Tips for Getting Started

Discussion in 'Tips and Resources' started by care4vets, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. care4vets

    care4vets Newbie

    Here are a few tips that I'd like to pass on, things I wish I'd known when we got started with the process. Thank you to the administrator of this forum for your hard work and wonderful resources! I wish I'd known about you sooner!

    1) Your local VA/American Legion office may be willing to help, but be sure to do some research on your own, as well. We were still grieving when we made the application, so we didn’t have a clue about the pension. We assumed they were experts, but if we’d had more specific information given up front it would have made a difference in a speedy approval. Our local representative, though we are grateful for their help, left out some important documents we provided in our initial application, causing delay of several months. Double-check everything!
    2) Keep an expense log, starting now! Not only keep your receipts, but I would encourage keeping a separate log of different categories of recurring expenses: prescription co-pays, over-the-counter, etc., in addition to a log of one-time miscellaneous expenses. You need to state the following things: Purpose, Amount Paid, Date Paid, Name of Provider and For Whom. It is true that on the initial application, you will need to estimate various expenditures. Some expenses may not be approved right away, but if you keep good records, you can report your actual expenses as an update. I would start keeping an ongoing expense log, as it can take hours to tally things up if you wait too long.
    3) If there is a legitimate need for a caregiver, start paying for care asap. Read tips on this forum to get started.
    4) Be informed before you have your doctor fill out Form 21-2680. This form is of utmost importance to getting approval. In our case, my friend is legally blind by the standard medical criteria. We were originally told that being blind was a guarantee for A&A. However, the VA has a stricter definition of legal blindness, but we weren’t informed of this for many months. This doesn’t mean she won’t get A&A, but they want to make sure the applicant is truly in need of assistance from others in her daily living. The VA kept requesting information from her doctor, but would not spell out what they were asking for. In hindsight, what they needed to know was very simple: does she need assistance at home and if so, explain. The doctor knows she is in need and assumes they’ll take his word with a simple statement “she is homebound”, but the VA needs him to make a case on how the applicant needs assistance. He needs to be specific in his comments concerning meal preparation, what she requires assistance with at home and away from home, and also any other medical criteria that would help her rating. He needs to make it clear that she cannot safely live at home without the regular attendance of others. Meal preparation is an important factor in rating an applicant; if your applicant can only reheat what others have prepared, please have the doctor include this information and explain how the applicant prepares their own meals. Make sure the doctor clearly explains what specific kind of assistance is needed at home. I would highly recommend looking over the form, being familiar with the VA criteria for A&A, and writing down for the doctor what must be included to help your case. (Many resources are at the top of this forum).
    I hope this helps someone!

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