Successful application for the Aid and Attendance Pension

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by chicklewis, Aug 11, 2009.

  1. chicklewis

    chicklewis Newbie

    Successful application for the Aid and Attendance Pension

    My father Walt Lewis is a WWII-era veteran who is disabled with advanced Parkinson’s disease. Paying for 24/7 live-in caregivers, from reliable agencies, since about mid 2007, caused his life savings to be rapidly expended.

    I learned of the existence of the Aid and Attendance pension in October of 2008, and a web search turned up VeteransAid.org, Debbie’s nice, informative website. I used the forms, ideas, and suggestions found here and asked three questions on the forum, two of which brought very informative and useful responses.

    To my delight, when asked, Walt casually pulled the 60-year-old-originals of his discharge papers out of his fire-safe ! What a guy !

    Dec 12, 2008 – Mailed completed application forms, VA certified copies of the papers, and backup information (49 pages) to the local Los Angeles VA office.
    Dec 26, 2008 – Received a letter from the St. Paul, Minnesota office confirming that they had received the application. (No idea why it ended up in Minnesota)
    Jan 4, 2009 – Received a letter asking for additional financial information on three distinct points, as well as Care Expense Affidavits to be filled out by both caregiver agencies. This letter stated that I had up to one year to send the requested information, but that if they did not hear from me, they might make a decision in as little as 30 days. Seemed a strangely-defined deadline.
    Feb 12, 2009 – Mailed additional requested information (20 pages) to St. Paul VA
    Feb 14, 2009 – Letter arrived DENYING OUR CLAIM ! Yep, the requested information and the Denial of Benefits crossed one another in the US mail. We were devastated. Why the VA would deny benefits after five weeks while telling me I had up to a year to send the information is just completely beyond me.
    Feb 20, 20090 – Mailed a Notice of Disagreement with backup (4 pages) to the board of Veteran’s appeals, asking them to reconsider the decision.
    Mar 10, 2009 – Walt got a nice direct telephone call from the VA administrator asking if he would be willing to drop the appeal if the additional information were considered as a new application. Walt agreed.
    April 30, 2009 – A letter from VA arrived stating they were in process of deciding.
    June 15, 2009 - Another letter from VA informed us they were still making a decision.
    August 4, 2009 - Received Notice of Award Amount and Payment start date ! Walt got the maximum amount for the A&A pension. GREAT !
    August 10, 2009 – Arrival of the first Pension Check, retroactive to the original December date of application !

    So, is eight months start to finish slower or faster than the average lag ??

    Let me add our sincere thanks to Debbie and her very useful creation veteransaid.org.

    Chick Lewis
     

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