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 VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained 
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 8:38 pm
Posts: 712
Location: CA
Post VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Still pretty convoluted, but all in one place:

http://www.longtermcarelink.net/elderca ... terans.htm

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Renata (and Jerome-in-Heaven)


Mon Apr 13, 2009 12:14 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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Thanks so much for posting this. I don't know how I missed reading it in April, but it may save me hours of time now. I submitted my dad's VA Aid and Attendance forms (after probably 100 hours of attempting phone calls, meeting with VA reps in 2 states, and any number of documents sent to the wrong place, returned, resubmitted, etc.) in mid-October.
In early April while I was away, I received MORE forms to fill out (I had sent in about 30 pages of forms in Oct.) and then a letter saying I didn't fill them out and get them back to the VA in 30 days so they are denying his claim. I waited 6 months to hear from the VA and when they finally contact me, they gave me less than 30 days to get back to them, without my knowing they'd responded by mail because I was away!
So, now I have a new stack of forms that I just can't bear to complete as it is hours of collecting income and expense figures that are different than they were in Oct. I think with this article I'm finding it won't be worth my time to complete them because of the asset level.
How do very elderly or people who don't have a lot of education ever get through the red tape and frustration of the VA? It is the most dysfunctional, bureaucratic system I've ever had to encounter. Good luck to anyone else trying to successfully get through their incredible maze!
Best to read this article first rather than waste time in the VA system... Lynn


Sat May 08, 2010 9:06 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post Aid and Attendance
Sorry you have had such a hard time with the VA, Lynn. I want to pass along the greatest website on submitting an application for VA Aid and Attendance. I followed their advice on submitting an application and basically ignored the local VA office, which told me that my Mom (a WW II vet) would not qualify. Here's the link: http://www.veteranaid.org/.

We submitted the application (under her scrawled signature) on Feb. 1st. It was a long form. I gathered lots of information. The ALF folks were familiar with the requirements and provided cost care information. I've called the VA every month. I don't have an answer yet, but I was told earlier this week that the VA has made a decision on her Aid and Attendance claim and we should hear in a few weeks.

I have read that others have gotten as much as $1600 a month for a veteran with back pay as much as 12 months. If this is the case for us, it is well worth it. I'll let the forum know how this turns out. In the meantime, I really recommend checking the veteranaid organization out. Our elderly veterans deserve this pension benefit.


Sat May 08, 2010 9:34 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post Success! Aid and Attendance
Good news. I received an envelope from the VA today with approval of my LO's claim for Aid and Attendance at the full amount ($1644/mo.). I'm shocked. From all I've read 3.5 months for a decision since I filed the application is record time. I did request that they expedite the review since she is 87 years old and I guess someone listened.

I sincerely recommend the website veteranaid.org for advice on filing this application. It was so helpful.


Mon May 10, 2010 9:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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Thanks Annie, and congratulations! I think that's about as likely as winning a lottery and you did it! It sure takes a lot of patience and perserverance, doesn't it? And, they supposedly give you money back to when they received the paperwork, so that is good news too. I'm so glad it worked out for you. Lynn


Mon May 10, 2010 9:38 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2008 10:30 pm
Posts: 976
Location: Henderson, Nv.
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Huge kudos to you Annie for getting that claim approved. It restores my faith when I hear a good positive story. I filled out paperwork for several years only to be denied over and over. At one point they had me and family members send them pages of written answers to their questions...then they denied it "because we aren't doctors." lol :lol: Ask for it and then deny it. I wrote to them last year telling them I thought they were waiting for him to die so they wouldn't have to pay...he did. Wish I were in charge of their system...could save them billions in the paperwork alone. I finally did get some help with his health care but had to pay a handsome co-pay. Under the new law which was just signed they are supposed to be eliminating those co-pays. So the work on bills that many of us have supported is finally coming to fruition. I know of a vet that has been trying for 9 years to get help, deserves it, but they just keep denying and requesting more paperwork...its truly a joke. All I can say is keep writing your congressmen, senators, head of the VA and the president. When enough people write, folks listen.
Prayer for all of you tonight.

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Dianne C.


Sun May 23, 2010 5:12 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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I just got a letter back from Congressman Peter Welch, who received a copy of the letter I sent to the VA last month. He offered help from his office. I also met a man yesterday from Disabled Veterans who said that org. will help veterans also with paperwork, trying to get benefits, etc.
I have decided not to do the addional paperwork the VA sent me in April after reading the article posted by Raffcons. My dad's assets at this point exceed their asset criterion. It's not worth my mental health to fill out all these financial things, send in the paperwork, wait another 6 mo. and then get denied, which is probably what will happen given the asset allotment.
Congrats to any of you who have been able to survive running the gauntlet of the VA! It is truly the best example of bureaucracy at its worst. Lynn


Sun May 23, 2010 11:11 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
Posts: 694
Location: LA
Post My experience with VA
During late summer of last year it became obvious the Mr. Bobby's condition was declining so Home Health sent me a social worker to help me make a plan for more help. They sent me a Hospice representative but at the time it would have dismantled everything I already had in place with really not anything added. The social worker also sent me an agency which furnished home assistance. This agency told me of their work co-ordinating with VA and how their services would start immediately with them filing all the paper work. It sounded too good to be true. I tentatively accepted their offer and furnished all the documents they requested while sitting with them here in my own home. The help started immediately, someone came for four or five hours every week day with Saturday and Sundays off. The first young person came and we were not a good match. The second [and permanent] lady came. She was perfect, having had a background in Special Ed., very strong and knowledgeable about caring for patients. My Bobby trusted her immediately and when she helped him after a fall, he knew she was capable of caring for him as well as looking after me. She and Iwere the only two with him in the hospital room as she had her hands on his chest and told me, gently, "Mrs. Dot, I think he's gone". Yes, VA allowed her to spend her hours at the hospital to help as needed there.

This agency directed me to a lady in an office in St. Louis, MO who is assigned to our case. Her name is Nancy and she identified herself over the phone as someone I should consider my secretary. Any and all paperwork from VA should be sent to her to tend to. She worked for approval after his death in November. We were awarded the usual payments with no problems for the normal funeral expences, the flag, the bronze plaque for his headstone. Everything has already been paid except the Aid and Attendence. We are still waiting on that and I am still receiving paperwork. I emailed my local contact for this agency a few days ago asking them if I should be worried. My answer came that I should not be concerned, the payment is usually slow in coming when the "veteran" is deceased and they assured me everything is alright. That is why they stepped in when they did, rather than see me wait for the approval until i did not need them anymore.

This was a blessing to me at the time and I am having less and less contact with my secretary, Nancy, of Veteran's Home Care in St. Louis. She has been extremely effecient and since VA is used to working with her company, things have gone smoothly [if painfully slow].

Dorthea


Sun May 23, 2010 5:34 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:32 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Dumfries Va
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I fought for "3" years to get Aid and Attendance for my mother. After the 3 years and getting an Congressional Inquiry filed in to the VA, they finally responded, approved the A&A and provided 3 years back pay and a monthly allotment of $998. That helped pay her assisted living for a month before she passed away. The VA is a trip to deal with Now am trying to get assistance for the $9,000 stairlift and $6800 Turning Automotive Seat that she needs. After submitting her medical application for 3 times over the past 2 years and being told, "not in system yet" I filed another request through Senator Webb of Virginia. His office really helps.


Tue Jun 15, 2010 1:54 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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For people in those states who have really helpful VA advocates, you are very lucky! For the rest of us, going to your representatives or senators is what is needed. I have given up for the time being, and that is a big relief, not having the VA processes hanging over my head constantly.
Lynn


Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:23 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:32 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Dumfries Va
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Lynn, when applying for my mothers Benefits I went to DAV in Trenton NJ for assistance. They were a waste. All they ever did was read a status for me from their system. They never went to bat for me at all.


Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:41 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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Every time I thought a VA person in VT or MD was being helpful, it would come back to bite me in the butt, so to speak. I'd get all these forms filled out, they'd check them over and tell me where to send them, then 2 months or so later I'd get a call asking why I'd sent Form X to that address, which was wrong, I needed to send it to another address. Or, the whole batch of paperwork would just be returned without a phone call telling me I'd filled out the wrong form AND sent it to the wrong address. I probably spent 100 hours going to meetings, attempting to make phone calls, filling out very lengthy forms, then doing it all over again. Finally I found someone who know what they were doing, but that was after about 3 months of completely wasted time and tons of frustration. I have never seen such a bureaucratic nightmare (except maybe the IRS and Medicare). Lynn


Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:31 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:53 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Davis, CA
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All,

Good, but depressing postings. We are in the process of trying to get the medical benefits for my dad and eventually a widow's benefit for mom when he passes. We have paid someone that AL recommended to help expedite the process, but the paperwork burden has really fallen on family members. We are about to turn the final paperwork and hope for the best. This organization takes a fee to guide you and work your case through appeals, if necessary. We meet the financial criteria so I'm hopeful.

I have sent 2 e-mails to federal Aid and Assistance program and have heard nothing. Is it best to work with local VA or area agency on Aging? Let's hope so because I am getting no response from the feds. I find this shameful. I know they are a big bureaucracy but yo not respond to emails is shameful. Is it almost always necessary to get your congress person involved? What a travesty!


Thu Jul 01, 2010 2:11 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3113
Location: Vermont
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Hi Amanda - it really depends on what state your LO lives in. Some folks on the forum have had excellent help from the VA, others of us have not had good experiences. I was so frustrated about my experience I wrote my congressman, and got a letter back just a couple of days later saying they would be happy to help me. When my dad's assets get low enough, I will have them help me. I just could not go through again what I've been through once. You fill out the stuff, and wait and wait, and then they get back to you months later and need more info. IMMEDIATELY. That was after many meetings, phone calls (isn't their phone system something else?) over 4 months, to get it all right. It apparently wasn't all right even though I had VA folks guiding me every step of the way.
It is disgraceful. Lynn


Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:33 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post VA Assistance Website
Hi Amanda. I'm one of the ones with a successful experience when I applied for VA Pension Aid and Attendance for my Mom (the vet). We received full benefits ($1644/mo) three and a half months after I applied. There is a great website at www.veteranaid.org that has a discussion forum with tips and resources, etc. I followed the guidance to the letter and am continuing to follow it since I hope to be appointed fiduciary. I have also applied for back payment of up to a year prior to when my Mom's claim was approved.

It takes time and attention to detail to do this. I gave up on the local VA organization when the rep. told me that my mother was not eligible. I knew better and told the rep. that he was wrong. He called the regional office in Seattle and was told that yes, she was eligible. He proceeded to tell me that he had sent away the last few families because he had the wrong information and he felt terrible. At that point I knew I could do a better job.

I strongly recommend contacting the veteranaid website. They are very nice and have accumulated lots of information that you can search through.


Thu Jul 01, 2010 5:08 pm
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