in person to the office... if you mail them, they may sit in the mailroom downstairs for months before being delivered to the right room." So I believe some these long delays experienced by applicants are simply due to inadequate processing of mail in a timely manner.
     
  10. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    What state are you in? We are in Texas and our closest office is in Waco - about 100 miles away from us. With my mother's mental condition, just don't think a road trip is in her future! I have written to my congressman and asked for help in expediting her claim. Haven't heard anything from him, either!!
     
  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You might want to make a call rather than waiting for a letter to find its way to their desk. Think you might get someone on this much faster by doing so.
     
  12. bw92116

    bw92116 Newbie

    I'm lucky that we are in San Diego, CA and the VA office is about a 15 minute drive from where we live. I don't think it's necessary to bring the veteran to the office, they will understand if the veteran is disabled enough that travel is impractical. I just think that bringing papers in person may produce sooner results, if you are able to hand the papers to the right person. Maybe not all VA offices have slow mail systems, but one person in the VA building in San Diego made that comment, so I assume the flow of mail in the building is very slow. He advised me to bring everything to a counselor, rather than just mail it. But other offices, such as the one near you, may be faster at processing mail. Another person I know who went through this whole process before we started advised me that whenever you call or visit, or sometimes even mail them something, it triggers a response of some sort and seems to give the process a jump start. They do seem to be overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do compared to the staffing they have. This is true for almost any bureaucracy: any time you show up in person, it kind of forces them to deal with you for the moment, and give you some kind of answer or reassurance, instead of just ignoring your paperwork on a pile somewhere.
     
  13. Patty

    Patty Newbie

    Here are my fiduciary (AND OTHER) tips:

    1. ALWAYS send the papers to the VA return receipt requested - when they have to sign for it, they know someone is tracking it and it doesn't seem to get lost in the mail room.
    2. ALWAYS keep a copy of everything you send them with the certified receipt and returned signature card attached. Remember, mail fraud is a serious offense, I think that may be why those packages never seem to get lost.
    3. Fiduciary-Once you received the dreaded fiduciary letter -
    a. On the support of claim state that this delay may result in the applicant losing their residence
    b. If they request a lawyer, state the additional cost of a lawyer when (insert name) has been my faithful POA for X years is another financial burden that you can not afford.
    b. Request the fiduciary hearing be held at the assisted living as soon as possible, with the VA representative and your loved on and the assisted living director or other in charge person. You have nothing to hide - this is where the money is going.

    Good Luck,
    Patty
     
  14. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    Well, I met with the field representative from the VA today and he was a very, very nice and competent man. He said there would be no problem with my being appointed fiduciary; however, I had to fill out the official fiduciary request for him - since he had no record of my filing two months ago. Luckily, I had my copy and just copied information onto the form he provided. I had to take 7 additional pieces of information that he requested by phone when he set up our appointment (2 days ago!). He said to expect 4-6 weeks for the first check and retro pay to arrive. I guess my biggest shock was when he told me she was approved for $596/month. My mother's net income is less than $900/month and her assisted living expenses are around $2500/month + drugs (and she just reached her doughnut hole in drug coverage and last month's drug bill was almost $700). I was expecting the full amount. He said he was surprised that that was all it was. He asked if the $596 would help. I told him that $1 would help, but I was disappointed. He did tell me that in December of each year I will receive a form from the VA and can submit all unreimbursed medical expenses (even OTC drugs), mileage for taking her to the Dr., co-pays, etc. and will receive a check for some reimbursement. He didn't know the percentage. Every little bit helps at this point. I'm relieved that this portion is behind me and hopefully we'll get some relief soon.
     
  15. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Nananorma,

    Congrats on getting this far. This should be the last hoop for final approval.

    Here are our thoughts. Something is not right, but once the fiduciary issue is finished you should be able to get it straightened out with no problem. It is evident that the individual from the VA was not prepared for the meeting and probably did not have all of the information together. Of course not knowing what information was submitted to the VA regarding income and expenses, this could be correct based on the information submitted. With the information that you provided, it would appear that she should have qualified for the entire amount. Once your receive the award letter we might be able to tell what the problem is and how to correct it based on what it says.

    I would not recommend doing ANYTHING until you get an official award letter. Don't want to do anything to slow down the process of getting this through.

    Let us know!
     
  16. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    Thanks - those were my thoughts too. Let this gigantic step be processed and then deal with the amount. At least I'll be able to speak to someone now that I am legally representing her. Thank you for what you do for this forum. You've been so encouraging and helpful. I don't think I'd be as mentally prepared for things without the support I've received thus far!
     
  17. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You're quite welcome, and it is an honor to make a difference for someone else.
     
  18. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    Received the award letter today stating we should receive a check within 15 days - for the full amount of $998 a month, with a payment start date of April 1, 2008. The letter came to my address as "custodian" for my mother. This is the first I'd heard I'd been approved as her fiduciary as a result of my meeting with the field rep on August 4th. Now, just counting the days until we receive a check. I was pleasantly surprised that it said the full amount, since the field rep had told me she was approved for $596. Maybe somebody did actually take a look at it again after he requested it. Who will ever know?? Thanks so much for your encouragement, Vetadmin, during this long, difficult process. I think we are almost there!!
     
  19. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I love a happy ending. Thank you for sharing this update and with this last turn in the bend. Will look forward to hearing you have the check in hand!

    You are more than welcome, and I'm glad that we could assist you in getting through this. Your post will help others who are not quite as far along in this process.
     
  20. nananorma

    nananorma Jr. Member

    Received the retro check yesterday for $4990! We did it!!!
     

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