After 6 months and just a few frustrations, my 83-year-old mom was granted the full A&A amount of $1056/mo. Thanks to all of you who answered our questions. What a great bunch you are! I started by following the excellent advice of wfrancis, posted here: http://veteranaid.org/forums/index.php/topic,264.0.html Like her, I made a binder with all the supporting documents including medical records, clearly organized, and wrote a detailed cover letter. My mom's doctor gave the basic 2 page statement. The only thing the VA asked us to add was verification of in-home care costs. After those costs, my mom's monthly income was effectively $0. She did have about $38,000 in savings, which was rapidly declining, and she owns her own home. We also had some delays with the VA not accepting the first "designation of claimant's representative" form. They asked for a new one to be filled out, plus a statement that I, as her rep, was not being financially compensated. I know people here have found that particular form frustrating, but given all the sharks out there trying to charge for applications, I can understand the need. I did find it annoying that they would not talk to me on the phone w/o her being present -- seems like that it is the whole point of being designated a "representative." Generally, though, I found most of the VA staff quite helpful and pleasant. I also found the letters I got from them were more or less accurate and mostly understandable (except for the VCAA notice). There was one financial detail that they listed wrong during the process; my mom and merely called up and asked them to correct it, and they did so. Their final decision, in which they described her disabilities, was also quite accurate. All of this was done thru the Minnesota pension center. Good luck to everyone else who is working on this. And thank you to the civil servants who are toiling away at the VA. I know there are a lot of good people working there, who are probably as frustrated as we are dealing with the paperwork.