A huge thank you to Debbie for this site and all the resources she has here and to the other people who have shared their experiences and successes. That’s what enabled me to succeed too. As part of my thank you, I will make a donation to this site and I also thought I’d post about our experience in case it might help others. I read the horror stories here of how long and difficult it could be to get VA A&A benefits. This helped me set my expectations and be patient. But things turned out much better than I expected! I was applying for my mother-in-law, a veteran’s widow. Here’s what I did: 1) Read on this site to get knowledgeable about the process, to identify which forms I needed, to download forms. 2) Followed very closely the process laid out here, including a 3 ring binder, a cover letter, a listing of included documents, etc. Special thank you to WFrancis for this. It was a huge help! http://www.veteranaid.org/forums/index.php/topic,264.msg899.html#msg899 3) Followed this document very closely to figure out how to fill out the VA form. http://www.veteranaid.org/docs/Step_by_Step_Guide_Spouse.pdf 4) On 4/1/13, I sent the whole package to the VA, getting an online tracking number for it. 5) In the next four or five months, we received 2 or 3 notices from the VA that they had received our application and were still processing it. 6) Late Sept 2013, we received a request for “additional evidence” to verify the assisted living care provided and costs paid. 7) We sent that info on 10/10/13, again with online tracking. 8) On 10/30/13, we received a notice that she was eligible for benefits as of 4/1/13, would be entitled to accrued benefits from that date, was rated incompetent for VA purposes, and would need a fiduciary to manage her VA benefits (we expected all this to be the case). 9) On 10/30/13, we also received a notice of what her award amount would be, that her monthly award would be deposited to her account beginning 11/1/13 and that her accrued benefits would be held until a fiduciary was appointed. 10) It wasn’t clear what they wanted from us at this point. My husband called the VA and eventually got a real person on the line who was helpful. We ended up completing VA form 21-4138 and 21P-0792. We sent those forms on 11/26/13, again with online tracking. 11) Here’s the biggest surprise in the whole process. On 2/4/14 we received a notice saying they had decided she was competent to handle her own finances (which she isn’t and they had documentation showing that) and that the retroactive benefits had been released to her account (which they had been!). They initially said she was not competent but for some unknown reason they changed their minds. Mystifying and we’re pleased with this as we’re already handling her affairs and this is jut quicker and simpler than going through the VA fiduciary process. So, a very happy ending for us! From the time we sent our application in April to getting monthly benefits in November took 7 months. The retroactive benefits took an additional 3 months. Given what I’ve read, this is very quick. Again, my thanks to Debbie and other people who have contributed to this site. I’m sure I wouldn’t have had the same results on my own.