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? Thanks.