VA Aid and Attendance success story! Tips and lessons learned the hard way!

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by magnumpi28, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. magnumpi28

    magnumpi28 Jr. Member

    My story starts December, 2008 when i had dropped by the Alzheimer's association because my mom was showing signs of dementia and had other health issues so I wanted to know if they provided any home care because i knew my Moms condition was bad and would get worse. Unfortunately they said they don't have enough help to go around but she mentioned something called Aid and Attendance that i had never heard about.
    I started doing some research and thank God I came upon this site. Once i was here i started doing some research. I then decided i would file for Aid and attendance for my mother. My mother was married to her first husband for 30 years who had been in the military 20 plus years. Then he died and she remarried my father who had only been in the military for only 6 months. I called the 800 number for the VA and asked them who do i file on since both her husbands were in the military. The VA rep said file on the first husband because he had a lot more military service so i helped my mother file for A&A January,2009 and listed her first husband as the Veteran. I also filed the form to be her representative so they could talk to me.
    1. FIRST LESSON LEARNED, SOMETIMES THE VA PHONE REPS TELL YOU WRONG!

    The VA sent me a denial letter in April stating that my mother did NOT qualify because she got remarried. However after talking with Debbie i discovered i could file on her second husband(and should have done this all along) because her second husband even though only in 6 months qualified because it was fortunately during the times required and was at least 90 days. So now I had repeat the whole process and start from the beginning! I had to get all the paperwork and I mailed off the second application in April, 2009. Unfortunately i did not not have his original military records or a certified copy. I just had a regular copy.
    2. SECOND LESSON LEARNED, Send off for a certified copy through the military archives and get a certified copy if you don't have one or the originals.

    I got a letter stating they needed military records so i sent off for one through the military achieves. I was surprised as it wasn't long before it arrived. I forgot to mention but when i had sent in the app i also sent in the form for me to be able to speak to the VA on behalf of my mother. They sent the form back with another form and had me sign this other form saying i never received any money for helping her fill out the application. I then sent the forms back.

    3. THIRD LESSON LEARNED, Even though most everyone on here tell you to send off the form so you will be able to speak to the VA this form NEVER, I REPEAT NEVER did me a bit of Good. To this day they still will not talk to me without my moms permission. I would still do it because it cant hurt but just don't hold your breath in them approving you to talk to them.

    Next, I got a letter back from the VA wanting information about the home health company expenses however by this time all my moms money had run out and my money had run out so i canceled the home health company and was taking care of my mom at my home in the evening and at night and on weekends, fortunately she was going to the day center in the daytime or i probably would have fell over dead of exhaustion. Fortunately i had seen on here that i needed to make sure I actually have my mom pay me. It seemed kind of dumb as i would have my mom write me a check but before the end of the month i would have to write her a check so she could cover all the other costs associated with her care but that's what has to be done.

    I sent in proof of my mom paying me, i also sent in a copy of the contract that me and my mom signed that stated how much she would pay me and that i would provide care for her when she wasn't at the day center. I also sent in the hours i would be working.
    Since i had been paying a home health agency Im sure the VA could see that i was charging less than what they was charging so the VA did not give me any hassle about what i was charging. After all, I am providing more hours for less money.

    The VA did not require me to go through the Fiduciary process so i cant give any advice on that.

    About 5 months after applying(the second time) my mom was approved for VA benefits! I was approved for a little less than the full amount. Since i knew how the VA figured the award i was perplexed as to why it wasn't the full amount after i finished jumping up and down in celebration that the nightmare was over!!!!! My mom has the money now to hire the home health agency back if she wants!

    Still not really sure what happened as to why not the full amount but here is what i know, they deducted the monthly expenses for home health care and her social security deduction but for some reason the medicine was not deducted and the Depends wasn't, the letter said the medicine was paid for before the application date However its an ongoing expense so i am not sure why they didn't count that as a deduction????? Maybe they didn't understand its an ongoing expense??? I have no idea. Somehow i didn't cross a "T" or dot an "I" because i know medicine should be deducted from your income, maybe it was a fluke i really don't know.


    I had applied in April and the VA sent a lump sum payment for May, June, July and the regular monthly check should be sent on September 1rst for august and then the check should be sent out around the 1rst of the month from now on.

    Tip: Remember, Hurry and apply because the VA wont pay you for your expenses before the application!



    Final thoughts:
    1. The process was a confusing nightmare. I probably would have gave up if it wasn't for this website and Debbie. All the people Debbie has helped I wish the VA could have come through for her in Time. If anyone deserved it, she did.
    2. Follow the instructions on this website. Everything you need to know is on the this website. I think the new FAQ section of this website will make it even easier and answer a lot of questions.
    3. Don't be like the 10 leapers in the bible who nine didn't even come back and give thanks. Share your experience! When you get approved don't just disappear because you no longer need help come back at least one more time and share it!
    4. Last but not least...."Thank you Jesus!"
     
    Zenobia Bailey likes this.
  2. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    First let me say how happy I am that you have finally prevailed with your application. Just as important, I would like to thank you for taking the time to come back and share your experience with everyone on the forum.

    All the points that you took the time to list will help so many who are still dealing with this process wondering if they will ever see the end.

    On a very personal note, Aug 25th marked 4 years my mom has been gone, so your words of gratitude mean more than you can know. As sad as her ending was, I try to remain focused that if it had turned out any differently, I may not have launched this site and forums. When I think of the thousands who have benefited from this effort, there is a sense of acceptance that this was how it was meant to be. It has also been instrumental in helping me to heal knowing that every day it makes a difference for someone else.

    It is my honor to be a part of this journey for all who have or will have better choices and resouces for their loved one.

    So thank you for coming back and yes, thank you Jesus for the blessing this has been to all of us.

    Debbie
     
  3. pologal1979

    pologal1979 Guest

    About 5 months after applying(the second time) my mom was approved for VA benefits! I was approved for a little less than the full amount. Since i knew how the VA figured the award i was perplexed as to why it wasn't the full amount after i finished jumping up and down in celebration that the nightmare was over!!!!! My mom has the money now to hire the home health agency back if she wants!

    Still not really sure what happened as to why not the full amount but here is what i know, they deducted the monthly expenses for home health care and her social security deduction but for some reason the medicine was not deducted and the Depends wasn't, the letter said the medicine was paid for before the application date However its an ongoing expense so i am not sure why they didn't count that as a deduction?Huh? Maybe they didn't understand its an ongoing expense??? I have no idea. Somehow i didn't cross a "T" or dot an "I" because i know medicine should be deducted from your income, maybe it was a fluke i really don't know.


    I had applied in April and the VA sent a lump sum payment for May, June, July and the regular monthly check should be sent on September 1rst for august and then the check should be sent out around the 1rst of the month from now on.

    Tip: Remember, Hurry and apply because the VA wont pay you for your expenses before the application!


    Here is the deal.

    1. VA pension is based on income and expenses. Here is a VERY simple example:

    MAPR (maximum annual pension rate) for a widow with no dependents basic pension effective year 2009 = 7,999

    5% deductible for 2009 = 396

    Only income = SS of $500.40 (VA counts gross amount with medicare included)

    Only expenses = $2000 annual paid to BCBS for private health insurance

    500.40 x 12 = 6004.00 (drop cents)

    2000 - 396 = 1604 in meds

    6004 - 1604 = 4,400 income for va purposes (IVAP)

    7999 - 4,400 = 3,599 / 12 = 299/mo in VA pension benefits.

    That is a simple example only.

    2. when an original grant of benefits is paid, VA only considers PREDICTABLE MEDICAL EXPENSES, such as Medicare Pt B, Ptb, private medical insurance, caregiver fees..things like that. You have to report these expenses on the application as "$2000 paid annually for private medical insurance to BCBS" etc. tell them you pay the expense on an annual or monthly basis and the amount paid on the annual or monthly basis. if you list a bunch of random expenses paid before your date of claim, then forget it. cant use it.

    3. You can always write in again about the depends. Tell them in a letter this is an expense you would like projected.

    4. prescriptions are not a predictable expense on original awards. too iffy. keep track of them though and report them as paid medical expenses at the end of her initial year of pension entitlement. same with the depends, doctor, dental bills, etc. also , if you hire the sitter again, that is OK, just let the VA know there will be a change in medical expenses after that happens. if you hire the company, have them provide some proof of what they are being paid by the widow. submit a copy of that along with the claim for meds.
     
    Zenobia Bailey likes this.
  4. To Debbie, pologal1979, and magnumpi28: A huge thank you to each of you for sharing and encouraging me (us), even though this thread was placed years ago.

    Debbie, I actually came across your wonderful (and sacrificial) site and knowledge of A&A 8 or 9 years ago. I thought I would have applied for my Mom, then.
    However, when more than one or two siblings are involved, things take a different turn. Fast forward, an application was finally submitted a little over a year
    ago. We were denied. A number of misguided follow-up calls to the VA and counsel with a claims consultant placed us in a very tenuous position, requiring
    additional forms and wait time. I just learned yesterday, via a follow-up call, that the decision has been mailed. As many of you know, they will not disclose it
    over the phone. Unfortunately, they sent the letter (and packet, whatever that is) to my Mom. I'm quite disappointed because although they know she has
    advanced alzheimers' and I'd supplied my address, they still did. The response? If you don't have it within 10 days, let us know.

    Does anyone know what the packet might be? Does a packet come with both acceptances and rejections?

    Lastly, Debbie, we are all FOREVER grateful to you! I've contributed in the past and will look to do so again. It's the least anyone of us can do for your gallant and
    selfless act. Thank you from the bottom of my heart as well as my Mom's. I know that this may well be another no, however, because of and with you, I will pick
    up the banner and continue to press forward. It's the right thing to do, no matter the frustration. Veteranaid is providing me with the accountability to do so.

    Thanks, again!
     
    Kaylin likes this.
  5. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    Zenobia,

    I'm so glad to hear you found our website to be a great resource as you take this journey with your family to try to get your mother the A&A benefit. Thank you for the kind words! I hope someone can give you some insight either way as to whether the packet is more likely to be an acceptance or rejection. I do not know. I hope you will also come back to contribute and help others with their questions and concerns, it helps tremendously if we can make this forum into more of a community with everyone helping out.

    I agree, never ever give up!
     
  6. Thank you! I followed up today and still no real knowledge of what's happening. Can you (or someone on staff) help me and possibly others like me who do not understand, know how the actual dollar determination is made, once an application is approved. I do not grasp the formula that is used.

    Kind regards.
     

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