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How long did it take to start receiving the help?

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I applied for VA benefits for my mother in September 2012 and did not receive the first check until May 2013. I went through a VA rep and it was still an arduous process. She didn't receive the retroactive payment for another 3 or 4 months. She was in an assisted living home at the time. She passed away at the end of 2013.
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I have been told there isan advicate at our local VFW who will be able to help me with my application.
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My brother applied in September 2015 and my father received a check deposited to his account in October of this year (2015). We researched Aid and Attendance and gathered all required forms and artifacts- my brother hand delivered it to the VA center in Cleveland. We really learned a lot from this website and followed all directions: http://www.veteranaid.org
- this site has all info and a forum with helpful tips. Created by a frustrated widow of a vet.
Good Luck
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I am delighted to see so many posts relating positive experiences with the VA. Am especially impressed by anyone who could make it through the application process on their own. Congratulations. I mean it, guys.
My own story doesn't have such a happy ending. Hopefully, others can learn from my foolishness. Here goes:
Last year my 95-year old mother, a WWII vet, moved into a studio apartment at a nearby assisted living facility. She has always been frugal, but now when you add up her rent, in-home health care, prescriptions, incontinence supplies and what-not, her expenses exceed her income (Social Security and a modest teacher's pension) by around $1,500 a month. Saddened to see her life savings draining away, she thought VA Aid & Attendance benefits might be a good idea. Sounded good to me too.
"Don't worry Mom, I'll handle the paperwork."

It didn't take long to discover a surprising variety of VA A&E forms available on the internet. Even figuring out which form to use was a challenge. The VA is also fond of arcane military abbreviations, making their documents doubly confusing. I was going need a little help.
So I continued searching the internet, looking for outfits offering assistance to people submitting VA claims. Along the way, I learned that advice from well-meaning people at local VFW posts can be unreliable, at best. It's far wiser to seek help from a professional, someone experienced at successfully handling VA claims.
Okay. Here's one that looks promising. A local "wealth management" firm offering free advice on applying for VA benefits. (Free? I should have known better.) Turns out, these outfits get fat commissions by moving veteran's assets into questionable annuities or screwy irrevocable trusts. Worse, these money transfers act as a red flag to Medicaid, who may deny benefits later down the line. Ouch.
Luckily, I never got far enough in the process to screw up like that. That's not to say I didn't get pretty far. My crackerjack wealth-management team courteously provided me with a weekly "homework" assignment meant to keep the paperwork process rolling. Over the next month or so, the VA Aid & Attendance application would become like a part-time job.
Tracking down the necessary legal documents was a pain. Then, tallying up and providing proof of payment for each and every expense Mom had over THE PAST YEAR was a real headache. Once all these documents were finally assembled, the VA's (abbreviated) forms had to be filled in "just so." Or else.
Regrettably, I also pestered Mom's doctor, assisted-living manager, and in-home health care staff to fill out their OWN set of VA forms. Arrgh.
Finally, I had everything in order. Congratulating myself on of my own tenacity, I scheduled another meeting with my team of friendly financial advisers. Always helpful, they said would call in their own, VA-approved lawyer to review my final submission. No charge. What a great bunch of guys.
Next day, we all gathered around the conference table. Smiles gleaming, the wealth management team commenced a hard-sell pitch. They were actually trying to convince me that the only way Mom could qualify for VA benefits would be to purchase their annuities or stash her money in a (VA side-stepping) irrevocable trust. Sheesh. They hadn't talked more than five minutes before I realized, "What a bunch of scumbags."
Be that as it may, I DID manage to learn something useful that day. Something I wish I'd known before wasting so much time. Something you should probably know, too.
Here's the deal: If a veteran has less than $8,000 in total assets, they're probably going to eligible for full VA Aid & Attendance benefits. Up to $80,000, and the VA calculates the claim against the person's expected lifespan. For instance, a 97-year old vet with $60,000 in assets probably won't qualify -- even if their living and medical expenses exceed their income. The VA figures they have enough money to see them through.
Assets over $80,000? Forget it. That's when the wealth-management sharks begin to circle. They're not only out to scam you, they're also out to scam the VA. Their methods of hiding assets may be legal, but they are clearly deceitful. So don't be a jerk. VA benefits are there to assist veterans who NEED the money, not those who just WANT the money.

So I walked away. Weeks of paper shuffling, all for nothing. My mother simply didn't qualify. And I wasn't going to lie about it.

My (free!) advice to you: Avoid any "financial planning" outfit offering free advice applying for A&E benefits. ESPECIALLY if the word "Veteran" appears in their company name. What a bunch of low-lifes.

Luckily, Mom and I managed to escape unharmed. Others haven't been so lucky.
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Hello JoAnn29,
You are thinking of a different VA benefit for those whose spouses retired from the military. Spouses whose partner died as a result of service can also get DIC every time they are single, but for Pension, they cannot have remarried - this law went into effect on 11/1/1990
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Hello Christine73,
You have to use the service of the person you are currently married to apply for benefits, so if she was married to a non-veteran, the Pension was not available to her. There are no benefits, as far as I know, for the family of a remarried spouse to apply for after her passing.
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Weeone-Does patient need Nursing Home or Assisted living?Big difference you can use aid and attendance from the VA if they qualify for an ALF/Adult Care Facility or home care to come in but if it is a Nursing Home they put them on Medicaid and drop their VA benefit to $90 per month as Ramiller said and hit the nail on the head!..Crazy is what I thought, so I guess because it comes out of the governments pocket either way this is how they do it.If you can get them in an ALF with a Extended Care license or extended nursing license or with age an in place program you would still qualify for the full VA and Social Security. I don't know what the physical/mental limitations are for your family member so that makes a difference as well as what part of the country and what is available in your area! So if possible and able I would look to a extended care facility unless you have good NH's in your area that accept Medicaid pending-up to a year to a year and and half at this time and if they don't qualify you will have to pay for it out of pocket. NH's here that are worth anything are $10-12k per month and if you want to go on Medicaid you just have to accept whatever place has a bed opening. This was a huge battle with me only 5 w/ ECC in 2 counties-nice one was full w/waiting list, others were completely unacceptable!!!!! The only bed in the county with "medicaid pending" was so disgusting I wanted to vomit, patients screaming, trying to get out of the doors, nurses sleeping in the halls. I was at my wit's end and Lydia pulled through for me!...."A Place for Mom" just sent me a link to Medicare's site which I had already, very disappointed in them and would not advise anyone to use them...Lydia makes personal calls to the administrators, finds openings in top rated facilities, ALF's, Memory Care, Adult Care homes w/ extended licenses etc....and works within your families budget.
VA -It took me over a year once we got it rolling and all paperwork in to the VA, yes you can do it yourself online- I did, but they slow time it as much as possible. Have ALL the docs they require sent in at once, send everything certified mail so you can track it and you have a date stamp. Stick w/ the VA they may turn you down depending on the monthly income the vet or spouse receives but as long as you can show the cost of care/facility is more than their $2,000 limit of monthly income you should be OK! Make sure you have the correct address for your area(there are several on their website).Took another 9 months to receive retroactive benefits.FYI the had a large fire at the VA where they stored military records, unable to find my dad's Army records BUT he also served in the Navy in a different war during active duty so they were able to go off that. As Ramiller said above, I have found a Adult Family Care Home licensed by the state ..so much better than a NH environment!!!Yes, I come out of pocket even with the VA and SS but it is worth it for a decent place!Good luck and best wishes for finding a good place, hopefully you are in a big city!
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once a person is on medicaid and in a nursing home the highest monthly award is 90.00 and that replaces the $60.00 medicaid would have paid as monthly stipend. Since medicaid and VA benefits are both considered federal help, you can only receive one not both. If a person is private pay in nursing home and they want VA help to cover cost that will not happen. The applicant cannot have more than 60,000 in assent to apply for A&A benefits. Since that is the case at the going rate of 7-8 thousand dollars a month a person would spend down and qualify for medicaid in less than 9 months and at that time VA would stop paying the 1149.00 maxium award and only pay the 90.00 stipend. So you have to decide is it worth the 30.00 extra a month, perhaps but everyone has to make that decision. Balance the time v/ the payout. Now if a person is in an adult foster home for the aged as my mother is, the cost is 3000.00 a month so the VA benefits will help us stretch her money and keep her out of nursing home and off medicaid for a few years. Also when she was at home the benefits helped defray the cost of caregivers. And yes the process is moving much faster now, except when it comes to back payments that have to be administered be a feduciary, we have yet to hear from them to set that up. My rep say at least 6 month backlog.
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Someone said on another thread that a divorced spouse can not apply. I think ur thinking af Social Security. You maybe able to get from a divorced spouse if married for 40 quarters (10yrs). Someone also said that the VA help stops if Medicaid kicks in.
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I applied for VA for my father in November of 2014. He was in failing health but did not have tremendous expenditures at the time. He began receiving a small stipend in February of 2015. Meanwhile, he fell and broke his hip in January 2015. Since he and Mom were both failing at that point, I filled out paperwork listing all their unreimbursed medical expenses from January 2015 through July 2015 in August of 2015 with a letter stating they were going to begin around the clock care in their home in September of 2015. In October of 2015, I received notice that they would receive an increased monthly amount for January 2015 through the remainder of 2015 (along with a retroactive check) with a greatly increased amount starting in February of 2016. I am sure that the amounts and the timing relate to Dad's expenses versus his income. At the beginning of September 2015, Mom and Dad began having 24 hour care in their home. I am not sure of VA's timing as far as waiting periods or other rules, but the monthly amount has to do with the amount of their unreimbursed expenses versus their income. I filed the application and subsequent papers myself, but used the county veteran's affairs office to go through the Marine Corps League as my father was a Marine during WWII. I have found the VA process to much less unpleasant that what I expected.
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I applied for my mom November of 2014, and she starting receiving benefits in July, 2015. I am awaiting retroactive monies from November.
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A spouse who remarries a non veteran is usually non eligible for the benefit.

The VA is proposing some very draconian changes, and has not Except for a January 23, 2015 notice in the federal register, made the intentions widely available to those who need to know.

A medicaid recipient in a nursing home will recieve a monthly allowance of about $90.00 for 'personal maintenance'
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We applied through my local Veterans Affairs Office and mom got he award letter within 3 weeks.
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The VA received our application on behalf of my father-in-law on Sept. 16. We are waiting for a response. We requested his application be expedited because he's 92, in failing health and in a nursing home. Praying we hear something soon.
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I'm sorry to hijack this thread, but, I recently found out that my mom was married to a veteran for 10 years before she met my dad! She's already on Medicaid in a nursing home, and I'm sorry she never got to take advantage of any VA spousal benefits. I wonder if I could apply for a receive something after her death that would help with her final expenses. By right, she should have received benefits long before she went on Medicaid. I would hope that would make those benefits exempt from MERP. Again, sorry to hijack this thread, but people here seem to have experience with the VA. Thank you.
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I applied through my local Veterans Affairs Office
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It took 7 months for us to get my mom's VA Aid and Assistance
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We applied for my Mother from my Father's service and it took about 6 months but that was several years ago. I would presume all the other posts are more accurate today than mine. I would suggest though going to one of the VA Hospitals in person to do it or at least to follow-up.
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Hello, I applied for moms a&a benefits. I did the application myself and took it to the local va office in order to have a face to face rep i could call if necessary. Mom received first ckeck in 3 months. I wrote out my entire process step by step, it hopes that it would help others. Find my contact info on my profile page. Glad to help when i can
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I filed for my father through our local VA vet rep in October 2014, and received the first check the end of December 2014
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Hello Weeone,
The VA tells you to expect 9-12 months with their goal being 4 months. This is a big improvement, they used to tell you to expect 12 - 18 months :)
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God, I admire your and tenacity!

Congratulations!
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Hi there, this is a copy of what I posted quite a while ago. "Started a discussion 7/10/2014 at 12:42 pm
My Mom received her VA Aid and Attendance award letter!
Hi there, I'm only putting this as a discussion because I have seen past inquiries regarding the length of time it took. We originally sent in our application in November of 2013. I'm the daughter, and I was applying for the surviving spousal benefits for my mother I did it all on my own right down to printing out the application off of the internet. Mom had been living with me, and we were originally denied, but I sent in an appeal after my mother moved to assisted living in April. I received the award letter on July 8th, 2014. She received the maximum entitlement amount, and it says her effective date is November 25, 2013..and that she should receive her retroactive check within 15 days. This is so wonderful for mom, and will keep her in a private room a little longer.
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