A&A benefits for Mom - Still no word after 1+ year

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CAVetdaughter, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. CAVetdaughter

    CAVetdaughter Newbie

    I am new to this forum and have diligently searched for an answer but have come up empty-handed. In December 2011, I filed for A&A benefits on behalf of my mother (surviving spouse), using our local VA Service Center. In late January 2012, the V.A. sent a letter acknowledging receipt of the application. In April 2012, I received a letter apologizing for the processing delay. I made numerous calls to the V.A. thereafter to check on the status. I only got through one time and the person I spoke with said there was some confusion and needed to do something (incomprehensible lingo) and that I would be notified. I started calling and emailing the V.A. again and then went to our state Senator and Congressman and still nothing - until today. Today, I received a call from the V.A. but in response to an email I sent in November 2012 (she said the system went down for about 1 month and they were backlogged once back online). The woman said they did not have on file Form 21-0845 (third-party authorization to disclose information) for her to provide me information about the claim I have been calling about for months. That would have been nice to know. My questions:

    1. I asked the V.A. about the need for a Fiduciary to be assigned as my mother has dementia, lives in a residential care facility , and requires full care. The woman at the V.A. stated I could make that request for a fiduciary but it could take 6 more months to a year for that to be concluded and only then would funds be disbursed. She suggested I file Form 21-4138 requesting appointment of a fiduciary and to state this is a hardship case to speed up the process. I am not certain if this is correct and if it is correct, I have no idea what to write on this form. It seems 21-4138 is to notify the V.A. of an error or submit additional/changed information. Can someone clarify?

    2. Do I need to file now or ever for appointment of a fiduciary? The woman from the V.A. said that if my mother does not have access to the funds, the money would just be deposited into my mother's bank account of which I am also on the account, to allow me to pay her expenses. For more than one year, I have been paying the difference of my mother's care that her Social Security and pension do not cover. I was hoping that once the benefit was awarded, I would be able to reimburse myself from the retroactive award as this is now thousands of dollars.

    3. Once the V.A. makes the benefit determination, do they automatically send a retroactive award (to the date of filing) or is this another process? Would I need to file something else?

    4. As it has been more than one year since I made application and there has been increases to my mother's social security and pension, albeit small increases, would it be beneficial to send the information now to the V.A. or wait to see if they request updated information?

    5. Any other tips on getting this resolved before another year passes?

  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You need to go back to your senator's office and have them make an inquiry again for starters.

    This is nonsense that they would call after all this time about a 21-0845 Approved 3rd Party. If you did not include one of those, then she/he should have given you a direct fax# to send it to, but would just get it signed and mailed off Return Receipt immediatley!

    You don't address the fiduciary issue until after the VA makes a ruling on the application. It's like putting the cart before the horse, so until the VA either approves or denies your Mom's applicaiton, you leave it alone. Your #1 priority is to get through the process and have the monthly pension begin. After that, you go back and deal with any other issues.

    The VA does not release accrued amounts until the fiduciary process is complete, and it can take from 6 months to a year for an interview to be held and monies released. So no the retro monies are not automatically released.

    Yes, once you get the ruling on the applicaiton, you can put in for a financial hardship, the fiduciary request and hope they speeed up the process.

    Given that her income amounts have changed ever so slightly, I would not notify the VA at this point given the status and length of time.

    You should have a note in place stating that you have "loaned" your Mom the money for the difference in her monthly care so you can reimburse yourself. If you are appointed as her fiduciary, you can only write up to $1,000 without getting approval from the Fiduciary Dept for the expenditure. I do highly recommend you cover yourself on this aspect in order to repay yourself.

    Good luck and let us know how things go for you.
  3. CAVetdaughter

    CAVetdaughter Newbie

    Thank you so much for the response. Great advice on documenting the "loan" to cover the difference in her monthly expenses.

    I am having my mother mark her "X" on the 3rd party notification form and having two witnesses to this and will fax the form to the V.A. The woman at the V.A. who I spoke with yesterday did provide me with the fax number so I can get this expedited, as much as possible.

    I have not yet heard anything from the Senator's office since my inquiry but it has only been a couple of weeks. The V.A. said I should call the V.A. again in 10 days after I fax the 3rd party notification form - as it takes that long to populate the system, according to the woman I spoke with yesterday - at which point they can release information about the status of the claim.

    When I asked about retroactive payments in post, I was referring to the monies owed back to date of filing, not the additional 12 months prior to filing the application that I read about elsewhere in this forum. I read many stories of the V.A. depositing, at the same time, the current month's payment, along with the monies due since date of filing, without fiduciary involvement, but that retroactive payment (the 12 months prior to filing) involved the fiduciary process as you described. Am I correct in this understanding?

    Thank you again.
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You're welcome!

    I understand about the monies owed back to the date of filing. That is what I am talking about. If the VA rules that your Mom is "incompetent", then all the back monies to date of applicaiton are held until you go through the Fiduciary process.

    If no Fiduciary process is necessary, then yes, the VA has been known to make the one large deposit.

    The 12 months prior potential eligibility are something totally different and does not apply to everyone.
  5. CAVetdaughter

    CAVetdaughter Newbie

    Thank you for your response.
  6. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Which office are you dealing with? Philly? St. Paul? Mil?
  7. CAVetdaughter

    CAVetdaughter Newbie

    St. Paul, MN.

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