VA Aid and Attendance never came through ...

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by Chip off the Block, May 12, 2016.

  1. My late mother was a surviving spouse of a WWII veteran who was a devoted wife and caregiver to her late husband. Her husband, my stepfather, passed away in 2007. He was also on service related disability. My mother put in a claim with the VA within months of his passing, and her income dropped significantly. The first claim was denied due to her income was too high, even refusing the burial expenses, but the VA wrote to say that if her medical expenses increased or her income dropped, my mother could contact them again. However VA did not request the personal medical records which would have showed my stepfather was stroke-disabled and had serious health issues necessitating in-home care 24/7 by my mother, his wife for at least the last 6 months of his life. They did have increased expenses and reduced income, but my mother the surviving spouse did not have the opportunity to demonstrate this, nor was she assisted in doing this.

    In 2010, after nearly dying and in hospital for over 30 days for serious abdominal operation complications, my mother by that time had employed full time caregivers to live in -- which allowed her to remain in her own home. Within a month, she applied again for this time Aid and Attendance as her medical expenses understandably had increased considerably with both medical expenses, room and board and the personal caregivers salaries. Within two weeks of opening of claim it was denied, and the VA never even looked at the medical records which would have proved that my mother was in need AND Dependent on daily care and attendance and that her medical expenses decreased her income to a level she would have been eligible for VA Aid and Attendance.

    I am sorry this is so long. My mother was nearly blind, nearly deaf, had serious mobility issues, and a life threatening disabling illnesses. From 2010, and increasing even since then her medical expenses, including out of pocket disability supplies, were such that there were times she couldn't make it financially until the end of the month. My mother trusted that the VA would reconsider her case once they and "new and material evidence", but instead it was apparently ignored.

    In addition to looking after my mother full time, taking over after discovering abuse and neglect by the former caregivers, I encouraged my mother to reapply for VA Aid and attendance. My mother notified them of intent in April last year. Assisting her administratively because of my mother's physical disability of limited eyesight and hearing, she submitted a lengthy application, supplying all the evidence needed to support a "reopening of an existing claim" (where they had asked in 2007 and 2010 for evidence of increased expenses and medical information).
    It was submitted in October 2015, and my mother died in December. The letter from the VA also dated the day of her death, ironically, wrote to say that the time limit of reopening a claim had expired, that she only had approximately a year after the denial of the claim. Most irritatingly they insisted that she need to submit a EZ form which would have negated the backdating and retroactive consideration to an earlier claim.

    My mother and my Veteran stepfather deserved much better than this. Honestly, it is a disgrace that a Veteran's surviving spouse should have been so neglected and mistreated as my mother was. My mother was eligible for improved pension since 2010 and could have proved it, but lacked the means in challenging the denial, or having the wherewithal to make a valid claim. Where was the VA's 'duty of care"? Does it even exist?

    Thank you to this forum of people who I hope we may effect change that not another person, a Veteran or a Veteran's surviving spouse dies away without even an acknowledgement of the claim received, nor duty of care to assist a person who by definition is in failing health.
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Chip off the Block,

    My heart breaks for you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of this tumultuous time you went through with trying to get your mother the benefits she deserved. It's not fair, and the sad thing is, this has happened many times before. We hope to continue helping people with VeteranAid to get the information they need and get the help they deserve to receive their rightful Aid and Attendance money.

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