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Totally agree with OH....I completed all the paperwork for my Mom's VA Aid and Attendance and while it was a little time consuming it is TOTALLY DOABLE..without paying a lawyer...The American Legion is indeed excellent, our local VA office at the courthouse could have helped us with it as well...my brother involved himself in getting someone in a different county, which I know he meant well, but all it did was delay it...but we did get it..and the thing is go ahead and get it filed ASAP..because once they have the initial paperwork, if and when it is approved they pay you retroactively...it has helped our situation immensely. Because I am my Mama's 24/7 caregiver I am also able to include MY time and count that towards caregiving expenses...Be sure to count it if you are an at home caregiver..it made a huge difference in our monthly benefit. Good luck..it's not complicated...just a little time consuming...
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I would NEVER pay a lawyer or anyone else. There are MANY knowledgeable orgs. out there. The American Legion is a good one. My daughter assisted me in getting my A&A took 3 months, AFTER getting my Senator involved. It seems to work every time. There are Many groups that help us Vets. file paperwork. The VA has many websites that explain all benefits. Just look for them. It can all be done on line now. Apply and upload all necessary docs. right there on "ebenefits.va.gov". Good luck people and DO NOT PUT IT ZZOFF!
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I filed in January of 2013. We got Mom's first payment the end of December...so about 11 months. the payment is retroactive but they withhold the retro part until they have made a personal visit I was told to your home to confirm that the applicant is indeed housebound, in need of someone to handle their affairs, etc. We are still waiting for this visit. I finally started calling the Milwaukee office directly as the lady who first helped start the process for us did not tell us correctly and each time we had to resubmit something only delayed it two or three months. One thing that applied to our situation, I had to leave my job, my retirement, lost my health insurance, the works, to do this for my Mom. Accordingly I am a 24/7 caregiver and in addition to caring for her am solely responsible for taking care of the home, the lawn, the works...I was told after the fact that I could include caregiving cost even though I was the caregiver...they will pay only the prevailing rate in your area...which in our area it is 10/hr but had I known that we would have been elibible for the maximum monthly benefit...as is, we are only receiving about one third that amount, but I can appeal but heaven knows how long that is going to take, but I am doing it for sure. In summation, get someone to help you from the VA office, most counties have a rep who does this and make sure they are knowledgeable...I began to sense pretty quickly my "assistant" didn't know very much and was dragging her feet...It helped when I started calling Milwaukee directly...and by all means in any correspondence be sure you include the fact that your parent or whoever you are filing for is advance age...this is supposed to help prioritize the whole process. I would not get discouraged. We were denied the first time around, but as I mentioned, had not been properly informed so we appealed and won and it is a huge help. Best of luck...
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Suzy6, I dont understand that at all, you can have up to $80,000 in the bank and get on the VA A&A . If I were you, I would contact a specialist and ask about this, not a VA person either.
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Our wait was about 6mos and we did get backpay. Quite nice actually.. very large check and not taxable. We live in WI and the VA admin was very helpful. We had to go to the office twice but the rest was over the phone or by mail. The hardest part was providing his divorce dates from 2 previous marriages. He had to prove he was divorced before they would accept our marriage license. Once that was taken care of, we got extra cash for me and they pay for me to be his caregiver. Its really worth all the effort.
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Suzy6X- The VA Rep that I'm working with said that if I can provide receipts for anything that was paid toward my parents medical care in the year that I filed the claim can be deducted from their reported income/savings. I also asked him about prepay burial and he said that could be deducted as well. I asked him about sitters, Ensure, Depends, etc and he said all of those were deductible expenses. I would follow back up with the VA on this.
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It only took my father in law 3 months to get his checks started but his wife died shortly after and we had to report the 25,000 life insurance, which he used half for an expensive funeral and tombstone. The VA told us because of the insurance he had went over what he was allowed to make, even though we were paying sitters for him. They stopped his checks and made us pay back almost 5000 dollars, back to the time his wife died. What a headache. I had just went through heck getting all the documents together to get it for him. They said he could reapply in August. If you can you should stash some back, you never know if you might have to pay it back. If there's no spouse maybe you won't have this problem.
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I also made a call to our Congresswoman who was super nice about it.
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I used this company and their turn around is 3 months because they do it right the first time, its also free.I screwed up after waiting17 months and then paid her to fix the mistakes the VA person who helped me made. In less than 3 months mom got approvedand a retroactive check came.
Elder Resource Benefits Consulting
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I have just been through the process. I had never heard of this benefit until another Veteran told me about it. He said they (the VA) did not really want people to know about it. Whether true or not, it took me 15 months to receive the funds my dad qualified for..

I did not know this site existed simply because I did know that this assistance was called American Veterans Aid. Check it out.
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50sChild-appreciate your response. Did me good to read about another family in a similar situation. Well done.
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My Dad has "level 3" of the VA improved pension, which is Aid & Attendance. Two others levels I am aware of include "Basic" and "Housebound." My Dad's application took over 18 months, because on the VA Physician's Report (form VA 21-2680), his doctor indicated Dad needed help with "virtually all ADLs" (ADL = Activities of Daily Living). That triggered the VA to reply that Dad had to be declared "incompetent" (in the VA's eyes) -- which was easily done by Dad signing his own declaration of incompetence on a special VA form (note, this is NOT the same as a court of law declaring him incompetent). There were so many forms needed to move along the application, and the wait for a VA field officer to visit Dad in his home took well over 8 months. I was fortunate to have gone to a local county-sponsored VA benefits office (not the VA itself, but folks trained in VA benefits) -- who were incredible. The social worker literally walked my Dad's file over to the Detroit office and put it in front of someone who was able to somehow flag it for prioritization (Dad was a nuclear occupation Navy man who spent a bit of time on the post-bomb raw ground in Nagasaki). Without the help of VA-trained counselors or social workers, I think the process would have been impossible. Since Dad's benefit began, the VA has streamlined some processes. My advice is to definitely go to a VA social workers (at a VA center), a VA-benefit certified social worker at a county or VSO (Veterans Service Organization), or if you can afford it, hire someone. To my sadness, I had hired a VA-certified eldercare lawyer for first $5000, who basically just told us to "spend all your Dad's money." When we were charged another $2500 for billable hours that never existed (example, one 2 hour bill on the day my Mother died when we were holding her hand all day) -- I contacted the second lawyer. Lawyer 2 was very kind and "reasonable" at $2500, and basically created a "Legacy Trust," which allowed my sister and I to withdraw Dad's money to in turn use it for Dad's care, as the money was no longer Dad's. However -- when consulting with our county-sponsored VA office, they told me I wouldn't have had to spend a dime if I came to them, that they would have ushered us through the whole process without any charge. So first exhaust your free agencies. Then pay a lawyer once you know a whole lot more.

You should know that the benefit will be retroactive to the date of application (send by certified or registered mail for proof). Also, if your parents should die before the application is approved, you are still eligible for all retro payments up to the day of the parent's death. You have to be like a pit bull in persistence and follow up. Save all communication. When my Dad signed for his incompetence, it was supposed to speed up the process by about a year. It didn't. However, it meant we didn't have to wait for a VA examination. The VA released a partial benefit, I was appointed a VA Custodian for my Dad, and finally we received all retro pay. In the nick of time, too as Dad was in the hole and we hadn't begun Medicaid planning. Whew. VA Aid and Attendance has been a godsend, and I believe is the difference between Dad having a happy life in his own home, or severe depression somewhere else. Having had shock treatments/semi-lobotomy in WWII, it is amazing all this man contributed and still does to the family's spirit.
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Thanks Honeywms! I will try that!
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I would send a copy of the letter to your congressman. My application took 3 months.
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I hired someone to help me. Even with someone representing my parents I was told up to 24 months. When I initially signed them up my mom was 89 and dad was 90. My dad has recently passes away. My mom is on Hospice and they are writing a letter on my mom's behalf indicating due to her health and age the importance of moving them along in the line. I was told that sometimes the letter will help.
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You may contact your congressman to speed it up. It is retroactive.
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Average wait time is 4-8 months.
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