How To Do Congressional Inquiry

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Marp, May 14, 2012.

  1. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    Sorry, don't mean to spout off, but I believe you're wrong and so is the VA. Unfortunately, because there is no accountability at the VA, my dad is screwed.

    And I still question why they honored newpenny's signature & not mine. Were the circumstances the same?
  2. katy225

    katy225 Newbie


    I may be wrong but I think newpenny is the actual Vet receiving the pension?? Sorry you are going through all of this but it would seem simple enough to just have your Dad sign the consent form and send it back to the Reps office. Tell them you want a response by email or regular mail and that way they won't have to call and talk to your Dad since he may not comprehend what's going on. I can understand your predicament but no need to add more stress to yourself or your Dad.
  3. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    Simple? I would hazard a guess you have never dealt with anyone in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. The last time I had to ask dad to sign another VA form, I had to write his name on a piece of paper so he could copy it. Depending on the day, he may not even be able to do that now. If that happens, I will have to recruit two people who will be willing to witness him making an X on the form and then find a time when both of them are available to go to his assisted living to witness the X and hope that he is awake and able to make an X on the day the 2 witnesses are available. If not, I have to start the process all over again and again and again until he is either coherent enough to sign his name or he can make an X on a day when I can get 2 witnesses to come with me.

    The e-mail the VA sent to the congressman's office said he has to sign it or make an X; a thumbprint is not an option the person handling dad's case will accept.
  4. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    My mom called today - coincidentally, DFAS (the department that handles military retired pay) deposited money into my dad's account in an amount that exactly matches what I think he is owed from them.

    My mom wondered if DFAS and the VA had coincidentally gotten their acts together and did something after months of phone calls. I told her that was possible, but I think the letter on the congressman's letterhead certainly had an influence. It would be too much of a coincidence for two unorganized, generally incompetent and uncooperative government agencies to get their acts together almost immediately after they receive an official letter from an elected offical. At least that's what I think.

    I tried calling the gentleman in my congressman's office who was helping me but their telephone # and their fax # are "temporarily disconnected". I called the phone company to see if their was a problem with phone service in that area. The phone company was about as much help as the VA and DFAS.

    So I will try again later in the week. I also plan to send them a letter outlining some of the things the VA told them that were not correct or were inconsistent with what they usually say. I don't expect them to do anything about it, but I think it would be helpful to them to be aware of some of the particular issues we deal with and have an idea what should happen. That way they can be better equipped to assist constituents who contact them for help in the future.
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I agree with you on what made this happen, and thank goodness someone finally came through for you.

    You should write that letter and share every single step and misinformation that you encountered.

    Kudos for staying on top of it!! Hope you are smiling!
  6. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    Thanks Deb. As you can probably tell from some of my comments, I'm a fighter when it comes to my family. It's one of the sometimes less endearing traits I inherited from my father.

    Last night, I drafted a letter thanking the congressman's staff for their help and included a copy of the law which allows the VA to accept a witnessed thumprint in the event they deal with a family in which the claimant cannot hold a pen, even to make an "X" on the form.

    I plan to write a more extensive letter with more information later, but that will take awhile and I wanted to get the thank you out to them as quickly as possible. Our elected officials and their staff receive a lot of criticism when they screw up; it's nice for them to hear a thank you once in awhile when they get something right.
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    I agree! Always best to acknowledge a kindness or a "job well done".

    Hopefully the Senator will be inclinded to look a little deeper in to how this all came about, and see the injustice our veterans face in making a simple application for pension or other benefits.
  8. Marp

    Marp Jr. Member

    Received an e-mail just a bit ago from our Congressman's office. Earlier today, they received an e-mail from DFAS pretty much confirming what we all thought - contact from the Congressman's staff was what got the situation corrected. In the e-mail from DFAS, they indicate they had not received anything from VA (not necessarily a surprise) so they contacted the VA and got what they needed.
    Had my Congressman not sent letters to both DFAS and the VA, we would have continued to bounce back and forth between the two agencies with each agency saying they were waiting for something from the other. Eventually, they would have fixed the problem, probably accidentally, but I think it would have been a long time before either agency attempted to do anything.

    Still haven't received an acceptable answer from the VA and probably won't. They are still of the belief they can't act on the Congressional inquiry because we never sent them a form with my dad's signature. We have his signature on the form now, but it's not needed anymore, and I still believe the VA could have rectified the situation without my father's signature and they wouldn't have needed to violate any laws to do it. A little common sense is all that was required.
  9. Belvedere

    Belvedere Newbie

    I found that faxing any legislator is the ONLY way to go. Standard mail gets bogged down in security checks which delays receipt by the intended party by weeks.

    Incidentally, it ook over 9 months to have an A&A pension approved fro my 97 year old mother who has been living in an assisted living facility since 2009. Despite pleas to expedite becuase of her age and looming financial hardship due to the delay, absolutely NOTHING moved the VA office in Philadelphia.

    Last ditch effort, I appealed to her congressional representative and in less than 10 days her pension was approved!! I do believe there is a lesson to be learned here for all.

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