better results than communication, who to call?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OldHat, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. OldHat

    OldHat Newbie

    Okay, thanks to the advice on this website (Debbie, THANK YOU) which I had to read what seems like dozens of times to fully integrate the bizarre VA logic and vocabulary, I managed to submit what was a very complete application for my cousin's grandparent. I was the only one in the family with any experience with VA forms, and I wasn't daunted by the seemingly endless process, and we had nothing to lose, so I took on that job.

    After only about three months, the VA rendered a decision that denied benefit payments based on income because they did not include all of the information I submitted. This I handled - again, thanks to advice here - by patiently re-submitting the info they claimed they had not received, even though I had sent it return receipt all three times. Sigh. (The grandparent has dementia and can do none of this for herself.)

    Finally at my wits' end after 10 months of waiting for a response of ANY KIND to all the re-submissions, I was on the point of calling my Congressperson, because it's an election year and they get right on that stuff. HA! Only to find, after discussing this frustration with Cousin that payments had actually commenced in July! What? Gramma's home is being paid automatically from her account, so no one had reason to look at it for a while, but when we did we were surprised. Pleasantly. But confused, because we are still waiting for any response from the VA.

    The back benefits owed (between when the VA started paying and the application was accepted last year) have NOT been paid, just her monthly- which is thankfully the maximum, and that is correct. The confusing bit is, none of us have received any communication from the VA about it. The last letter we got said she made too much money (because her medical expenses of living in 24 hour care were not subtracted from her countable income). Apparently they fixed the ratios after finally processing at least one of the many submissions I made of this information, but we haven't seen any letter awarding her benefits, and don't know who to call or what to do next.

    In the decision they agreed based on the doctors' form where the doctor clearly stated she needs help with everything that she would have to be declared incompetent for VA purposes. I presume that because of this, and because they started paying her monthly benefit as they should do, that they will start the fiduciary process eventually.

    Do I have to wait until we get a letter officially asking us to start it before sending in another 21-4138 waiving the 60-day waiting period (which, if payments started in July, should be over now anyway)? Or should I just ask for a duplicate of her award letter, which they must have done if she's getting benefits? We know who we want appointed fiduciary, and it seems wise to get right on it with the length of time it takes to get everything processed. But I don't know who to contact to find out what communication we're missing from them.

    Also I'm the one who was doing the paperwork for the three of us (taking care of Gramma). So the 21-0845 has MY name on it, because I could not find a way around their reluctance to allow all three of us to discuss the application. But I won't be the fiduciary. So, am I going to have to revoke the current 21-0845 at some point and put my aunt on there, even though she has no desire or confidence communicating with the VA? Argh. Can I create an 'organization' out of the three family members who are doing this work and give them THAT info, and then just have us all refer to ourselves as members of [invented organization here]? I don't know what else to do. No one else is able to keep all this stuff straight in their heads, and honestly, with the long waiting periods between responses, even I have to re-read the forums to get myself oriented to answer each new thing properly.

    Thanks so much for your help. These forums have been a lifesaver for us. If we'd found them earlier, Gramma might have been able to stay in her home, but honestly - just being able to afford to have her somewhere safe for her wouldn't have been possible long-term without those benefits. So we're very grateful. Thank you thank you thank you
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Thank you for your kind words!

    You should go ahead and submit at 21-4138 waiving the waiting period and request moving along with the fiduciary process. You can let them know in that letter that you were not made of aware (from lack of communication) that she had been awarded the payment and therefore the 60 day waiting period was past. If the doctor ruled her incompetent to handle her finances, they (and you) will have to move forward with that process anyways.

    You don't have to have the same person on the 21-0845 as the appointed fiduciary. It just helps, but it's certainly not required.

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