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Author Topic: Hallelujah! Award Letter Received and Money Deposited!!  (Read 26808 times)
Caroliso
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« on: July 01, 2011, 08:58:05 PM »

I've been checking my Dad's checking account for the last few days in the hope that his award would be approved and sure enough today a sizeable amount, representing retroactive AND current month award appeared in his account!  When I got home, the award letter was waiting from the VA.  What a glorious feeling, this will help me continue to pay for caregivers so that my Dad can stay in our home.

As promised, I will post the timeline here, and follow up with a copy of the cover letter I sent with my application.

March 3, 2011 -- mailed "Intent to File" form to Phila. office of VA, certified return receipt

March 7, 2011 -- letter received by VA, per my signed return receipt

March 10, 2011 - submitted request online for Dad's discharge records through VetRecs

March 17, 2011 -- faxed signature verification sheet to NPRC with a request to expedite search due to dad's advanced age and intention to seek VA financial support

March 21, 2011 -- received form letter from VA, they have received my letter and are reviewing, will let me know if additional info is needed (which it clearly was as there was no application filed yet!)

March 31, 2011 -- received letter from NPRC stating my dad's records not in files, likely lost in 1973 fire, but info as to dates of service and honorable discharge was available from alternate documentation.  They enclosed two copies of Certification of Military Service with raised seal. 

May 16, 2011 -- mailed completed application to Philadelphia VA office, certified return receipt (more on this in next post)

June 3, 2011 -- application received in Phila. VA office (note to self.. next time use Fedex or other overnight delivery service...)

June 10, 2011 -- VA rep left message on phone... app received, had some questions

June 13, 2011 -- returned call to VA.  They need a letter from Dad's caregiver confirming weekly amount she has been receiving from us beginning what date.  (Note: I'd included an accounting of this in the app but because the money was paid to her directly and not to her agency -- we only pay them the administrative component -- they needed the documentation from her showing she received.)  Also explained that they are required by law to give Dad 60 days notice of intent to make an incompetency ruling (Dad has dementia).  We could waive that right via letter signed by him and witnessed by two people. 

June 14, 2011 -- scanned and emailed caregiver letter and waiver letter.  VA rep said she would send right to medical board for review.  Likely would miss the cutoff for June but should hear in one or two weeks for July 1 date.

June 28, 2011 -- I started checking my Dad's bank account for activity and sure enough....

July 1, 2011 --  amount representing award retro to April 1 appeared in Dad's bank account ... award letter arrived in mail!!

I hope this is helpful and encouraging... I was all prepared to grit my teeth and tough it out for 90 days, but decision came on Day 47!!!

I also was prepared for a lengthy fiduciary review process to name me as fiduciary but I guess they waived that due to my dad's advanced age, don't know how else to explain it but that is one gift horse I am NOT looking in the mouth.
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Caroliso
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« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2011, 09:24:22 PM »

Okay, here's the cover letter.  I included the letter and application and backup documents in one of those report covers with the clasp on the left edge of the paper.  I bought some numbered tabs and put a tab on each document corresponding with the number in the cover letter....

   Via Certified USPS Mail, Return Receipt

May 16, 2011


Philadelphia Pension Maintenance Center
Veterans Administration
5000 Wissahickon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19191

RE: Filing of VA Form 21-526 for [Dad's Name], VA File No. [XX-XXX-XX]

To Whom It May Concern,

Enclosed is an application for Compensation and/or Pension Benefits  - VA Form 21-526 that is being filed by [Dad's name],  a U.S. Army Veteran who served in WW II.
 
I am assisting my father in the filing of this application. My father is 94 years old and living on a limited income of social security and [deleted text] pension benefits. He has assets of less than [deleted text]. He is housebound and can no longer walk, or bathe or feed himself, and is diagnosed with [deleted text]. As of February 28, 2011 my father has had 24/7 in-home care, some of which is provided by paid caregivers.
The following forms and supporting paperwork are included with this application to support the request for the VA Benefit which includes the Aid and Attendance allowance.

Included are the following:
1.   VA Form 21-526 – Application for Compensation and/or Pension
2.   VA Form 21-4138 – Statement in Support of a Claim
3.   Letter from VA Dated 5/6/11 Showing Receipt of Intent to File as of March 9, 2011
4.   Military Records for [Dad's Name]
5.   Income Statement for [Dad's Name]   (SSA statement)
6.   VA Form 21-2680  - Physician Statement for [Dad's Name]
7.   VA Form 21-22a – Signed by [Dad's Name] appointing me ([my name], daughter) as his representative under Section 14.630
8.   VA Form 21-4142 – Authorization to Release Information to the VA
9.   Bank statements documenting payments to caregivers and pensions from the states of [deleted text]

Due to my Dad’s advanced age (94) and his rapid decline in health we request that you expedite this application to the greatest degree possible.

Thank you for your consideration of his application and if you have any questions or need more information please contact me on my cell phone at (XXX) XXX-XXXX.

Sincerely,



[my name]
Daughter of [Dad's Name]
VA File No. [XX-XXX-XX]
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vetadmin
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« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2011, 11:14:46 PM »

Awesome job of spelling it all out!  Thanks for taking the time to share with the hope it can be a template for others!

Great job!
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maralina1
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2011, 09:37:58 AM »

Almost identical application,different outcome.

4/18--mailed form 21-4138 ( informal claim)
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vetadmin
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2011, 09:40:16 AM »

If you have only sent the "informal" claim, you are not going to get through the process until you submit the completed application.
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VSR
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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2011, 09:48:45 PM »

Also, keep in mind that some peoples' definition of "completed application" is very different from another.  Many people will leave blanks in the income/net worth portions or if they don't know the complete marital history, just leave something blank.  While I would say that Caroliso's experience is more common than not, it may seem like comparing apples to apples when its more like apples to oranges.... or in the case of comparing a veteran's application with a widows, apples to tires...
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Caroliso
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2011, 07:51:39 AM »

I have another question on what to do once the approval is granted.  Among the paperwork with the award letter was a form that says we might be eligible for expenses back to March of 2010, and included a form on which to record these.  A medical certification form was enclosed which has to be filled out by his physician.

The quandry is that my dad's health status was slowly declining over that period of time, but not until the month or two before I submitted the claim was he at the level for which he was approved.  I didn't start bringing in caregiving help until January 2011, so the only expenses before then would be health plan and Medicare, and I sent in the intent to file on March 7.  I'm not sure whether I should submit everything back to March 2010, including the doc's med cert form, and let the VA decide what fits, or to only submit the unreimbursed medical expenses for the few months before I sent the application in, when his need for caregivers was most like his need now.

Thoughts?
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VSR
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2011, 08:48:03 PM »

You should submit the forms VA enclosed with the award letter for the time frame they cited.  The medical expenses are annualized and VA can only either grant or deny for that entire period. In either case, applying for this period will not affect your cuurrent award in any way.
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hugapug
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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2011, 10:50:22 AM »

Congratulations to you!  I wish my mother's story were as positive.  I am getting concerned and not sure what action to take.  My mother is a widow of a veteran who applied for Survivor's benefits in October of 2010.  She received notices that her claim had been received and has been sent updates that her claim is still being evaluated and in February 2011, she received a "Statement In Support of Claim" form to fill out with information asking her if this is all the evidence she had to go ahead and make a decision.  Well that was sent back in March of 2011 before the deadline they gave.  Since then we have gotten 2 more computer generated notices that her claim is still being evaluated.  It is going on 9 months now since her claim was received, and she is getting very concerned.  She is 78 years old and not in good health.  Do you have any suggestions on how to expedite this?  Your father actually was awarded in the time span that is average for the VA to decide.   Thanks for any advice.
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vetadmin
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« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2011, 11:52:35 AM »

Our suggestion is to contact her Senator and have them make an inquiry to the VA on her behalf.  At 9 months, this action would be appropriate.
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Caroliso
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« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2011, 04:20:34 PM »

Thanks, and good luck to you, hugapug.  I would suggest you follow the advice of Debbie and the other experts on this board, that is just what I did.  I hope you hear something good soon.
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VSR
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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2011, 07:30:48 PM »

Our suggestion is to contact her Senator and have them make an inquiry to the VA on her behalf.  At 9 months, this action would be appropriate.

Contacting your Senator does not change the way in which your application is handled.
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Grammy824
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2011, 04:58:52 PM »

Consider yourself VERY BLESSED!  Mother's paperwork was filed on May 28, 2010.  I hired an elder attorney (waste of money) to complete the application.  To date, we have received NO compensation, although Mother (now 96 years old) was approved in March of this year.  We are waiting for an appointment regarding fudiciary issues.  Mother is blind, deaf, can't walk and has severe dementia, so I can't wait for the VA to meet with her to discuss whether she is competent.  What a joke!  I'm thinking they figure since Mother is so old, she will pass away very soon, so if they wait long enough, they won't have to compensate her.
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vetadmin
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2011, 06:06:23 PM »

Grammy,

Are you saying that they have not started the pension even though she was approved this past March?
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VSR
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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2011, 07:48:25 PM »

Which office was the claim filed with?
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