How long should it take to process a VA claim for benefits for a widow that needed to go to AL due to a psychotic disorder? - AgingCare.com

How long should it take to process a VA claim for benefits for a widow that needed to go to AL due to a psychotic disorder?

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Claim filed in October and no status yet. She recd a letter in jan stating the file is being worked on. It is impossible to get the VA on the phone & the last time I did I had to file a form with her POA so they would speak to me. Any suggestions would be appreciated. With the high cost of AL, the benefits would greatly help her.

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BettyB21, it is a shame. There was a time a few years ago when it took a year or two for the average claim to complete. The time frame has reduced somewhat on average but it is very difficult to predict how long any individual claim will require. The real heartbreak is the profoundly disabled veteran who does not have the financial ability to wait for the decision. While the VA will provide "backpay" to either the date that the veteran discharged or submitted the claim, it can take quite a while to complete all those steps. Meanwhile, there are too often bills that cannot be paid and mouths to feed.

It is important to keep in mind that the VA is a bureaucratic organization, and while many to most employees want to do right by the veteran or the veteran's family, often veterans themselves, they are within a process-driven system handling a huge number of claims at the same time. Processing time within the VA has decreased recently with a push to reduce the "claims backlog," but it can still take quite a while depending on what Regional Office handles the claim and other factors such the complexity of the claim. Besides Dependents Indemnity Compensation for the spouse of deceased veterans of all conflicts from WW II to the present, the VA is handling claims for veterans of all those wars as well as peace-time veterans up until now. It's not just those recently discharged. A sizable portion of the claims handled in the last five years were those exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam who can have a whole list of conditions from diabetes to heart disease to cancers. And as few injured or sick and disabled by military service tend to get better, most claims that are filed are to increase the amount of disability compensation as those disabilities get worse as well as follow on claims for new disabilties caused by the original set of service connected disabilities. And there's the whole appeals process and backlog because of the number of errors in claim decisions.

Please believe us - we're as frustrated with the VA process as anyone - but they do have an enormous job. It is critical for anyone entering into this process to do as much as possible to make the Regional Office's job as easy as possible by providing all the medical records from the veteran's time in service to the present related to the disability being claimed and all the documentation, such as discharge paperwork, marriage licenses, birth certificates of underaged children, etc, right up front. Letters from doctors who clearly state how a particular condition came about, how bad it is, and that "it is more likely than not that the condition was caused by military service" with a statement that the doctor reviewed the service medical records make a tremendous difference. While the VA has a statuatory "duty to assist," it's best to not count on that but partner with the Regional Office to get it done.

Meanwhile, if there is a veteran out there who has a service-connected disability that can become terminal, NOW is the time to ensure that the VA processes a claim to have that condition on the books as serviced-connected. The last thing I want my wife to have to do in the aftermath of my passing is to have to fight with the VA. While many of us don't want to take a "hand out" from the government, it could mean the difference in ensuring our wives have that extra income for the future if we get taken of here.
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Isn't it a shame that you have to jump thru so many hoops and need to get an attorney, a congressmen and senators involved? This is for people who fought for our country. I understand that the application has to be checked to make sure that the applicant deserves the benefit but really??? 6 months to a year in some cases? I thought, with all the recent veterans returning, that the VA was trying to provide better, quicker and more comprehensive services to our veterans and their families. It is heartbreaking to say the least.
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We used American Veterans Aid out of Orange, CA. They charge everyone the same and said it would get things rolling fast. They sent me brochures with people saying it took two weeks to 2 months. I was so excited, We waited 3 months and I kept calling them, then they said it could take up to 12 months or longer. I wrote to Johnny Isakson Senator for GA, he was wonderful and sent me info ever week. He got it through for us in 4 or 5 weeks. I know now I should have called the local VA office. They will even come to your house if needed. I will need to do this for my husband soon. I will go to the VA for his application. In February 2013 it cost a lot for my Momma. I was desperate and I was slowly getting more and more indebt since I had to quit my job. I'm sure it is more expensive now. But some people will be glad to pay it like I was. They worked on it for about a month. We finally got it sent to the VA March 27th, 2013. The claim was approved July 8th, 2013. Hope this helps
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My mother applied for benefits in January, 2015. Within 10 days we received a letter that they had received the documents. Haven't heard from them since, however, the VA office where she applied was wonderful. He said that we should hear something within 6-7 months. He gave me his phone number and if I need to speak with him I can do so. I have already called him and received a prompt phone call back. Mom's money will run out by the end of the year so I'm hoping the VA does it in the timeframe we were told.
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Someone's suggestion of an attorney might be a good one. I had a patient whose wife had applied for VA benefits for her husband. It was two years later that he died and it STILL had not been approved!! She called every month to check on it. Two different people at two different locations told her they couldn't see what the hold up was.....but it still didn't go through! Part of the issue for him was that his service records were in the group in St Louis, Missouri, that were burned up in a building fire. NOT his fault, but it seemed to add to the delay. The other part is that you don't get the same person or location to talk to each time you call! Hard to hold people accountable!
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You need to find a local office and go there. Take your mother with you - there's nothing quiet like a visual to elicit sympathy and cooperation. That is how I handled it and my mother's claim took about 3 months. I hear that others take over a year sometimes.
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I know I put www. and .com in my post.
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I'm so sorry for the delay. Our's did not take very long at all. 3 mos. maybe. When we started the process we had Veterans attny. help us. That's all he did. A social worker, my dad's Retirement facility and my mom's dementia/alz. facility gave us names of different attnys. that handled only Veteran clients. My dad is receiving benefits for my mom. His firm helped us get through all the paperwork, then made sure we as was stated above, we dotted all our i's and crossed our t's. They had told us not to expect anything for at least 6 mos. but we must have really been lucky because it about 3 to 4 mos at the most. We paid the attny up front for his help but IF we were refused benefits we got our money back. We checked out all the attnys thoroughly and talked with other's that had used his firm. Good Luck and God Bless....
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Sorry, if u don't cross all ur t's and dot ur i's u can be turned down. Here is the ebsite - veteransfinancial. I went to a seminar and they were very informtive.
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I posted this before and the info didn't seem to all come thru. This company help s to expedite claims. Seems if u don't dot all the t's and i's
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