I got the call today from my mother's congressman's office !! They have emailed me the correspondence they received today from the VA. My mother has been awarded the full benefit $ 1056 for a surviving spouse of a wartime veteran ! I had filed informally in June 2010 and sent a formal application in August 2010. I did secure the services of Elder Resource Benefit Consulting here in Massachusetts. I probably could have done it myself but the support and guidance given to me by these professionals was worth it as well as knowing they will be there for the lifetime of the award. In addition I followed all the recommendations on this forum, often posting questions that were always answered in a timely fashion ,filled with sound advise. After filing in August 2010, I only received one letter saying things were " in process" from the VA I called in Nov & Dec ( early in the morning 8:30am) and was told the same thing. Late Dec. I sent in a support of claim form stating that I felt they had all they needed and that we were now in an "urgent financial hardship" situation and that my mother was 84. We needed a decision. In Jan 2011 I was advised by both this forum and the consulting firm to contact my mother's congressman's office for assistance. The congressman's aide couldn't have been more receptive to my request for assistance. He called every 2 weeks with updates until today when he was as excited & happy to tell me the news as I was to hear it. These funds will allow us to keep my mother in her home longer which is invaluable to her now with dementia. The security and familiarity of her home is what is keeping the slide downward from escalating. We will still need to go through the fiduciary process but I feel empowered having gotten this far and know of how valuable this forum is to all that are undertaking the process for a loved one. I am committed to spreading the word to all elders that might be eligible and in need of assistance. As a nurse I often find myself in a position to share information about elder care resources with patients and families. Debbie ... I know you often hear how invaluable this forum is and how appreciative others are of your time and commitment. I applaud you! Thank you for your "service" to our country in caring for its veterans. You are an inspiration. You are certainly earning your wings for heaven. I hope I can continue to post and help others as I have been helped on this forum. Thank you all who had help with your postings.