VA wants to start fiduciary appointment process

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by VetsKid, Jun 14, 2013.

  1. VetsKid

    VetsKid Newbie

    I applied for A&A for my mom, it was awarded with me as person to be her caregiver. The VA decided that she needs a fiduciary because she was not able at the time of the application to handle her affairs. She was in the hospital and under serious medical treatments and medications that interfered with her cognitive thought process. She has since been discharged to home and is now back in control of her financial affairs, I just do the physical aspects of her care. (She was in the hospital for 5 months)
    We have filed VA Form 21-22a stating that I was her representative; the VA's version of POA.
    She has written a statement VA Form 21-4138, detailing that she was under medical care at the time and medications were affecting her mental ability and cognitive processes and skills, but as of this date the physical remains the same but the cognitive has returned.
    Can she or should she have her VA doctor complete a VA Form 21-4138, stating that her mental/cognitive issues have improved and that she handles her own banking? Or does she need to resubmit a new 21-2680 with an updated/changed competency status?

    Also, according to my mom's AB8, she was awarded the max benefit for disability.
    Should there be any reference to A&A on this AB8?

    I am seriously confused as to how the A&A is be separated from her previous pension amount. IF by chance, a fiduciary person is implemented, how is the award amount then paid to me? When the Attendant Affidavit was filled out I was listed as the care provider to the claimant.

    What else can we do?

    Any help is greatly appreciative.
  2. VetsKid

    VetsKid Newbie


    My moms speech therapist has signed off on her discharge and in her discharge notes she concluded that my mom was capable of handling her finances in her opinion with secondary physical help. I then spoke with her doctor that filled out her form 21-2680 for the A&A and he has agreed that now she is capable of handling her affairs and that he would write a statement - 21-4138.

    My mom has also completed a 21-4138 stating this:
    When the original application for A&A was filed, Dr. XXXXX filled out VA Form 21-2680, I was in the hospital and under the influence of medications that interfered with my ability to handle my finances and did require additional help. I have since been discharged. And while my physical limitations are the same, I do have the ability to manage my personal finances and make decisions of my own care.

    I disagree with your inference/conclusion that I am incompetent to manage my finances.
    I am not incompetent.
    Is there anything else that we should we do?
  3. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Not really, but keep in mind that this will require a much longer timeframe for the VA to make the decsion on her competency, and it could drag out for a very long time. They don't generally back off of this ruling easily.

    They should however if approved start the monthly award, but will hold all accrued funds until this matter is resolved.

    Good luck with it all.
  4. VetsKid

    VetsKid Newbie


    Mom was approved, her approval took 10 weeks to get. She was already receiving pension.
    We saw her VA doctor yesterday, explained what the doctor had written when he filled out her application. The VA doc said she has no problems writing a statement on mom's competency.
    I don't understand why the VA would dispute 2 doctors and a speech therapist.
    Just because a person is or becomes physically disabled doesn't mean they're not competent.
  5. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Hoping that will work to her favor.

    For whatever reason, the VA would rather hold the incompetency as it gives them more excuses and ways to hang onto funds.

    Please do let us know how they rule on this.
  6. VetsKid

    VetsKid Newbie

    I took my mom to her doctor, the same one that wrote at the time she was not able to handle her affairs and that I was.
    The doctor filled out a form stating " Upon further evaluation I find this patient to be competent and able to handle her own finances."
    I mailed in all the reports and forms from the doctor and speech therapist my mom and myself about her competency.

    Just curious to your opinion, if the doctor writes she is competent, if you think it's difficult to rule against a doctor?
  7. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    If the VA has already ruled her incompetent, this would be an upward battle for you, and not an easy one.

    If they have not made that ruling yet, you can send the new statement into the VA, and I would include a detailed letter explaining the circumstances, and the reason for the change.

    All this to say, that the VA may still come back and find for incompetency. If you appeal it, you will be at least 2 years in that process, AND any back award will not be released until you get through the appeal process.

    You will need to weigh this out carefully as I don't believe the appeal would be in her best interest. What is best is that she gets awarded and gets any back money owed. Even with the Fiduciary process, you will be waiting up to a year for a Field Agent to come and interview her and you.
  8. Max

    Max Hero Member

    Actually these cases take less time. If they have only proposed incompetency, then once the final rating is done, they'll just release the retroactive pay. That requires much less effort and time than rating someone incompetent and conducting a field exam.
  9. Fillise

    Fillise Newbie

    I'm curious about this. My father was awarded full a&a benefits one year ago. At that time they proposed a finding of incompetency. He wrote back waiving a hearing and agreeing to the finding. He also submitted a statement in support of claim asking that I be appointed his fiduciary. One year later nothing has been done. Philadelphia has not made a rating and the fiduciary center can do nothing until they have a finding of incompetency. When I talk with anyone in Philly I get nowhere. I have talked with individuals from the fiduciary centers in SC and KY who say if they got the paperwork from Philly they would begin the process, but they can't get anything out of Philly. I have gotten my father's Congressman involved. Still Philly won't do anything. I don't know what else to do.
  10. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Push back on Congressman, and let them know this needs to be resolved. If it is creating a financial hardship, you need to stress that.
  11. VetsKid

    VetsKid Newbie

    Thanks for the replies.
    This is what is listed on her VA eBenefits.

    Claim Received: 06/14/2013
    Claim Type: Predetermination
    Estimated Claim Completion Date: 09/10/2013 to 10/13/2013

    We wrote detailed letters as to the reasons why she was 'incompetent' by the doctor at first. Due to medications and medical treatment. The doctor that filled out her A&A form also wrote a short letter stating after further evaluation he does not find her to be incompetent. Her Speech Therapist also wrote she was competent and could comprehend but just needed physical assistance.
    I've done all I can do, short of contacting the Congressman for this area.
    VSR, I do hope this is all that is needed.
    vetadmin, yes she has started receiving her increased amount now. Thankfully, that was quicker than most of what I have been reading on here. But, I do believe it was because she was already receiving a disability pension.
  12. suse

    suse Jr. Member

    Your congressman should be stressing the hardship situation in getting the fiduciary process completed. When our senator got involved in the completion of pension & then fiduciary completion it happened. Senator stressed hardship after receiving the necessary letter from me about the hardship involved while waiting for approval.

  13. Max

    Max Hero Member

    This doesn't guarantee a response to be honest. Everyone who is applying for pension benefits is experiencing a hardship. If they weren't, they wouldn't be applying in the first place. Because so many people have written to their congressional offices, VA has really reduced any kind of expedited action based on the receipt of a congressional inquiry. To be frank about it, unless there is a hardship like homelessness, terminal illness, or basic utility termination, waiting in line so that the people who have had their claims pending the longest can go first is pretty much the only option. Many of the congressional staffers don't like it, but it has been getting to the point where so many people go to their congressional offices that VA has had to divert resources away from processing claims to simply talk to congressional staffers on the phone.
  14. Fillise

    Fillise Newbie

    Exactly how long is this line? We've been waiting to get a determination for almost a year now. My father waived the hearing and agreed to the determination last August and he STILL doesn't have a rating. I've talked to folks in the fiduciary centers in KY and SC and both tell me they can't do anything until they get the determination from the Philly Office. And perhaps folks would not need to involve their representatives if there was at least a minimum level of responsiveness from the VA. I appreciate your efforts to keep us informed, but this is ridiculous.
  15. Max

    Max Hero Member

    You make it sound like the VA is just sitting on their hands. They are processing more claims every year than the year before with less and less people. The problem is that the hiring of more adjudicators isn't keeping up with the receipt of new claims. Congress won't increase hiring (VA was lucky to be exempt from sequestration) so there aren't nearly enough people to process the thousands and thousands of claims that come in every day. Let the VA work the claims they have instead of creating more work by involving congressional inquiries. An inquiry about your individual claim does not solve the problem.
  16. Fillise

    Fillise Newbie

    I don't know what to say to this. I guess our veterans should just shut up and be grateful if the VA gets around to processing their claims at all. I guess the VA is above being held accountable by the taxpayers and their representatives in Congress. I guess it is too much to expect that the phone lines at the VA actually are answered by people who are courteous and knowledgeable. I guess it is too much to expect that the VA actually honor the promises made to our veterans.

    So sorry that processing our veterans claims is such an inconvenience to you.
  17. Max

    Max Hero Member

    What would you suggest they do? Congress won't let them hire more people or change the way in which claims are processed. Their funding to automate some claims processing has been cut and even people who retire can't be replaced.

    My point is that congress is the one to blame here and the process needs to be changed. In the meantime (until the process is changed), VA needs temporary workers to get the backlog down. In 2009 after they were able to hire temporary workers under the stimulus, many claims for survivor benefits averaged a total processing time of under 60 days. Once those workers were let go, the processing time increased again.

    Contacting a congressman about one claim doesn't do anything to fix the actual problem.
  18. suse

    suse Jr. Member

    However, perhaps if enough congressmen & women get tired of being called upon to assist veterans, these congressmen & women who have had to hire staff to make these inquiries will begin work on getting changed what needs to be changed. I've said it before on this website..."if nothing changes, nothing changes". If you and I and all the veterans & families who are dealing with these delays or who dealt with them before finally getting approval, accept what is not acceptable we become part of the problem instead of part of a solution. Contacting a congressmen after a year of waiting is not just helping one veteran, it is sending a least in my eyes & hopefully in the eyes of our congressmen. It is also getting approvals done for veterans who are desperate, destitute & hearing the wolves scratching at their doors.

  19. Fillise

    Fillise Newbie

    An Update -- I got a call from a very helpful VA representative from the Philly office today who indicated that the case has been moved to the SC fiducairy center and they will be setting up the appointment with the field examiners within the next few weeks. He told me to go ahead and look into getting a Surety Bond and well as setting up the custodial account. It sounds like we are at last moving in the right direction.

    For all of the times you call the Pension Hotline and get a CSR who just can't tell you anthing, when you get someone who is helpful and knowlegable it just makes the biggest difference. So I'm going to be cautiously optimistic that we are finally making progress.
  20. vetadmin

    vetadmin Administrator Staff Member

    Glad you got someone to help, and fingers crossed for making it to the Finish Line!

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