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 VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained 
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Joined: Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:53 pm
Posts: 42
Location: Davis, CA
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AnnieM,

Thanks so much!


Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:37 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:32 pm
Posts: 118
Location: Dumfries Va
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Amanda, Call your Congressman and get them to help you. The VA hates Congressional Inquires. I have a great person in Senator Webb's Office (Virginia) that does not give up until they get answers. The VA turned down my Mom's request for A&A fr a year. The VA would put me off but when Senator Webb's office became involved, actions went swiftly. GOOD LUCK!


Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:36 am
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Response to the thread about the VA on "Hi, I'm new."

I may be premature in saying this, but my impression from browsing the Internet is that getting a VA accredited attorney would be a good idea. I don't yet know how much this amount of work would cost.

My (unverified) reasons are:

The VA benefits are so important, and dealing with a huge federal agency so tricky, that a single misstep could cost dearly. For example, I have read that if the person is in one of the higher priority groups with less chance of getting accepted, he should wait and apply when he is already in a facility as they seldom turn down those apps.

There are asset protection strategies to limit spenddown requirements.

I am looking locally for an attorney with lots of experience in those areas as we are too small a community for specialists. If none, I will keep looking.

From the faq page on the VA website:

Question: If an attorney works with pension benefit clients and advises clients as to eligibility requirements, but does not file the application for them, do they need to be accredited?

Response: Yes. In answering this question, we assume that (1) a “pension benefit client” means a veteran not currently receiving VA pension but one who has expressed intent to file for such benefit, and (2) that the advice provided includes those acts in making the claim ready for filing, but not the actual filing of the claim. Here, the advice constitutes preparation of a claim and therefore requires accreditation. This is because the advice is given in regards to a specific application for benefits rather than general advice not related to a specific claim. The difference is significant in that the purpose of VA’s accreditation program is to ensure that claimants for VA benefits receive qualified assistance in preparing and presenting their claims.

Question: Is VA accreditation required to assist a veteran in preparing his or her claim?

Response: Yes. Accreditation means the authority granted by VA to assist claimants in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits. 38 C.F.R. § 14.627(a). Unaccredited individuals may provide other services to veterans so long as they do not assist in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for benefits.


Thu Dec 30, 2010 3:07 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Thanks, and I hope you'll eventually post your experiences on here. Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:18 pm
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Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2010 11:30 pm
Posts: 317
Location: southern cali
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
gail are you talking more about the a& a more than actual benifits from service connected disablitiies or both??

so far, beside the lenghtly wait.. the guys available for free at the va have been ok.. ive done a lot of the work myself and i dont see me going any slower than those that have an attorney.. in fact in some cases, ive gone faster.. (it just doenst seem like it. casue its a slow process!!). i think in diffrent states things might be different,, just like in selling houses some states use attorneys for the whole transaction.. but in california an attorney is never involved unless there is something strange or a problem.
the folks here, dont work for the va , they are past service folks and they are on your side.. not the va..their job is only to help you,, the serviceman or women.

either way, the process could and should be better!!
cindi

_________________
sole CG for hubby.1st symptoms, 2000, at 55. Diag with AD at 62, LB at 64.. vietnam vet..100% ptsd disability,sprayed with agent orange, which doubled chances for dementia. ER visit 11-13,released to memory care..


Thu Dec 30, 2010 6:53 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 10:18 am
Posts: 276
Location: Washington State
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
The only thing that I would like to add to this discussion is what I've heard over and over...whoever fills out the paperwork and files the application, whether the family member or an attorney, or a service organization, or the VA, as a family member please make or get a copy of all of the paperwork for yourself. Applications have been known to get lost. And, it's recommended that all paperwork to the VA be sent "return receipt requested" so that there is a record of the date the VA received it. AnnieN

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Annie, daughter of brave Marie, dx 2007 and in ALF


Thu Dec 30, 2010 11:42 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Cindi--I'm talking A&A, where being over 65 makes you disabled, though non-service cconnected.

This site lists VA accredited attys in every state. http://www4.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp

There are likely non-lawyer services that do the same thing—one is http://www.veteransfinancial.com/faq/ although I don’t know anything about them.

The following are generalized statements from various sources. It looks like a lot of verbiage, but is really an overview.

ITEM: According to government census statistics, only about 4.7 percent of the 11.5 million or so seniors who could qualify are actually receiving Pension or Death Pension. This is appalling!

Part of the reason for the lack of participation is that the public is not aware of this special income program. Another reason is a result of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ response to inquiries about this benefit.

A call to a state regional office from someone interested in obtaining this benefit will immediately result in inquiry from the Veterans Service Officer on the other end of the line as to the amount of household income. If the household income exceeds the monthly benefit, the typical response from VA is that the veteran or veteran household does not qualify.

In many cases the Veterans Service Representative is correct and there is no benefit forthcoming. However, there is a special provision in the rules for Pension that does allow households earning more than the Pension benefit amount to qualify. This special provision kicks in when households are paying the high cost of home care, assisted living care, or nursing home care on a regular basis.

VA Service Representatives in the regional office are typically not trained to understand this special provision, nor do they very often ask about the circumstances of the caller to even determine whether the special provision applies. Unfortunately, the public isn’t aware of the special provision for income adjustment and, as a result, those who could qualify don’t ever apply.

The local regional office is also not typically helpful in telling the public what documents should be submitted in order to receive a Pension award in a timely manner. The attitude of VA is to allow people to submit an initial claim, and only later determine if additional paperwork or forms or documentation are required. As many a veteran has learned the hard way, this process often drags out the time it takes to make a decision whether an award should be granted or whether the claim will be denied. It’s not uncommon for a claim involving the special income adjustment to take eight months or longer before a decision is made.

By knowing in advance exactly what VA will require for a successful Pension award, an applicant may cut the period for a decision to as little as two to three months. A VA-certified lawyer is familiar with the claims process and can help individuals understand what needs to be submitted with an initial application for a timely decision that can result in much-needed cash.

ITEM: How Efficient is the Veterans Administration?

In 2004, the Government Accounting Office (the investigative arm of Congress) conducted an investigation of the VA and its efficiency. This was essentially a secret, internal report.

The conclusions of the GAO report were startling. The findings of the report indicated that information provided through the VSO network and the VA's 800 number system was "totally, minimally, partially, or mostly incorrect" a staggering 80% of the time. This means a potential applicant can expect to receive incorrect information regarding benefit eligibility 8 out of 10 times.

As a result, many duly qualified applicants are told by the VSO/VA network that they are not qualified to receive benefits, when the opposite is true.

The study also found that only 19% of the answers provided were "completely correct". A common theme with inquiries was "rude, dismissive, unprofessional, and unhelpful" behavior on the part of those providing information.

Should I try to file a VA claim by myself?

In our opinion and strongly reinforced by the VA, the answer is "No." The VA recognizes three groups to assist veterans in the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims: The accredited Veterans Service Officer’s (VSO), claims agents and VA accredited attorneys. The claims process can be very frustrating if you have not been trained and do not understand the law. Therefore, you may unnecessarily be denied due to incorrectly presented information. Your claim may also take many more months to complete because of information request and exchanges between you and the VA. We strongly recommend that you use the services of a VA accredited individual or organization, which includes state and county veterans service agencies. There is no fee for using an accredited resource.

ITEM: Many might have too many assets to qualify. But, wait. You can do estate planning and move assets out of your name today and qualify under this criteria tomorrow. Right now there is no look back period for asset transfers.


Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:35 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Very interesting Gail, and I am sure beneficial to those who need to deal with the VA now and in the future. There's SO MUCH info. on here I wish I'd had a year or two ago! Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Fri Dec 31, 2010 2:46 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
Oh, yeah. I'm pretty sure that no one, even a lawyer, can charge you for making the application. They make $ by making your will, POA and other documents, and for advice and help with asset protection stuff.

I learned from this website that the VA needs it's own POA and Living Will forms and won't take ones done under state law--What'cha expect--it a federal agency! I printed them out from the VA website for both of us (spouses have some benefits also), and rushed my husband to a notary immediately where we signed them.

Better than going through a process to get legal authority to act for them.


Fri Dec 31, 2010 6:59 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: VA Long-Term Care Benefits Explained
It's amazing, isn't it, that when you have a POA you think that it will actually mean something? I don't know how many times we ran into "we don't accept POA, you'll need X,Y,Z instead". Why do we even bother with a POA anymore? Or, it has to be an original, notarized one. Do these places know the time, effort and money it can take to have originals of all these forms? Interestingly, we have had some death certificates returned this week from the same agencies that only wanted the original, notarized POA, which they would NOT return. It makes no sense, but like you said, it the VA is a gov't agency, and an example of bureaucracy at its worst many times.
It will be interesting to see if I can actually cancel my dad's credit cards now that he has died. I tried for months to get a Citibank and some other one cancelled, to no avail. After many phone calls and sending POA, etc. I gave up. Now that his new credit cards have arrived I will send a death certificate. Let's see if this actually gets the credit cards cancelled. I truly believe I could have illegally charged stuff on his cards a lot easier than eliminating the cards! Lynn

_________________
Lynn, daughter of 89 year old dad dx with possiblity of LBD, CBD, PSP, FTD, ALS, Vascular Dementia, AD, etc., died Nov. 30, 2010 after living in ALF for 18 months.


Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:39 pm
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