Processing centers

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Jandy, Oct 28, 2015.

  1. Jandy

    Jandy Jr. Member

    Can anyone give me their thoughts on the differences between the 3 processing centers (St Paul, Milwaukee, Philly)? As you might guess, I am most interested in speed here. From reading here, it seems like a lot of the quickest decisions come out of Milwaukee(?).

    I just sent my dear father's application yesterday to St Paul. It handles the biggest area (including TX and CA!), so I'm worried what that might mean.

    I realize it's all anecdotal, but I'm interested in what others think on this.....
     
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Unfortunately you do not get to pick which center you send to. You have to use the one that handles the state of the applicant.

    There are only 3 Pension Maintenance Centers in the country that handle applications for the VA's Improved Pension. It is critical that you mail to the proper facility that processes claims for the state the applicant lives in. In addition, ALWAYS mail correspondence "Return Receipt" so that you have proof of delivery.

    See the following for a breakdown as to which centers handles which states:

    Milwaukee Pension Maintenance Center
    Veterans Administration
    5400 West National Avenue
    Milwaukee, WI 53214
    Processes claims for the following states:
    AL, AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MI, MO, MS, OH, TN, WI.

    St. Paul Pension Maintenance Center
    Veterans Administration
    1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling
    St. Paul, MN 55111-4050
    Processes claims for the following states:
    AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, IA, ID, KS, MN, NM, MT, ND, NE, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY.

    Philadelphia Pension Maintenance Center
    Veterans Administration
    5000 Wissahickon Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19144
    Processes claims for the following states:
    CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, PA, PR, RI, SC, VA, VT, WV.
     
  3. Jandy

    Jandy Jr. Member

    Oh, I didn't mean to mislead there--I know you have to send to the processing center that handles your state.....I was just wondering about the conventional wisdom regarding the centers--which center is fastest, slowest, etc.

    Either way, though, it's probably best not to think about stuff over which you have absolutely no control. You just have to go with it. After the "hands on" nature of the application process--weeks of reading these forums, researching, gathering all the forms, putting it all together--I think I'm having trouble giving up control.... :-\
     
  4. GAdaughter

    GAdaughter Newbie

    My mother's claim was sent to the Philadelphia Pension Center. She's 91 yrs old, a surviving spouse, lives in Florida, and is in an ALF since July 2015. Her fully developed claim (with 19 enclosures) was received at the PA center in early August 2015. In the cover letter we requested an expedited review due to her age. By a phone call to PA about Sept 1, I learned they had received her claim, and then several days later my mother received the signed return receipt from the US Post Office. In mid-October, I called the PA Center again to make sure an "expedited review" was begun and I was told her claim is marked for a decision to be made no later than April 2016. I was told that this time frame is within what would be expected for an expedited review. They said a decision might be made before April 2016, but it won't be later than that. Now my mother is receiving a monthly letter from PA stating that they are still working on her claim.

    As you might imagine, we're hoping for a decision before April!
     
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    The request for expedited can be honored and processed sooner than what you have been told. If the claim was a FDC, then there is no reason for it to take until April.

    At issue here is the number of veterans and widows who have reached this stage in life are no longer an exception, and the old standard of more senior vets getting processed faster is not held to the same standard.

    Please note that unfortunately the PA center is the one that seems to have more problems and delays.

    In the event that a "financial hardship" is being incurred by the applicant, you can state to the VA that the lack of this award is creating a "hardship". Some folks are facing eviction due to not having the pension to keep their bill current. In a situation like this, it would be correct to inform the VA.

    At the 6th month mark of the VA receiving her paperwork, I would ask her Senator to make an inquiry as to the status of her application, which is more than enough time for them to process.

    Those form letters by the way are an automatically generated letter, and you will more than likely see more than a few of them.
     
  6. GAdaughter

    GAdaughter Newbie

    Thank you for the advice. It was a FDC.

    Would it be appropriate to send in a 21-4138 (Statement in Support of Claim) along with a copy of her most recent Bank Statement (her only assets) be appropriate, OR would that slow the process down? She's down to about $20K but is having to use $1K of that every month to supplement her SS and small annuity income so she can cover the total AFL fee. Since the claim was sent to PA in July 2015, she's had $2K dental work done and has had other normal living expenses that also use up her cash/assets.

    I will definitely contact her senator if we get to the 6 month mark.

    Your comments and this forum have been VERY helpful! Thank you again.
     
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    GAdaughter,

    With 20K, she can't claim a "financial hardship", so you are just best to ride it out for now.
     
  8. GAdaughter

    GAdaughter Newbie

    Ok. I understand we're not in a financial hardship yet. Thanks and I'll let the forum know how the normal process plays out.
     
  9. GAdaughter

    GAdaughter Newbie

    The Philadelphia pension center took 8 months (8/5/15 - 4/1/16) for review and approval of my mother's A&A application. She received the award letter on April 5, 2016, after the VA had already deposited her April 1 payment and had also earlier (in mid-March) deposited the funds due going back to the receipt of her application. Since mother relies on a monthly paper statement from her bank (she doesn't check her bank statement online), she was not aware that the funds were in her account before she got the award letter on April 5. That's no problem at all, but other applicants waiting on a decision may want to periodically check their bank statement online for the earliest news of an award.

    Thanks to this website and forum for all the information! It was so good not to feel all alone in this process and to feel like I had the information I needed.

    I'd like to make a donation for the support of the website, that if you can give me an address for mailing a check.

    Thank again so much!!
     
  10. llwright

    llwright Newbie

    My mother is 91 and lives alone. She has $6,000 in the bank and lives on SS. Would VA consider this a hardship?
     
  11. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    llwright,

    Most likely. If she is making payments towards costs of care on a regular basis and it is continuing to deplete her income even more, the VA would consider that level a hardship.
     
  12. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    GAdaughter,

    Congratulations on making it to the end of this process.

    So happy to hear that your Mom has gotten all her back award and monthly pension is now in place for her.

    Thank you for sharing with everyone. For those still waiting, it helps to know there is a Finish Line in sight!
     

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