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I have applied for the Aid and Attendance Benefit for my Mom as the surviving spouse of a qualifying veteran. From what I have been told, she qualifies for this benefit however it seems to be taking an awfully long time and it sometimes feels we are now getting the run around...I am sure there are others of you out there who have gone through this....on average what time frame has it taken for this process to be approved, from start to finish....We began this back in February and still it drags on...Thanks for any info you can give. I am Mom's caregiver 24/7 and cannot work because I cannot leave her.

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there is a local office that can help you. Know that unless they give you financial advice, it is illegal for anyone to charge for helping you file for benefits. Found this out when I went somewhere that was recommended to me. Found out accidentally and was just about to pay. Thank goodness I found the county resource. Good luck!
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We just received approval for Aid and Assistance for mom. I went to our county’s Veteran’s Assistance office, and the man in charge of benefits was a godsend. We filed on September 25 and recieved the approval letter on 11/16. Along with the application, he included a request that they expedite due to mom’s advanced age (she’s 98). There was no fee involved. Check to see if th
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There are agencies (Patriot Angels) who will assist with filing, however be aware they want a $750.00 fee to the attorney who reviews and files. I went directly to the VA to a contact recommended by my dad's ALF here in Florida. He was wonderful: gave me a list of needed docs and I filed quickly, unfortunately I have been waiting to hear for 3 months now (filed in August 2017). They do pay retroactively from the time of filing if approved for the benefit.
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Arianna2, I can't answer your 2nd question but as to question #1, you will need a court-certified copy of the discharge papers. I had the original paper for my dad but he had never gone to the courthouse to get it certified (I was told this was common). I had to go to my local courthouse and get certified copies made. They did not charge anything for this. Hope this helps.
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We were unbelievably fortunate to receive the pension in 3 months but unfortunate because they took it away after 8 months saying that we did not deserve it. It was then that I sought the help of the Swain Firm, lawyers who know what they are doing for Vets. The pension has since been reinstated and I can only advise everyone to seek help in obtaining it immediately.
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yes a year and the retro 1yr took another year due to the fiduciary to be set up or it would have been couple months less!
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I applied for my mother in September 2012. I had the assistance of a representative of a veteran's non-profit organization (no charge) who helped me navigate the forms. However, it still took 9 months and my mom received her first monthly benefit in May 2013. She did not receive the retroactive pay until November 2013. My mom has Alzheimer's so I had to apply to be appointed as her fiduciary representative and this took extra time. I found the whole process to be extremely frustrating and stressful but am very grateful to have the funds to help pay my mother's care costs--I desperately needed this pension for her.
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Look at AVA's Website. It gives you an idea of the timeline for receiving VA benefits.
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ours took over a year if I remember right!
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I applied for my 89 year old father in April of 2012, still nothing. I sent VA a letter basically begging them to expedite and they responded with a letter basically saying don't call us, we'll call you when we are ready. So, 19 months and counting. This was in Pennsylvania. I called th local VA office and the could not help because I did not apply through the (big mistake), but they did tell me that it is not uncommon to wait 19 months or more, even for widows of veterans who are in need of the aid and attendance. I am so very disappointed in the VA, my father served in WW2, lost a brother in that war, but it means nothing much to them. So good luck to anyone who tries it, I am sorry to report this but it is the sad truth.
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Two questions:
1) Is an original copy of my father's discharge papers necessary to get VA benefits for my mother? Is there any chance that there are records somewhere?
2) Should we wait until my mom's LTC runs out before applying - that is, if we can?
Thanks!
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The application can average 12 months to process, however as an accredited agent, I do recommend that any Veteran or widowed spouse work with an accredited agent only in order to process their claims in the most time effective manner.
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hope22 usfhp military insurance is for surviving spouse . you do need medicare part A & B but usfhp is primary..in fact on the insurance card it states same. my husband was 100 & disabled and had 20 yrs in navy reserves with a 20 yr. retirement letter. I'm sure he would have been well covered. He was an E-7 and passed in 1981. luck to you.......
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We have similar groups locally that help vets and elders... I just never thought about looking into getting any more..

I recently was told by someone that works the VA, that not all programs are the same in every VA district, she felt highly disappointed at what few programs are offered here for veterans compared to other parts of the country where she worked.. they are all VA, but divided into sections and some have more funds for programs then others.
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Reverseroles,

I have been looking into this..

I plan to call a lawyer I know that does pro bono work for Vietnam Vets in his county in another state, as his father died waiting for benefits many years ago, and this is what led him to be a lawyer and working with Vietnam Vets.

Yes, daycare is paid for by the VA, he is 100% service connected Permanent and Total.

ALL his health care is at the VA and we pay nothing, including day care and respite.. today we picked up his new mobility scooter, and the VA paid for that and the lift, receiver that the car needed.

In the end, A&A is generally for non service connected disabilities for veterans or their surviving spouse on limited incomes. From what I read, I think what we get may qualify more under housebound then A&A, I know that he qualified for both from his original rating.


Post 9/11 veteran caregivers DO get paid from the VA without a lot of paperwork and hassles, when they started that program I felt it was unfair for older vets, as my hubby is Vietnam and there are many Korea and WWII vets that could use more help with caregivers.

Since I don't spend any of my own money, I don't have income and I am supported by hubby with his VA and SS benefits, I am guessing they feel I wont qualify for anymore..

I will see what I can find out this coming week...
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mymares, if the daycare is free it must be paid also by the Veterans then? If you have a caregivers contract you can get that pay for yourself as long as you are givng medical care. I would call and ask this company, even though you moved, maybe they can still help you.Elder Resource Benefits Consulting
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avcidy....is this for veterans or their surviving spouses also? so this replaces the Medicare, A&B and supplemental?
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My goverment insurance is USFHP its the best keep secret since the A bom it mirrors tri care prime but its in its own catagory. I have had it since 1981 a very good insurance...you have to hunt down Drs. who accept it. I deal with a case manager who usually are good blood hounds....I've been very lucky to have this plan....any one else out there with this secret insurance ?
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I, like mymares, agree that of all the government agencies I have dealt with, the Department of Veterans Affairs is the best. Those folks actually CARE about our veterans and do not take their jobs lightly...
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Also, this benefit has been earned by your loved one who was a service member ...it is not something you should have to fight for....it just takes finding the right person to do this....Now that I am almost through the process I think I could get it done a lot faster, but no one knew a thing about it at the outset when I began and so it was like walking with blinders on.. :(
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To my knowledge you do NOT have to be in a facility...we have never been told this and I have spoken to the folks at the Department of Veterans Affairs....also, one of my friends father in law is a disable vet, lives at home and his son cares for him and he receives it so I think that is not accurate that you must live there....what I have also found out through a lot of trial and error is that many people who work for the VA do not really know much about the A&A benefit....the man whom I found to be the most helpful so far has been a retired Army Ranger who is now a Veterans Service Officer right here in our city...so I would find a local VSO office and check with them...the retired veterans also seem to care a lot more about this issue....

And I agree re the $200 amount that someone is getting...that sounds way off...especially if they require 24/7 care and you are the one who gives it...you can appeal that....and I do think a congressman who works with the VA is MUCH more helpful than an attorney..a lot of attorney's dont even know about this and the ones who do are in it for one thing.....
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@Reverseroles

We went thru the DAV who originally helped us with my husbands claim, tho we lived in New Hampshire when he first filed. And the VA there was not as overwhelmed as here in NE FL.

His Social Worker at the VA gathered all paperwork we needed to file for A&A and the DAV SO we saw was impressed with what she put together for us..

With the filing the VA found hubby incompetent and I am now his Federal Fiduciary.

Yes, he needs help with his ADL's.. I have give him his meds, cook, clean for him.. He does not drive anymore. I help bathe him, help him dress and at times in the bathroom..
This week the roll in shower that we got from a HISA grant was put in and that is helpful with my back and worries about his getting and in out of tub. Tomorrow, we pick up his new mobility scooter and lift for the car.. The HISA grant and scooter (he has a used one that I bought that comes apart to go into car) were all suggested by and appts set up by his social worker.. Sadly, she recently left and moved to another VA area to be close to family..

No one could never answer me why we only got the $200+ a month. Even the field examiner from the Fiduciary Office thought we were not getting enough.. THO, I have also learned there are some things not to push within the VA as you can lose what you have. As someone who works there said to me, "the VA gives and the VA takes away." and we cant afford to have any taken away.. I really would like an answer as to how they come to the figure they award for A&A..

I know sometime in the future I will not be able to care for him anymore.. I have paperwork to fill in for the Veterans Home. I just haven't the heart to fill it in, guilt feelings . And if and when he goes there I will lose the A&A since I wont be his caregiver anymore.

THe VA also pays for him to go to Adult Day Care, he can go 5 days, but I usually bring him 2, except when the workers were here for the roll in shower, then he and the dog went to their day cares for the noise and disruptions.

And he goes to respite 2 times a year for 2 weeks..

In the end, I really cant complain about the VA, I know many have issues with them. I feel we are fortunate that he was found 100% P&T at first filings..

I have learned, who and how to ask for things. But I still feel I am worth more then $212 a month! even a part time job @ 10 hours a week I would make more then that!
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If you use a competent firm that specializes in Federal Benefits Planning (meaning both Medicaid and VA benefits) the process should not take more than 5 to 6 months. This is assuming that a "Fully Developed Claim Application" is submitted.

It is extremely important that you consider and plan for the possibility of the applicant needing rehabilitation care or nursing home care in the future which VA Pension does not cover. The Medicaid ICP Program covers the above types of care. Since the VA rules are very different than Medicaid rules, preparing for both programs concurrently is essential.
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My dad passed waiting on his 5++ years.:(
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Wow. We applied for A&A several years ago! -- with the assistance of a very nice local DAV representative (Disabled American Veterans, dav.org). As others say, it has been wait wait push push. We've even had to keep pushing the DAV representative, who is volunteer and overloaded.

First, for well over a year we received no response from VA. Finally the DAV guy called them and they said some needed paper had not been filed with the application. So there was back and forth on that. Then, because my vet had checked a box saying I was needed to handle the utility bill paying, they started a Fiduciary process to declare him incompetent and name me as Fid. (Moral -- if you declare yourself incompent, you're incompetent, LOL.) The DAV guy knew who to call at the VA, said they don't like appointing Fiduciaries becasue it is extra paperwork for them, so they default to Competent if they can. We also sent letters from his civilian doctor and lawyer, but that might not have been necessary.

Finally the VA sent a denial of the claim. So it has been back and forth with NODs etc, again us push DAV to push VA, push push. The denial may be legit according to their regulations, something wierd about the disabiity having to be service connected or blah blah -- but our DAV guy says the claim should qualify, so I guess we'll keep trying. Trying through DAV doesn't cost anything except time and headaches. If someone knows a better agency to try through (Seattle area), pls let me know!

@ smg2013, there would be retro payments if it's ever approved. (You might try fighting for this through a good representative.)

@ grannyof12, in WA nothing has been said about being in a facility -- he's not. VA is federal, so I don't see how it would be different in different states. Since it was a facility that told you he'd have to move in, be suspicious, check with an agency that is not trying to get you as a customer!
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My 85 year old mother was in the system and waiting over 18 months for a benefit my father worked hard for over the course of 33 years in the Air Force. My mother died having never receiving the benefits and leaving my husband and I in debt as we covered her financial costs. Month after month we would receive no reply to endless paperwork that was requested. It's curious that within three days of my mother's death we finally received communication from the VA. It simply said that our request for benefits were terminated due to her death. We only got their attention after my mother died, adding insult to injury. So much for retro benefits to the date of application. My mother desperately needed the Aid and Attendance Benefit, to which see was entitled, and the VA looked the other way! Why offer this benefit when they do not intend on following through. Good luck to you.
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My 85 year old mother was in the system and waiting over 18 months for a benefit my father worked hard for over the course of 33 years in the Air Force. My mother died having never receiving the benefits and leaving my husband and I in debt as we covered her financial costs. Month after month we would receive no reply to endless paperwork that was requested. It's curious that within three days of my mother's death we finally received communication from the VA. It simply said that our request for benefits were terminated due to her death. We only got their attention after my mother died, adding insult to injury. So much for retro benefits to the date of application. My mother desperately needed the Aid and Attendance Benefit, to which see was entitled, and the VA looked the other way! Why offer this benefit when they do not intend on following through. Good luck to you.
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My experience with the VA was this: It took 18 mos. for them to approve the application. I completed the application on my own, took it to the Veterans Service Organization (VSO) and had them review it before submitting it. I called numerous times and would get conflicting information depending on who I spoke to. When they finally did approve the application, they paid her retroactive monies to the beginning of the process. If you are the VA appointed fiduciary (another drawn out process) be prepared to do an accounting for those monies. Also, someone from the fiduciary unit will visit both the beneficiary and you in person. It is a tedious process.

The VSO was very helpful. But, I called for myself. Keep notes on the conversations that you have with the reps. trust me they come in handy.

I also found that even though I was my cousins court appointed guardian and conservator the VA would NOT accept those documents. They required me to complete their paperwork for fiduciary responsibilities. The utterly mind blowing thing that frustrated me was they kept asking me to have my cousin sign documents that she could not understand, even after I explained until I was blue in the face that the woman has Alzheimer's. They didn't care.

So, depending on your situation you may not have to wait as long. I was told that I could submit paperwork for a hardship if I wanted the paperwork processed faster. That meant that my cousin had to be in the process of being evicted and or destitute. Since she didn't meet that criteria, I had to wait it out.

Good luck.

cyoungbooks
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grannyof12, where I live in Oklahoma, yes, they do have to be already living in a care facility before you can even apply for A & A. That's because we had to document how much my mother's room & board at the NH was on the application. It may be different in other states.
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Just sent in the VA application and will be waiting with you all. It did take a some time to get all the papers necessary to file. I did every thing myself so I hope I did everything right.
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