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 How can the VA be so heartless? 
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Yes, it is. And, in case you didn't know, for people who want to buy caskets, Costco sells them but there are a few states where it is illegal to order them and have them shipped. MD and VT happen to be 2 of the handful of states where it is illegal - obviously they must have big funeral industry lobbyists. And, the stuff they "include" with a funeral - if you've never done this before it's amazing all the stuff you don't necessarily want or need. There was at least $1,000 worth of stuff that we didn't want, including large framed portraits for each family member, various cards, thank you notes, bookmarks with the obituary on them, etc. Go over the bill and ask what each item means, as this stuff is hidden under various headings that don't tell you what they are really billing you for. Who would want a bookmark with someone's obit. on it? Maybe I should start a topic called "what to watch out for when you are planning a funeral"????

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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.


Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:51 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
This may sound crude, but we long ago both opted for straight cremation and no funeral. In the industry, they apparently call that 'box and burn', since there is no casket involved.

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:58 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
Posts: 969
Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Dale wants his friends to have a party... An Irish wake. :lol: That's what he did for his dad - without the body. It was a great family reunion.

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:13 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Vets can have a free gravesite and burial (including for "cremains"--who thought up that term?) in a national cemetery, or the burial in a private cem. They don't pay for funeral or cremation.


Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:27 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:32 am
Posts: 215
Location: Kalispell, MT
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Also, prepaying for a funeral or cremation is a gift to your children, both emotional and financial.


Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:29 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
Posts: 718
Location: LA
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
I did not consider Va being heartless when they sent a lady to be with me and help for the last few months Mr Bobby was alive. Neither did I feel they were heartless when they created the beautiful bronze plate with his name and other information on it to be attached to the marble headstone which will always be in the Hometown Cemetery next to mine, or when they paid for the grave site even though Mr Bobby's father had purchased it years ago as a family plot.

Mr Bobby had bought a special Life Insurnce Policy and paid for it through the years just for funeral expences and I did not begrudge spending one penny of it when I paid for the written material furnished by the funeral home. One of my poems that I had written for our fiftieth wedding anniversary was on the back of the program folder for each of the guests. I was happy to pay for the video which they made of his life from our home photos with backgroung music of our favorite songs. They furnished an adjoining room for the guests to be seated while watching the video. I was surrounded by family and friends who remembered him and I cannot imagine a better way to say goodbye to a loved one. Another extra from the funeral home and I might add at no cost was delivering the body from the hospital to the coroner's office for the brain procurement to be sent to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida from whom we now know that he actually did have Lewy Body Disease and the tissue is still there to help with more research as part of a joint effort which should be of interest to anyone reading and writing on this forum.

Goodbyes are offered in many ways and our friends seemed to join with me in the unique funeral celebration based on traditional messages with a personal touch especially for Mr Bobby. They joined to bring me comfort and I will always appreciate the kindness of everyone envolved.

Dorthea

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"See this lady, she's 85, but she's nice"


Thu Dec 23, 2010 12:44 am
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
Posts: 3213
Location: WA
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
One little tradition in our family is to get a helium balloon--or several--and each of us write our messages on it to the deceased and let it go up into the sky. Several in my family opt to have their ashes scattered in their favorite places, near mountains, the ocean, etc. My mother has always been most adamant about not having a funeral so we shall honor her wishes.

My ex-husband who recently died had requested no services be held but my younger daughter caved in to pressure by his former co-workers and had a memorial service last Saturday. It was hard on her and my other daughter. I know these services are to give those left behind a chance to remember the deceased but I kind of feel the specific requests [ours and my mother's are in writing] should be honored.

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:10 am
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:44 am
Posts: 93
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
My husband and I also plan on cremation, however we will have a memorial service for closure for the family. In PA it is illegal to have ashes scattered. Not that they would know. We have the option of having our ashes buried in a national cemetary since he is a veteran.

The time is coming that I too will have to start dealing with the VA. After reading these posts, I am not looking forward to it.


Thu Dec 23, 2010 10:31 am
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
The one good thing the VA did was provide an honor guard at my dad's memorial service, which was what he requested. They did a great job and my dad would have been proud. In fact, he would have also had a great time, as it was a roomful of about 100 friends and relatives who told hilarious stories about the man he was, followed by a great lunch at the country club. He would have loved it.
The VA and SS taking the money we'd spent towards his care for the 98.666% of November that he lived feels like a slap in the face to his memory and years of service. I don't think anyone would feel good about that, but perhaps I'm wrong??? Maybe there's someone out there who thinks that is a good thing, to have income reduced by 100% by VA & SS but to still have to pay 100% of the bills for a month. If that's what you want, fine; we think it's not ok to treat veterans, hard working Americans and their families this way.
And, by the way, no one ever said that the VA never provides good services nor that the funeral home didn't provide some good services. But they did try to sneak in a whole lot of things we thought were tacky and in poor taste, and we knew our dad would not want. He was buried in his family's plot which was purchased in the early 1800s by his ancestors, next to my mom, his mother, grandparents and various great, great, greats. Lynn

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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 23, 2010 12:09 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
Posts: 718
Location: LA
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Lynn, my husband also died on the 20th of November [2009] The only check which was deleted from his VA account was the December payment which had been deposited during the first week of November. They always paid ahead one month. You are hurting from the battle you fought to help your dad. This illness moves in and snatches what ever it wants no matter how much we rail against what we may feel are injustices. Try to let it go as you move into life without him. No one intended to hurt you or him. Everyone tried their best within the perimeter of their own guidelines. My good thoughts are for your well being and happiness with your little family. Let them love you while you grieve. Try to feel the love you have been offered on this forum.

Dorthea

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"See this lady, she's 85, but she's nice"


Thu Dec 23, 2010 2:20 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
According to what people at the VA and SS told me, the Nov. checks were for Nov., not Dec. As personal representative and executor I have a feduciary responsibility to his estate to take care of his finances. If the Nov. checks were for October, that's another story, but that's not what I've been told. 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 23, 2010 2:34 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:46 pm
Posts: 610
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Lynn, I am pretty sure the Social Security death benefit is only payable to surviving spouses and minor children, but you could check at www.ssa.gov to make certain.

I know the government's rules about taking back monthly benefits for the month in which someone dies are ridiculous. Some of my clients really depend on those checks and it is a mess when the money is sucked back out of their accounts when one spouse dies. For veterans' families, it must seem even more outrageous.

Julianne


Thu Dec 23, 2010 3:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:33 pm
Posts: 3316
Location: Vermont
Post Re: How can the VA be so heartless?
Yes, these rules are ridiculous, illogical and unfair. I am hoping that raising the issue with my congressmen will shed some light on this and perhaps start some change that will help others too.

_________________
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 23, 2010 3:43 pm
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