17 months and finally awarded benefits

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by dpbmtb, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. dpbmtb

    dpbmtb Newbie

    First of all I have to thank this website and forum for all the great advise and recommendations. I couldn't have done it without all the help. I did everything I read on this forum and on this website and we have finally been awarded the VA benefits. I initiated this effort November 2010 and my mother just got the back benefits direct deposited in her bank acct today! 14 months of back benefits and full benefits starting this month!
    But it wasn't easy: The Va lost my submittal twice. It was the assistance by Senetor Kaye Haggens office that made it happen for us. They followed up and got a status when I could not get thru to the VA. They tracked the repeated submittals for me to ensure they got them and made sure they processed the application.

    It was reading this forum that helped me to do all the right things:
    Never send anything to the VA that isn't certified mail.
    Contact your representative to help you.
    Document everything (it helps that I'm a federal grants reviewer with NCDOT)
    Submit your grant application in an easy to review format:
    I enclosed my application in a 3 ring binder with tabs for each document and a table of contents with a cover letter.
    From my experiance with federal and state grants, I knew to make the grant as easy to read and process as possible and this seems to have helped.
    Get all your documents and letters together and triple check that you have them in order before submitting.
    I made sure that I enclosed my Durable POA with each submittal so they could not reject any document I submitted with my signiture for my Mother. Since my mother is getting worse with her memory I tried to limit the times I presented paperwork for her to sign which was confusing to her so I just used my POA.
    Submit your inital claim request form to the VA certified mail as soon as you decide to begin this process so you can be eligiable for back benefits; thank you website for that advice!
    Most important, get your mom/dad's finances in order. It's tough but you gotta plan ahead and get their liquid assets out of the bank accts and into a trust. find a good trust attorney to get the trust set up and will updated to include the trust with a dependable trustee and reduce their assets to under $80k so you are financially eligible.
    Finally, I went to one of the groups that will do this for you but I decided to do this myself. It was a hell of a lot of work but I don't regret doing it myself. I was able to pick my trust attorney, financial advisor myself and not have to use the ones the services offer you. I also didn't have a lot of confidence in the group that was soliciting the service
    Don't give up and it will come together. I'm so glad I stayed after the VA with the help of my representative in DC and this forum.

    Raleigh/Durham, NC
  2. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    Glad you got the award after all that work!

    I'm surprised the VA honored your POA; usually they don't. They have their own form that has to be signed by the veteran or spouse and they usually won't talk to you unless you're listed on that form.
  3. vetwife

    vetwife Full Member

    Congratulations! :)
    Thanks for sharing all that you went through to get this for your mom.

    I was wondering the same thing as Marp.
    Everything always says VA does not honor the POA.
    It would much easier on many people if they did.
    It is difficult for family when your loved one cannot sign.
    Even having the two witness's to an X is not easy. You need to have 2 people just handy all the time.
    I have to help my husband hold the pen and he does the best he can. (stroke)
  4. dpbmtb

    dpbmtb Newbie

    I can't say for sure they accepted my POA, I just know that everything went through and I wasn't going to take any chance of a rejection. I also set up the application in my mothers 1st person instead of me as the applicant. I use her name as the applicant, her address, and had her sign the original and resubmitted applications. It wasn't until after all the lost applications and delays that I started to sign all of the coorespondances and adding the POA.
    I also included all of her bank acct info and bank draft info, canceled check and all so when it did go thru the funds would be deposited quicker.
    I guess it all worked, I'm definetly not going to question the VA's decision. It would take me 6 months just to get thru to them to ask:)
    Hope this helps.
  5. katy225

    katy225 Newbie

    If there was no mention of the claimant having some kind of dementia, then the VA probably could care less about the signature. As long as the doctor stated they could handle their own financial affairs, the VA probably assumed that it was signed by the parent (the actual applicant) and it would be hard to prove otherwise.

    Did you actually make reference to the fact that you signed it for your Mom or did you just stick the POA copy in for them to figure it out?
  6. newpenny

    newpenny Jr. Member

  7. dpbmtb

    dpbmtb Newbie

    I signed my name with 'POA for Mary Lou Bender' next to my signiture in addition to attaching the recorded POA document.

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