We finally got it!

Discussion in 'Share Your Personal Experience' started by casagrayson, Jul 2, 2016.

  1. casagrayson

    casagrayson Newbie

    I applied for Aid and Attendance benefits for both of my parents -- they are both WWII veterans and both need care for their illnesses. I turned in the original applications on Dec 31, 2015; both were denied in April due to having too many assets. (I made a mistake and didn't think that IRAs would count as joint assets available to both of them.) I resubmitted the expenses statement since by that time we had spent down their assets to below the unofficial $80K limit. I got very frustrated because the website would say letters had been sent out but we never received them; at times it appeared we were very close to a decision but then the website showed regression to previous steps; etc.

    Finally, I wrote their Congressional Representative. This is the letter that I submitted via her website:

    I am writing on behalf of my parents, xxxx. They are 94 and 95 years old, respectively, and both served in the U.S. Navy during WWII. After leaving the service, they settled in xxxx, where they raised three children and lived in the same house for over 65 years. My father worked for over 35 years at General Dynamics, retiring in 1982. They have been model members of the community and active members of the Fort Worth WWII Veterans’ Group. In fact, both parents were recognized and honored on stage by then- Lt. Governor Abbott at the RNC convention in June 2014.

    In December of 2015, my father was released from a long stay at a rehabilitation center, and it was clear that he and my mother were no longer able to live at their home due to his mobility issues and her memory. (As Mom used to say, I’ve got the brawn and he’s got the brains, and together we make a whole person.) They are both receiving medical care now at an assisted living facility.

    I was made aware of the Aid and Attendance Benefit through the VA and filed a claim for benefits for each of my parents on December 31, 2015, and filed for expedited processing due to being over age 90 on January 14, 2016. I finally received denial letters for both of them in the second week of March, the stated reason being too many assets. There is no official limit on assets (although I understand the $80K is an “unofficial” amount that many VA auditors apply at their discretion). By the time the denial letters were received, my parents’ assets were diminished below that arbitrary amount due to ongoing expenses of $7500 per month. I reapplied for both of them in the first week of April, providing an asset statement totaling less than $80K.

    Representative Granger, my parents are very proud of their service during WWII. They have never asked anything of the Veterans’ Administration, and have continued to be proud patriots and citizens. However, now that they do need some help, we feel completely stonewalled. The process is so tedious, so paperwork intensive, and so subjective that a claimant can never know if the application is filed in accordance with guidelines. Additionally, any minor error is justification for denial, all subject to the vague VA standards. It is almost as if the VA is trying to stall until one (or both) pass away so that the “problem” goes away. Is this really how our government wants to treat members of The Greatest Generation, or do we just want to use them as props for election campaigns?

    Ironically, just last week on Armed Services Day my father received an email from the VA thanking him for his service. We would rather the time and energy be spent handling his request for a benefit that he deserves. I’d appreciate any help you could provide in getting this claim approved.

    I received a phone call from her VA liaison within days. He had already made a request for expedition to his VA contact. I was treated with such respect and courtesy by him throughout this entire process. He was available to me any time I emailed or called. At one point, my father coded in the hospital and the doctors were giving him days to live and this liaison pushed folks into immediate action. He called me later that morning, told me my dad was approved for the full benefit amount, and emailed me the letter that I would have had to wait weeks for. I was thrilled to see that the VA approved back pay to the original date of submission. The Congressional liaison made things happen in two weeks after I had spent six months trying to work the system myself. (In all fairness, though, he wouldn't have been able to help had I not supplied all the correct information that was needed ... and I learned much of that through this forum!) He is now working on my Mother's application; she is a dependent on Dad's but given his condition she will probably soon need her own.

    Thanks to everyone here for all the help and encouragement. It's been a battle, but these elderly veterans deserve the pension that the government guaranteed them.
    gmasjo likes this.
  2. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    That is awesome news, casagrayson! I'm so glad your situation with your parents' Aid and Attendance benefit worked out. Thank you for sharing your success story and also your example of your senatorial inquiry you made on your parents' behalf.
  3. casagrayson

    casagrayson Newbie

    I have even better news to share today. I got a phone call (amazing, right?) from the VA. The man I spoke to said that they had made an error in their processing. He said that *both* of my parents were eligible for the pension on their own (both have medical issues that require help in assisted living) but that the original award was for only my dad's A&A. They were providing my mother with her own award, which increased the award by $10K per year. I really didn't know how they were going to handle this - so it's good to know that if both vets need assistance, it is important to apply for each one individually.
  4. Kaylin

    Kaylin Hero Member Staff Member

    It seems like you're finally getting what your parents deserve, casagrayson! Again, such amazing news and thank you for sharing with us. :)

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