I have a success story to share....

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by wfrancis, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. wfrancis

    wfrancis Newbie

    First of all, I need to thank Debbie and this site because without all the help and information and forms I rec'd here this would be an almost impossible task.

    I am going to list everything I did to apply for the Aid and Attendance Allowance because today we received absolutely wonderful news! My Mom has been approved for the benefit and we will receive a confirming letter in one week.

    I am going to share our experience just in case I can make this whole arduous and complicated process just a tiny bit easier for even one person.

    Here is our situation briefly.

    My Mom is 83 years old and while not suffering from dementia, is housebound, incontinent and unable to care for herself anymore after being self-sufficient and active until just a couple of months ago when she became very ill and ended up in the hospital. In late July we moved her out of her apartment of 26 years and moved her in with my brother and sister-in-law. We have had to hire an home health-care service to come in three times a week to assist in her care as she can no long bathe herself and all of us work full-time.

    My Dad, who had Altzheimer's and passed away seven years ago was a WWII veteran (Navy Seabee). My Mom has almost no assets and is living on Social Security.

    I will list exactly what I did because I know I had many questions when I filed the application.

    This is our timeline: I think we are one of the lucky ones, but I really believe one of the tricks here is to be organized and make it easy for them to digest your information and have it as complete as possible.

    7/31/2008 - I mailed, by certfied mail, the completed package to the Department of Veterans Affairs in San Diego.
    8/8/2008 - We received a confirming letter that the package had been rec'd.
    9/8/2008 - I rec'd a phone call from a VA representative asking to confirm a couple of things. I referred the call to my brother and SIL who called the VA back today.
    9/9/2008 - We were told that my Mom is eligible for the benefit and wouild receive even more money than we thought because things like Depends, Boost meal supplements are allow considered legitimate deductions against her countable income. We are on Cloud nine because the cost of home care alone exceeded my Mom's meager Social Security income.

    I will post the final dollar amounts of her benefits next week when we receive the letter because I don't know exactly what they are.

    This is exactly how I filed her application.

    1. I included a cover letter with the application. (See Below as to what my cover letter said.)
    2. I put all the forms and documents in a small 3-ring notebook and included dividers for each section.
    3. I made copies of the entire application and supporting documentation for myself.

    Below is what I put in the cover letter. Included in this letter is a list of all the forms and documentation I included with the application (and the order I included them in.)

    The only questions they asked me were about her medical expenses and they actually added to my list of eligible expenses towars her countable income. (Depends and Booth energy drink.)

    As soon as I know what her benefit is going to be, I will post the information here.

    Good luck to everyone!
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Wow - You really have a wonderful story to share!! Thank you, thank you for taking the incredible amount of time to share step by step your application process. You will be a template for so many who will greatly benefit from your generosity. I applaud you for taking the time to pay it forward for someone else. If we all do our part, it's incredible the beacon of light we can be.

    Please do let us know when you get the final decision.
  3. wfrancis

    wfrancis Newbie

    On Monday we received our confirmation letter from the VA.

    My Mom is going to receive $998.00 per month. (Maximum Aid and Allowance benefit.)

    The effective date is the date the application was rec'd which was 8/4/2008. Her first payment start date is 9/1/2008 but they say it takes about 15 days to receive payment.

    The letter is quite long and detailed. After medical expenses which included, inhome care, Depends, Boost drinks, copays from Kaiser and Social Security my Mom's countable income came to $0.00. (She is on Social Security with a very, very small pension of $900 per year)

    So basically this is about the best you can do.

    The 'evidence' they used to approve this claim were:
    VA Form 21-534 - Dependancy and Indemnity Compenstion application from for surviving spouses
    Va Form 21-2680 - Aid and Attendance from attending physician
    Marriage Certificate
    Death Certificate

    The reason for the decision was based on the Physician statement Form completed by the attending physican at Kaiser Permante stating several medical reasons (diabetes, kidney disease, peripheral venous insufficiency and liver failure.) The form also showed that my Mom requires use of walker, needs assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, personal hygience care, incontenence and transportation.

    The total time frame from the time I mailed the form (August 1, 2008) until the time we rec'd this confirmation letter (September 15,2008) was less then two months. The benefits are effective from the date the rec'd the application which was 8/4/2008.

    We mailed our application to the San Diego, CA VA office.

    If anyone has questions I'd be glad to answer them.

    Once again I think the key is submit a clean, complete application with all the supporting documentation. Use the VA Physicians Form 21-2680.

    Good luck.
  4. msvb19

    msvb19 Newbie

    congrats. i have sent forms using the help from the previous success story. they have received the forms. i will keep you updated.thank you for the great information.
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for letting us know. Hopefully things will go smoothly and you will be able to report back with your own success story soon!

    Good Luck
  6. Gerri

    Gerri Newbie

    hi, this is gerri - i noticed you sent your application package to the office in san diego, ca. i presume this is the closest office for you or your relative. i sent mine to los angles office in june 2008. since joining this forum, i saw a post indicating there are new "pension centers" set up for accepting applications from various states. would you recommend i re-apply (when my mom's assets are reduced) to the los angeles office; or, maybe, send the entire application, with cover letters, to the "pension center" office in pennsylvania?
  7. Fit2009

    Fit2009 Sr. Member

    los Angelos will send the package to the san diego center and they will send you a letter saying they have it and their address will be on that letter - resending it will probably cause confusion.
  8. PinkPunch

    PinkPunch Newbie

    Francis - THANK YOU for this wonderful information. I hadn't thought of putting it in a 3 ring binder, what a great idea. I am ready to file this for my MIL next week.
  9. marykay539

    marykay539 Newbie

    Thats really great i applied for my husband in march. he is a vet and asking for the A&A he gets a small pension from VA and doctors with just va doctors. Have got two letters telling us they are behind but will get to our case shortly. Charles has parkensons and tryed to end his life in Feb this year. Now needs even more care than when we filed. His doctors though all say he needs 24 hour care to make sure he does not try this again. He is 61, Never thought at 55 I would be where I am today taking care of my spouce full time. 24/7 we spend aslmost his whole pension check of 981 to have someone come in weekly to help with things I just can not do. I am disabled with arthritis so thats a lot. Our children are not much help. They all have jobs and kids to take care of no time for us.

    I took are apps to our local VA lady and she filed them with VA for us and kept copies so they cannot say they lost anything.
    I do this with anything VA needs that way she keeps A copy on file for us.

    Well Glad you got approved!

    Mary kay
  10. cdreaper

    cdreaper Newbie

    We are just looking into this possible benefit for my mother-in-law. We have waited for three days for the local VA office to return a call--you only get an answering machine when you call the number given us by our Regional Office who said we had to talk to our local office.

    This web site and all you guys sharing your experiences have us ready to start working on her claim today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member


    Welcome and you will find here all the information and support you need. Don't wait for that return call.

    Good Luck!
  12. robzebr

    robzebr Newbie

    The idea to put it in a binder is BRILLIANT!

    Tomorrow I'm going to Staples to get a binder and the plastic sheet protectors.. I'll get the type of binder that has clear plastic front and back... so from however the binder is laying they will be able to see my dad's name, file number, and the type of claim... or better yet .. that on the front and on the back behind plastic... my Dad's army portrait! It humanizes things and let's people know that there are real people with real needs behind the paperwork...

    Dad's Name
    VA File Number
    Application for Non Service Connected Pension for Aid and Attendance persuant to Title 38 Section 3.352 (a).

    Thank you so much for that!
  13. bonniemc

    bonniemc Newbie

    Thank you, WFrancis, so much! I followed your process step by step and was able to get benefits for my mom-in-law in 7 months.

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