Success of Sorts

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by Danb4me, May 29, 2013.

  1. Danb4me

    Danb4me Newbie

    Applied for benefit for my mom in April of 2012. A friend applied for his parent at the same time.

    After months of both of us receiving periodic form letters from VA with no action, I wrote Florida Senator Bill Nelson asking for his assistance in March of this year.

    Within 30 days the VA approved the benefit, referencing Senator Nelson's inquiry, and deposited the first monthly check into her account on May 1st. (My friend and his parent still wait).

    They withheld the retroactive benefit of approximately $ 12,000 because my mom has dementia and it is taking the VA several additional months to go through the fiduciary appointment process.

    Unfortunately the May 1 check will be the only assistance my mom was to receive. She died on Saturday of a stroke. When I informed the VA, they indicated that she was not due the June 1st check which was to cover her ALF expenses billed and paid for in May. Turns out you lose the benefit as of the month of death, regardless of when death occurs or whether expenses have been paid.

    As to the retroactive benefit, had she not had dementia, that money would have been paid to her on May 1st along with the 1st monthly check and her death would have had no impact. BUT..... since payment was pending, her estate will not receive those funds, though I have been told that they will send me a form which will reimburse the family for some part of funeral expenses.

    More irony here than I can deal with. We have been worried sick for a year about how we would pay for her care and have shouldered some of her monthly expenses to make her limited funds stretch. VA approval came as a huge relief both from a financial perspective for my wife and I and a care perspective for my mom. 25 days later, it matters not at all.
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    This is heartbreaking news, and my sympathies to you and your family. I am so sorry that after having won the battle with the help of Senator Nelson, this is the outcome.

    You need to file a VA 21-601 which allows you to claim any expense you paid on her behalf while waiting on this award. Any deposit to the ALF, any shortages you paid each month including final arrangements. Anything you paid from the date of application can be claimed against the accrued amount app $12,000. You can only be compensated for those expenses you have proof and documentation that you or another family member paid from your personal monies and account, and in the event that amount exceeded the approximate $12K, you cannot be reimbursed beyond the amount she was owed on the back award.

    You can go to the website FAQ section and look under Legal & Medical. The last question there is on this topic along with a link to the VA form 21-601.

    Again, my condolences.
  3. msfubb

    msfubb Newbie

    I have a similar situation regarding benefits my mother was entitled to prior to her death. Mom's A&A benefit was effective August 1, 2010, however those benefits were withheld pending appointment of a Fidiciary until March 1, 2011 (the date monthly benefits started being sent).

    Mom passed away May 11, 2011. The VA didn't appoint me as the Fidiciary until approximately May 31, 2011.

    It appears to me that the retroactive payments were approved but being withheld, not pending. If my understanding is correct, how can the VA not pay the approved amount once a Fidiciary is appointed?

    It seems to me that both the other writer and I should be entitled to the withheld retroactive payments since they were approved.

    From your experience would you suggest filing an apeal? Is there any other option?

    Thank you.
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Unfortunately, you only have 1-year from the date of death to file the 21-601. If you did not do that, then you would not have any recourse in your situation.

    The 21-601 is only for reimbursement to the family member who paid expenses on behalf of the applicant. The VA does not pay an estate any funds that may have been due.


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