How to apply for benefits for my Dad who is 85 years old and did fight in two wars as a 20 year veteran?

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Is it best to file for benefits on your own or get an attorney to file for you?

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Patriots Angels is an organization that first establishes whether your Veteran/Veteran's spouse is eligible for any benefits then will refer you to their legal representative ($750). This organization was wonderful to work with and cut down the qualifying time to merely months!! They walk you through the documentation needed and get everything submitted for you, navigating through a very complex system. It took us 4 months and we recently got Mom Aid & Attendance benefits (retroactive to our intent to apply date) Check out their website and decide for yourself. $750 is a small investment to get the benefits sooner than months/years later...
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Reply to tharris
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I assume you are talking about a VA pension and you should be able to go to a local VA office , however; to qualify his total assets not counting his home must be less than 80000. Additionally, in order to qualify he must be getting some sort of medical/ assistance either at home. On the other hand it is much easier to qualify if he is in assisted living or a nursing home. It will take approximately 5-6 months but after the initial filing the payments are retroactive. There are companies which will gather all the info and submit the paper work for you; in my case I did it all myself, but you can get assistance from an outside source who undoubtly knows the ropes better than me so hopefully it would get done faster. Good Luck
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Reply to piper2104s
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The military service separation document DD214 is where you should start.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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AnneChung, Am curious why you said to join USAA ?
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Reply to Myownlife
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Definitely best to get a elder law attorney to help you. I found it very complicated. But either way, the sooner you file the better. Start at home by gathering all your important papers. Most important is you dad's discharge papers. Treat those discharge papers like they are gold. When our lawyer had to send those in, he send someone who was bonded to hand deliver, and they never leave them out of their hands. Cannot be mailed. Before that, i never realized how important they were.
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Reply to DoingbestIcan
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1. Make sure you have a copy of the DD-214. It can be requested for free here: https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records. I just did this "emergency status" to get the 21 gun salute and burial flag for a veterans passing. Turn around time was about two days. The DD-214 was sent via postal mail. I did not have a way to scan the completed request so I took a photo and sent via e-mail.

2. Find your local VSO, this person is trained by the VA to assist with the process, it is also free: https://www.benefits.va.gov/vso/ Find one that you get on with their personality and they seem motivated to work on things. These are volunteers that will help you with the process, review paperwork and that sort of thing.

3. Find your state representative: https://www.benefits.va.gov/vso/ and here: https://nvf.org/veteran-service-officers/ They can also provide you with the state contact at your state governments office. You may need this later if things don't get moving quickly, services are free.

4: Find my local VA: https://www.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp in case you need their assistance or for local homes, hospice options, caregiver benefits, volunteers to assist/relieve you, death benefits such as the forms for a headstone, burial locations and so on, services are free. Keep good records as it may become confusing and calling back keeps things moving along.

This FB page is run by Veterans/VA employees and is a good resource if you run into problems.https://www.facebook.com/groups/626936820727015/ A motivated VSO and VA social worker and you'll be fine. Don't be afraid to go to the VA on the veteran's behalf to discuss things w/ the social worker of if they have a coordinator that works with family members.

If you are not already a member of USAA you might want to do now as it is sometimes difficult to get membership later. Even if not used it is good to have the membership option. Sadly we didn't take care of this with my mom re. her veteran hubby.

There may also be a local veteran support group or chaplain which is also helpful for you and the veteran.

Tell your dad a Marine veteran says thank you for his service.
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Reply to AnneChung
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My dad fought in Korea so my mom is eligible for VA benefits. She has not yet used any Medicaid benefits, as she had long term insurance which lasts one more year. Would you recommend applying for VA or Medicaid? I understand that one can't get both. I'll be moving to where she lives prior to the time her LTC is up, and she will live with me. But neither of my sibs are willing to help provide any care (altho' they are both local) and I know I will need help. I'm getting worn out now taking care of her in AL. Do either VA or Medicaid help pay for home health aides? thanks!
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Reply to Teri4077
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I went to our local VA office and they walked me through it. They were so helpful and though it took time and multiple trips it really took away the stress of it for me. I was applying for aid for my mom who is a widow of a veteran.
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Reply to anereus
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Thanks for all the good info. I am POA for a veteran who is in a memory care apartment. I called the local VA office to ask how far ahead I should apply for benefits since he still has a lot of money for me to pay his own way. I was told when I get down to the last $100,000 I should begin the application process. By the time it is complete, I will have used up his money and the public benefits will kick in. I had already sold his town house and am using that money for his care. I will need to look into the VA power of attorney process, since it is different from the state one. So far, they are talking to me since I have all his records, discharge info, social security info, etc., but that does't give me any authority. I can also bring him with me to the VA office if that will simplify things. He served 12 years in the Navy before and during the Korean war, so he qualifies. It doesn't sound too complicated, just takes time for things to kick in. Good luck to everyone dealing with this! I hope this will be as easy as it first seems.
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Reply to JohnnyJ
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I haven't looked into it but I've been told of a program called Aging Warriors. Though my research showed it to be the same as Aid and Attendance, I was told by someone who did it that it was different. I suspect, however, that it was a front for applying for Aid and Attendance, because the person who told me about it said they paid the first "paycheck" to the agency who got the money flow starting. I've also read that's not legal. In short, just be careful about which org or agency you use, and ask up front about fees. Personally, for our situation, I wouldn't mind someone going through the rigmarole for us because we three siblings all have other pressing family issues that preclude any of us from diving into the possibility of getting this aid for our mother (my dad served during the Korean War). We did find out that she earns too much now to qualify, but at some point in the near future as her Alzheimer's progresses, that will change. Leroy, good luck to you and your dad.
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Reply to shb1964
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