My Mothers Story

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by jabney8, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    My story began in 2007 when several of my younger siblings decided that they needed my mother’s resources more than she did. During a 30 time frame when we were all supposed to be working to get home assistance and care for our mother they managed to empty her bank account, steal her car, dispose of much of her personal belongs, divert her pension and social security checks and make arrangements to have her committed to a “facility” out of state. My daughter planned a visit to her home during Spring Break and happened to show up on the day before she was being removed from the state and contacted me in a state of hysteria. The short version is that my older brother and I managed to thwart the plan, got her an attorney and had her restored to her home but most of her savings has never been recovered. She continued to live in her home for the next three years with daily assistance until she began to forget it was her home and we made arrangements to move her to a wonderful place in the Tucson area designed specifically for folks like mom. After about two weeks she settled in and has been very happy and remains active and involved to the extent she can. The community is designed with memory care involved and she can move about freely 24/7 which I’ve come to know is a big deal with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Her doctors visit her on site, she has a beauty parlor on site and if she wants her coffee at 2 in the morning – not a problem.
    In any case, her earlier financial loss hurt her and my older brother and I kick in every month just to keep her bank account even. When she was first moved I was told about A & A and worked it for about 6 months ---- getting nowhere. Her costs are increasing steadily and my brother and I are almost at our limit but I remain steadfast in keeping her where she is because she has been so content and so well cared for I am scared to shake up her routine yet again.
    I did not realize the gifts my parents gave me until I was grown but as a child I never remember being afraid or worried and while I’m sure they had their challenges with six children – they made sure I remained a child for as long as possible free from the financial concerns of the times. It truly was a gift as I look around at some families today and all I want is to give back a little of what was given to us. She kept us safe, well fed and clothed and she is my mom.
    My father passed away 30 years ago. Mom never remarried and inherited his pension and medical coverage. He was in the Navy, having been discharged in 1950 but re-enlisted in the reserves and joined the Coast Guard in 1952. I spend most of my time worrying now that she will no longer be able to afford her new home and thought it might be time to try the A & A again. After the attempt to steal her assets the local judge determined that mom needed a guardian to protect her and asked me if I would consider it. I told him he better ask mom. Mom made it clear that it would be ok, but that I was in on a “pass” only and was not going to be “telling her what to do”. I agreed to her terms and we’ve lived by them ever since. She’s still in control as befits a mom.
    So, I am about to begin the journey again. I never got a bit of information from the VA and though I got an authorization form from our State Senator, I never heard back again. In our particular case a small amount of additional income would make all the difference. Her entire pension goes toward her care and her only remaining asset is her home so we don’t have an income issue. Any suggestions help or words of encouragement are welcome.
     
  2. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    When did you send in the form you received from your state senator? If it was a few months ago, you might want to call the VA to see if they've received it.

    This website has information on applying, including some form numbers forms: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/

    The VA website also has information, and you can download forms:

    http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/

    You can also contact a local Veterans Service Organization, such as the VFW or the Amvets. They may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you.
     
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I responded by phone to this member, and believe that things will have a much brighter outcome this go-round.
     
  4. Caroliso

    Caroliso Jr. Member

    Great. Jabney, please report back when you have some news!
     
  5. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    I completed the packet at the end of August, and received the return receipt back two weeks later. 30 days and counting but working on be patient.
     
  6. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    I just received a letter from the VA indicating that they received the packet but they had a huge number of applications to review and would get to mine as soon as possible. They also indicated that I should not contact them to check on the status unless absolutely necessary and even then it should be by mail.

    Does anyone know if this is a common response?
     
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    NO - this is not a standard answer and entirely inappropriate. You are entitled to call and check on the status of the application when it is appropriate. Depending on the circumstances of the applicant, you are entiteled to request expediting of the application, and you should ignore these instructions.
     
  8. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    I received a second letter last month indicating that they were still back logged. Yesterday I received a certificate "In Memory of" my father from the VA Administration. Since he passed away over 30 years ago and I didn't request a certificate I was was wondering if this has anything to do with the benefit application. They sent it to my mother, in memory of my father at my address. Since my mom only started using my address since her incapacity I thought this to be a little odd. I have to make new arrangements for her after the first of the year since her funds have been depleted. I just hate this because she is doing quite well but no matter how we cut back we just can't seem to make it work. I'm curious about the certificate though ...
     
  9. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    If a veteran never turned to the VA for medical services, the VA has no way of knowing a current address, so no, it is not uncommon for them to send the certificate. They sent one to me for my Dad as well.

    Hopefully this indicates that they are in the final review process on the claim, and you will be receiving a decision letter soon.

    If still nothing by the end of Jan, you need to involve her senator or congressperson.

    Did you let the VA know this delay was causing a financial hardship, and she will have to be moved due to the delay in award?
     
  10. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    I did let them know that the steady increase in her accomodations as well as the increase in her medical review was pricing us out of range. I knew it would be a long process but the closer I get to her increase date the more I worry. I will say this though, it does appear as if they have creatted a process that the actual Vet or Survivor has little to no hope of navigating through. If my mother were of sound mind and home bound due to a physical malady, I know that she still would not have been able to muddle through all of this with no computer skills even finding the right contact numbers would have been almost impossible. As for the certificate ... my first inclination was to send it back. My mother lived at the same address for 20 years after he passed and though I'm all but certain that he did not use VA Medical after leaving the service because he was covered as a Federal Employee, mom did contact the VA with his death certificate to receive the flag for his casket.

    In any case, cooler heads have prevailed. My husband calmed me down on the return of the certificate. I did have one thing that presents itself as somewhat questionable. When my dad joined the Merchant Marine I had his ID Card which I included in the packet for benefits but I didn't have discharge information so I sent off for that and I received a letter back from the Coast Guard indicating that "there is no active legislatin permitting the U.S. Coast Guard to issue discharge documents for merchant mariners who served during th Korean War or Vietname Era". So I won't actually have those documents. Any chance you've heard of that before?
     
  11. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I understand exactly how you feel, and I agree it is clear that the design is intended to out wait the veteran or widow.

    I have not heard of not being able to get discharge papers for Merchant Marines, but it is not surprising. The most important thing here is that the VA overruled a former rating and knows recognizes this service. That was not always the case.
     
  12. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    On January 12th I received a letter from the Pension Management Center stating that my claim has been assigned for processing. This seemed somewhat promising since it came from some place other than the "Service Center" where all other form letters had come from. Sadly, on January 17th I received the same letter I had received before from the "Service Center" stating the same apology for the same delay as the last three letters I have received. The most interesting thing is that both letters came from different locations and each have different versions of the "file number". Anyway - just an update.
     
  13. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You need to call her state senator or congressperson and have them make an inquiry on her application, and I suggest you do it right away.

    Keep us posted.
     
  14. Fit2009

    Fit2009 Sr. Member

    You need to file a different form fo rthe merchant marine discharge "conversion" it is form dd2168
     
  15. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    On January 31st I received a letter from the Social Security Administration that said "We have receceived a claim you recently filed with the Veterans Administration for Social Security benefits which they forwarded to us. The claim we received is a duplicate of an earlier claim. Since there are no new issues , and it is a duplicate claim, the decision we made on the earlier claim still applies."

    I contacted Social Security to find out what this meant since I have not made any claim to Social Security and I was not aware that A & A was connected to it in any way. Social Security couldn't even tell me what was sent only that it had no impact on my mothers current social security account. I am going to try and get someone at the VA to tell me what this is about but it sounds very odd to me.
     
  16. Fit2009

    Fit2009 Sr. Member

    You must have filled out page 9 of the 21-534 which is only for people who have not filed for social security benefits of the higher earning spouse when they passed away. Rest easy, there is nothing to do, no harm no foul.
     
  17. jabney8

    jabney8 Newbie

    Thanks! Hopefully that's it.
     
  18. Fit2009

    Fit2009 Sr. Member

    take a look at the page 9 - if you filed it, that definetly is it.
     

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