Approved!!!!!! Help from Senator

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by, May 12, 2010.

  1. Hello Everyone,
    On Feb. 03, 2010 I wrote this forum asking for help because my dad , my husband and I were all running out of money to keep him in his Assisted Living facility.
    The Administer of this group "Vetadmin" was nice enough to write back and mentioned since we were in such need to contact the Senator in my dad's area.

    I have to say I was very nervous to do this because I had no idea how to go about this but I said to myself you have to do this for your dad.
    I was with my dad, his lady friend, my Uncle and Aunt one evening at a function at the Assisted Living and asked my dad if he knew the Senator in his District and he did and gave me his name. I found out little about him from my dad and the others at the table. They all liked him very much so I went online found his web site and read his bio. I composed an email at the end of March 2010 and told him all about the Aid and Attendance Program, my dad's involvement in his committee and everything I could about our financial situation and if he could help in anyway. To my surprise I received an email from one of his staff and she gave me a name of a person at the local VA. I contacted her and she was very nice but could not really help me but said maybe if the Senator could send a letter it may help.

    I emailed the Senator back and told the person I talked to before from the Senator's office what the lady from VA said and she told me she and the Senator would be happy to help in any way they could. She told me to send all the information we sent the VA for the Aid and Attendance Program and she would send a letter with all the information and his Aid and Attendance application and that is what we did.
    Now I do not know if it worked but in no more than two to three weeks my dad got Approved.

    We sent out the application with the help of a wonderful Lawyer in my dad's community who deals with this application process and could not of done it without him at the end of Dec. 2009.

    I wrote to this forum in Feb. 03, 2010 and that is when I was told to contact the Senator but I waited for a while and when I got my information for the letter I sent it out.

    The lawyer that helped us contacted me on May 10, 2010 and told me my dad was Approved and he was just as excited as I was and I contact the Senator's office and the lady that helped me was also so excited for us all.

    You know it doesn't matter if the Senator's letter helped or didn't what matters is that they cared!!!!

    I know it can be so intimidating to contact your Senator but they could not of been more helpful and so comforting. I am sure they are not all like this but you will never know unless you give it a try. Just write down everything you are going through and let it come from your heart that is all you can do. The staff member said they would like to come and meet us so I hope that will happen!!!

    I want to thank "Vetadmin" for all the help she gave me and for this wonderful forum and wish all of you the best of luck!!!!

    Thank You,

    Kathy W.
  2. Max

    Max Hero Member

    VBA's manual for operations states that congressional inquiries need to be answered within five business days from the date of receipt. What happened was that once the inquiry was received, the file was pulled and adjudicated quickly because once someone was able to look at the claim enough to know what was going on with it and what needed to be done, it only takes another 20-30 minutes to complete the award and letter (usually about 20 minutes of review and 20 minutes for typing the letter and entering the award amount into the system). Obviously it wouldn't make sense to spend 20 minutes reviewing it and then put it right back into the stack and have someone else waste 20 minutes reviewing it again in a couple weeks, so it was essentially expedited.

    The plus side to going to a member of congress is that in many situations, this is exactly what happens. Claims get bumped to the front of the line. The unfortunate part is that aside from cutting in line, this means that what is usually a 40 minute process (as described above) gets turned into a 60-80 minute process because the congressional liaison at VA then needs to walk the congressional office through what all happened, why VA made the decision that they did, and prepare a written response. Congressional offices often require this debriefing because their staffers are obviously not trained on the minutia of every federal program so that when they respond back to their constituents, they want to know exactly what they are talking about so that the constituent is satisfied and understands what happened.

    I'm not going to say that there isn't a time or a place for going to your senator for something. I did it when my wife's green card application had been pending at USCIS for over 4 months without movement and she was losing job offers. That being said, use it as a nuclear option, last resort because for every 80 minute congressional inquiry VA needs to process, they could have been working 2 regular claims.

    Cheers on getting approved though! :)

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