A&A success...we think.

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by gsd1038, Mar 13, 2010.

  1. gsd1038

    gsd1038 Newbie

    My brother and I applied for A&A for our mother & father in July 2009, both vets of WWII, 88 & 90 years old respectively. Finally, after monthly phone calls to the VA, basically receiving no information from them whatsoever about the status, our parents recv'd a letter telling them they were approved for A&A. However, because our mother has early stage dementia, a fiduciary must be appointed...so onward we go, else the VA will not give them the lump-sum owed to them from application date forward.

    Debbie...thank you SO much for your website and this Forum...because we would not have had a clue that this benefit even existed for them....it is truly a shame that our veterans are not treated with the ultimate respect they deserve.

    We'll keep you posted as the ficuciary process unfolds...
  2. PMC-Chris

    PMC-Chris Newbie

    Good luck with the fiduciary process... Your parents should be receiving their monthly benefits from now, with only the lump-sum retroactive benefits being withheld, correct?
  3. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    actually PMC-Chris, no. Our parents have received zilch. It looks like they will receive a monthly benefit deposit on or around April 1st, but that's not clear ... the VA benefit letter is not easy to decipher.

    on top of that ... I submitted a Medical Expense form to correct some of the original information provided on the application, along with the form to be appointed fiduciary (and release the back payments due). So I get a call from the VA in Philadelphia yesterday & they review and confirm that what I'd submitted would be ongoing payments for home health care. No problem there. Then the VA rep tells me that she isn't sure if my signature is enough, even though I have already submitted the proper paperwork to be my mother's representative (that was submitted back in July 2009 with the A&A application) ... and the VA will have to send the Medical Expense form to my mother in Florida (and I am in New York) for her signature. BUT ... the VA has determined that my mother can't handle her financial affairs and needs a fiduciary. So she can't handle her $$ but can be expected to sign a form about expenses/finances??

    so here we are, with more delays. Every time it seems that we are a step closer, the VA sets up another roadblock to slow down the process. And why? probably every one this forum knows the answer to that one.

    We are now involving our congressman and senator ... keeping them updated with the situation and asking for their assistance in speeding things up.
  4. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    First you are welcome for the site and forums and I am honored that it was helpful to you.

    Secondly, you really need to involve your Senator or Congressperson at this point. Ridiculous given their ages and length of time for this to be unresolved.

    Please continue to keep us posted.
  5. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    We have sent letters to our congressmen and senators (I am in NY, my sister in Georgia, so we're hitting several members that way!) describing exactly what's been going on, and just sent an update to all of them describing this last "encounter". My congressman (Tonko) has sent me a letter acknowledging receipt of my initial correspondence.

    We will keep pressing ... and keep you posted!!
  6. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I would suggest calling. Letters can get set aside and don't convey the same sense of urgency of you being on the phone can.

    Contact your local media and see if they might have an interest in the story. If you can get the ball rolling in any direction, it can make it easier to get people's attention.
  7. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    Local media (Albany NY) has been contacted.
    Phone calls with members of Congress and the Senate have been made ... this approach appears to be promising.
    Phone calls to the local VA (actually the NYS Div of Veterans Affairs) have gone unanswered (calls made to two specific individuals who are supposedly 'counselors').
  8. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Good for you! Most of the time this approach generates the desired outcome.

    Do keep us posted.
  9. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Going through a congressional office will get it done quickly. That being said, in many cases it is unfortunate that the law requires VA to respond to congressional inquiries in 5 days because it essentially bumps them to the front of the line, even if they haven't been in your situation. I have seen cases that were received in the morning and had their decision by lunch time because of a congressional status. That's great for the person who just got their decision, but for the other people out there who have been waiting patiently in line, it just pushed them back further.

    That being said, at this point you're actually quite close to the claim being completed. If you got a payment yesterday, then all you need is to have a field examiner come meet in person for the fiduciary assignment. These appointments are hard to rush, even with a congressional office involved because it involves scheduling a meeting in person when the field examiner probably has a schedule with other vets that (s)he can't cancel on. You're probably looking at about 6 weeks until the retroactive payment is released.
  10. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Given the ages of the vets here, I don't think they have time to wait in line. 70 or older is supposed to get priority processing. At their age, this should have been given proper attention.
  11. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    Ah, so we wait some more ... as the VA has to interview me (up in NY State) and then my mother, who lives in Florida. Or vice versa. But then ... the VA has determined that she is incompetent to handle her finances because of the doctor's diagnosis. So is the field examiner/interviewer a licensed psychiatrist/psychologist/doctor? Can the interviewer make a diagnosis, or even verify a diagnosis, without credentials?
    And sadly, it looks like the interview with the field examiner will be based upon their availability (per Max's post) ... which is not very encouraging, based upon the way the VA has handled this case so far.
  12. Max

    Max Hero Member

    The field examiner doesn't really examine the person so much as the situation. I.e. is the claimant in a facility in which their needs are being met? Does it seem like the fiduciary is responsible?

    Like I said in my previous post, this is one of the few spots where a call to your senator won't accomplish much. It is unfortunate, but it is a scheduling issue, especially if you live out of state.

    Also, keep in mind that based on your geographical location, they may determine that someone closer to the claimant might be better suited as the fiduciary (usually the administrator of the facility). That isn't the case 100% of the time if you can prove that your location wouldn't have an impact in responding to emergencies etc., but it is worth noting.

    Sorry I couldn't be more help on this one!
  13. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    Re: A&A success...we think. UPDATE

    We are still waiting for word from the VA regarding the Fiduciary "interview" ... and because of this delay there's a substantial sum of money being held back until the fidiciary has been appointed.

    I am also supposed to be receiving copies of all VA correspondence, and that fact is referenced in every piece of correspondence sent to our parents. However not a single document has been sent to me. I have submitted my third inquiry with the VA regarding this. So far no one has been able to give me an answer as to why this is happening ... the VA confirmed my address, etc. so it's a mystery!

    We did submit a revised Medical Expense form and the VA was fairly quick to respond and adjust the benefit based upon the new expenses. We have had to submit another form as expenses have risen due to our mother's failing health.

    So benefit wise, our parents are now receiving their monthly payment, so that's a positive!!
  14. Max

    Max Hero Member


    Private message me with the details. Lets see if we can't figure out what is going on here.
  15. gsd1038

    gsd1038 Newbie

    re: the fiduciary process: In late July/early August a VA field rep came to the nursing home where mom was, and asked her some questions. He then told me that he would fill out his paperwork, send it to the NY office, where another field rep would go interview my brother who will be the fiduciary. Well, as of today 9/10/2010, no one has contacted my brother...and our mother passed away on 9/1/2010. So, it's now been 14 months since we first applied, and 6 months since she received her first monthly benefits...and we STILL do not know what is happening with the fiduciary appointment. 8 months of payments to her estate are still owed, and we have no indication that it will ever be resolved. We have yet again contacted our Senator, who without, we are convinced we would never have received even the first payment. Once again, our perception is that the VA is waiting for the WWII vets, who they continue to call 'the greatest generation', to die off one by one without receiving their benefits. Mom was 2 months short of turning 89, and was a proud Marine in WWII.

    We also submitted an A&A application for our father, 90, but who knows if that will ever be processed before he passes on to the great beyond.

    The VA continues to frustrate us to no end.
  16. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    You need to file a 21-601 for accrused benefits. I am sending you a private email regarding some assistance with this.

    When did you submitt the application for your dad? His age entitles him to priority processing.

    I am so sorry for your loss and this difficult time for your family. This is a total "Failure to Honor".
  17. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    Our mother qualified for "priority processing", but apparently our definition of priority differs from that of the VA.

    It is my sincerest belief that it is unspoken VA policy to keep these elderly veterans in limbo as long as possible, in hopes that the veteran either gives up or passes on. Then the VA can wash their hands of everything.
  18. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    It's pretty self evident that the VA has a completely different definition of "take care" of the veteran.
  19. adkkev

    adkkev Newbie

    This is very confusing!! Is this the correct form? There are several forms, it appears, that are to be used at the time of death of a veteran.

    The instructions for from 21-601 state that form 21-534 should be completed by a surviving spouse for death benefits, including accrued benefits.

    And then there's form 21-535 as well.

    And of course there's absolutely nothing mentioned for Aid & Attendance, at least that specific benefit program.

    The VA couldn't make it more confusing for our father. But then again, I suspect that's their hope..
  20. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Please see this link from the home page of the site. http://www.veteranaid.org/docs/VBA-21-601-ARE.pdf This is the form to use in filing for accrued benefits that were NOT paid at the time of death for the veteran or surviving spouse that they were entitled to.
    This is the correct form and no the VA does not make anything easy.

    If you still have questions, I would suggest contacting Patty Servaes at ElderBenefitsConsulting.com to see if she can assist you or at least clarify things for you.

    I'm sorry this has to be so challenging during such a difficult time.

Share This Page