VA Mis-Information

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by vetadmin, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I must receive the following email 2-4 times a week. I am wondering what it will take for the VA to get the memo out on this pension so that VA employees will stop telling people they don't qualify unless they are already receiving VA compensation.

    I've been told that my father cannot apply/get the Aid & Assistant Pension unless he is already receiving VA pension/compensation. The A&A is piggybacked on but is not available on its own. Is this true? Because I do not see that information on the website. And I don't want to go through the huge application process, if he's not eligible.
    Thank you for your quick reply!!

    For those who don't know, this is totally incorrect and has nothing to do with "Improved Pension".
  2. jpez

    jpez Full Member

    Actually, the VA is correct.

    Aid & Attendance is not a pension.
    It is a rating.
    So you CANNOT apply for Aid & Attendance unless you are already approved for a PENSION.

    Here is how the program works:
    VA does 3 things: 1. HealthCare (think walter Reed Hospital) at 1/2 the total va budget.
    2. Compensation - SERVICE RELATED DISABILITY about 32% of total budget.
    3. Pension - NON-SERVICE RELATED DISABILITY about $billion of which only $6 billion was paid out in 2008.
    This website falls under PENSION.
    To qualify for PENSION you have to: serve 90 days, 1 day during a war, have better than a disahonorable discharge and then recieve a 100% disability rating from the VA. Being over ager 65 is an automatic 100% disability rating (REGARDLESS OF HOW HEALTHY YOU ARE).
    Now that you are 'approved' for Pension, you now have to submit proof that you need to be RATED 1. HOMEBOUND (cant drive) 2. AID & ATTENDANCE (Need Help). Think of it as being 150% and 175% disabled.
    Once the Doctor's report proves that you deserve the 'extra' rating, you are allowed to deduct CARE & Medical expenses that you pay each month from your gross income.

    Now all of this happens at one time with the same application so you don't have to wait for each step.
    But the process is acurate.

    1. proof of 100% non-service related disability
    2.proof you need extra care
    3. proof you spend your income on CARE.
    sorry to throw water on the origanial post, but it really is important that everyone understand how the program really works
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Let's add some additional clarification here for the every day layperson.

    What most don't know including the veteran is that for VA purposes. when a vet turns 65, the VA classifies them totally and permanetly disabled. That's the key point here. Even though you are running a couple of marathons a week, eat healthy and are taking care of yourself, you don't think of yourself as "disabled", but this classification is what essentially makes you eligible automatically for the Basic level of Improved Pension.

    This is key for those veterans who were not injured during their servce, are not receiving any type of service-related compensation. So the vet who has never turned to the VA whose family member is told "my father cannot apply/get the Aid & Assistant Pension unless he is already receiving VA pension/compensation" is more than just a little misleading and not forthcoming enough and not true.

    This woman like most would have walked out of the office or hung up the phone under the impression her dad was not eligible. I think that has happended to enough people as it is, and don't want to add to the confusion.
  4. jpez

    jpez Full Member

    yes, I agree completely.
    THe process is VERY misleading. I mean why would guy apply for a 'pension' when he only served 6-18 months! And who would think that you are automaticly 100% disabled just because you have a birthday!
    But I have heard families say that they were told they had too much income and were not asked to subtract CARE expenses. Several were already in Assited Living and were upside down at the start of the month.
    It would be one thing if the money was already tapped uot, but when Jim Nicholson states that $22 Billion went unspent uot of a $28billion budget just for Pension, you have to wonder about the mindset.
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    There are three issues that confuse and muddy the water.

    1. They don't explain being 65 classifies the vet as disabled making the eligible for the Basic level of this pension.
    2. VA deliberatly process applications for A&A for Service Connected instead of pension in order to delay or deny.
    3. They don't tell people what medical costs are deductible and how to arrive at "countable" income, which most times would qualify them financially.

    I was just in DC and met with a member of the Senate Committee of Veterans' Affairs on ways to streamline this particuliar application as this pension does not warrant the rigors of applying for compensation. This is either you do or you don't qualify, and veterans and their families being at the mercy of the VA and being forced to wait up to 2 years is unacceptable.
  6. pattyclarke

    pattyclarke Newbie

    And bless your heart Debbie for all that you do. I am still in the research phase prior to application for my 91 year-old mother-in-law, but my many years of business expertise keeps "yelling at me" —this process just doesn't make sense. Simple changes on the forms would make things be so much easier to understand. Basics like having a separate form, or an obvious box to check that the application is for A&A versus service connected issues. When you say "VA deliberately process applications for A&A for Service Connected instead of pension in order to delay or deny..." Why would this be? It seems to me that if the application process and forms were changed to be more specific that it would make the jobs of the VA people processing the paperwork so much easier and efficient. I have read in many of the threads about people contacting their congressman etc., that it baffles me that the system makes things so difficult. I guarantee that any politician that took a short amount of time to review the process would be horrified by the total chaos of the process. What do members of the Senate Committee for Veterans' Affairs have to say about this injustice?

  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Thank you.

    One of the things I am hoping to accomplish going to Washington is to get an application created that is strictly for this pension, so there will be less confusion on the VA's part as to what the application is for and to have one that is less cumbersome in the information being asked for.

    As far as making the VA's job easier, that is not the agenda. That system is set up by design to prolong the process with the hope the vet or spouse dies or gives up trying. If the VA wanted this to be easy it would be. You don't see the IRS having any problems with creating simple tax returns in order to get our money.

    The VA shreds and throws out applications and supporting documentation, and operate off of a productivity model and get bonuses for a job well done. It has nothing to do with what's in the veteran's best interest. Of that you can be certain.
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I will take exception to this comment as while I don't work for the VA, I am the daughter of a WWII veteran and have done more in the past 4 1/2 years to bring this Pension Benefit to light than the VA has in the 59 years it has been an entitlement. I am the same daughter that the VA told on 7 different occassions that my father was not entitled or eligible for any assistance. 7 different employees, 7 different times. Those NO's were worth over $160,000 to help pay for my parents care over a 9-year period while my family depleted all resources to offset the cost of thousands of dollars we were short each month for their care.

    So, no it's not ridiculous. Not everyone takes pride in their job.

    I reference this VA employee who happens to have been in the Tampa/Clearwater office where my mother's application sat on somebody's desk.
  9. romalynn

    romalynn Newbie

    Ok I am so sorry this is an old post, I have just again been reviewing to increase my knowledge on some issues.

    Boy Debbie, can you tell me what kind of sentence this witch and boyfriend wound up with?

    This kind of thing just makes me mad, same as when doctors deliberately rip off Medicare, then they make it tougher for the honest ones that is for sure.
  10. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    They both got federal time, and she had to pay back the money. I believe she was forced to sell the cars and some of the jewelery.
  11. romalynn

    romalynn Newbie

    Thanks a lot Debbie, and I am so glad to hear that they did have to do time, and not make some stupid deal. Makes you sick to your stomach when you hear stuff like this, and of course it happens in other agencies and government as well.

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