Georgia Department of Veteran Affairs

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by Honor First, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Honor First

    Honor First Newbie

    My 71 year old brother has had schizo effective disorder for many years and as a result has spent many years in and out of mental health facilities. He earned a small pension from NYC, before his mental health issue developed. He now receives a total of $2,200.00 per month income, when his social security is added to his pension.

    The current facility where my brother resides in NYC is pushing him out. The NYS facility wants to discharge him to a Catholic Charities run group residency environment. My brother has been in the same place once before and it didn't work out to say the least.

    My brother has penchant for junk food and sugary sodas. If left to his own devices, he would live off this stuff. This is where the problem lies. The NYS facility case manager is well aware of my brothers love of junk food, so they limit him to $7.00 per day. My brother can walk about a half mile to a little candy store, where he buys a pack of little cigars and either a soda or an ice cream. I manage his banking, so I give the NYS facility a check each month for his allowance. I provide enough so, in addition to the daily amount, he can order out for a pizza or any take out of his choosing.

    The manager at the Catholic Charities place already told me she will not manage my brothers money (she said she had to comply with NYS law), so he will get the total allowable amount from his social security at the beginning of each month. This would be hundreds of dollars. About six or seven years ago my brother had the very same set up. He lasted a couple of months. He gorged himself each and every day on junk food and cigarettes. After several weeks his body reacted and he began having severe gastro issues. With the physical problems, along came deep depression, far beyond the normal. Eventually, my brother attempted suicide, and was rushed to a hospital in very critical condition.

    My brother was very fortunate to have survive. After being brought back to good physical health, he was transferred to the hospital pshyc unit for evaluation. Eventually they returned him, once again, to the same NYS facility, in a closed unit. Years later he was transferred to a transitional temporary residence (where he is now).

    Our parents have passed away, leaving only one sister in NYC. Our sister has just been diagnosed with dimentia and has her own battle to fight. I have decided to look into private assisted care living places near my home in Georgia. Early in my search, I met with a sales person at an assisted care facility. He told me it would be $2,600.00 per month for rent, $400.00 more than my brother receives. The sales person asked if my brother was a veteran and I told him he had served four years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force during the late sixties, but not in Vietnam. He said it didn't matter where he served, just that he served during the war years. He said my brother would be eligible for "aid and attendance" pension from the VA.

    I was a bit skeptical of what I was told, but I decided to follow up by going to the Georgia VA office. I told the presentative essentially the same story as I have written here and she told me he wasn't entitled to any VA benefit. Flat out!

    I was a little upset, because the asisted care was going to deplete his assets at a pace of $200.00 per month, plus whatever I spent of his savings on clothing, toiletries etc...

    My brother's total cash assets amount to around $55,000 - $60,000 dollars, so I figured at even $500.00 cash outlay per month, he could last quite awhile before running out of money. Then it dawned on me that he could possibly require nursing home care down the road, and that would be far more expensive.

    I went back to the sales person at the assisted care place and told him what the GA VA person told me. He said he didn't agree with her assessment. He said they had a couple of local lawyers that donated their service to veterans in the facility and they had obtained said and attendance fnancial benefits. He even had family members receive the pension check, because they came to the facility on a daily basis and supplied the necessary aid and attendance.

    I decided I needed to research it on my own, before I committed my brother to the expense.

    That is when I discovered Veterans Aid.Org. I now see that if not right now, at some point in the future, my brother will indeed qualify for this pension. I did file the VA Form 21-0966 "Intent to File a Claim," so I can get a VA case number assigned. I'm hoping, when I eventually file for the A&A benefit, they will offset his monthly expenses over and above his income. I know there is a possibility the VA might say he has to first spend down his assets to a lower amount, before providing a larger pension, but at least I will take comfort knowing he will not wind up broke.

    Thankfully, the assisted care facility isn't located near enough for my brother to walk to locations that sell junk food and smokes. The sales person also said they would be more than willing to limit his funds, on the ocassional field trip to stores. They will also limit him on smoking to one pack per day.

    While I really dislike his smoking, for some unknown reason, smoking temporarily suspends the disturbing voices my brother hears in his mind, so I let it go.

    The moral of my story is don't give up hope, do your own research, and search out other avenues of information for veterans.
    Kaylin likes this.
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing this here on the forums. I am sorry to hear of your brother's health issues over the past years but I'm so happy to hear that VeteranAid can be of help to put him and yourself at ease knowing he could have these Aid and Attendance funds available to him. If you have any questions through the process please ask away in the forums here or look at others' questions and advice.
  3. Honor First

    Honor First Newbie

    Well things are moving along. Although I had already made an appointment with a psychiatrist near where I live, I decided to first sending the VA forms to the mental health professionals at the facility where my brother is currently residing. I'll see what kind of evaluation they provide on my brother. I'll still have him go to the local doctor, because he will need his prescriptions filled in the future.

    Makes me wonder if my brother is granted a Aid & Attendance pension, based on mental health deficiencies, would he be eligible for obtaining his pharmacuticals through the VA?

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