I've posted my story ( my mom's story ) here before. I just read some of the more recent posts and am amazed at how soon some of the applications have been processed and approved.
After nearly 2 yrs, my mom has gotten her payments. She was initially approved to receive the benefits, but denied payment because her assets were too great.
But, we were not told, and could never find out at what level of savings / assets she would be approved to received payment.
We appealed the initial decision in the spring of 2008. My sister provided up dated financial information twice.
Then we waited and waited. We were given some extra help/ suggestions from here. That didn't help.
I wanted my sister to write to my mom's senator last November. But as we were both involved in the presidential campaign, that didn't get done.
I continued to check with the American Legion every couple of months. To have them check on the status of the application / the appeal.
I was told twice "it could be 3 or 4 yrs". The VA in Indianapolis was seemingly inundated with claims. I guess ?? Who knows?
But , yes...the 3 or 4 yr wait was the information I got the last 2 times I called the American Legion.
So, in late May/early June I got on the phone and called the VA. I waited , and waited, and waited. Probably 20 minutes to in touch with a "live" person.
After begging, and yelling, and probably cussing a little, I found out ---- just before being "disconnected" --- that her application had some thing done with it that day.
It was "on some one's desk"... I was about to be transferred to that person's voicemail when the phone call was disconnected.
Since my sister and brother-in-law were on their way to Indiana in the next week, I called one of our Senator's office. I used the name of my brother-in-law, and told them I wanted help. I wasn't really asking for help.... I was pretty much demanding help.
After a few more hassles..... the office was able to help. Consent form to let the Senator's office help. Hassles with my sister being mom's PAO with the Senate office.
etc, etc, etc. My sister and brother-in-law wrote a letter to the Senator.
Mom had to drop her appeal. The would not go back to the original date of the application to start payments.
If she / we agreed to drop the appeal , the VA would approve the payments.
She got a letter from the Senator's office in June and a letter from the VA a few days latter. They approved 7 months of back pay, and the ongoing payments started in July.
We (my sister, mother, and I ) had met with the financial assistance person where my mom lives in assisted living while the faxing back and forth was happening. We were getting information on how and when to apply for Medicaid. If the VA aid had not come through, mom would be on Medicaid this fall.
But that didn't have to happen.
With her VA benefit and her SS each month she has enough to private pay her assisted living expenses. She has enough in savings to add to that to extend her current living conditions for over 2 & 1/2 more yrs.
We were grateful for the assistance from Senator's staff. My sister wrote a letter of thanks, and my mother send a card thanking him.
If I had not pushed and pushed, and my sister had not had a little bit of a connection to the Senator, I doubt that the benefit would have been started before she were on Medicaid.
....Moral to the story......Fight for what is owed to your parent(s) !!! Call the VA......if they won't help, start calling your congressmen/women /--Representatives and Senators.
Their offices may at first say they can't get involved in an appeal, etc.... but don't take that as an answer. They can find out where an application is and ask that it's review be expedited. Let them know how old the parent is, and their his or her health condition. They can help.
I have no doubt that the Indianapolis VA offices are up their ears in applications for benefits. The Iraq war has hit the state hard. But that is no excuse for not being able to have a contact person within the VA to call to keep you updated, or to expedite the claim for an 87 yr old.