CALL TO ACTION: Relentlessly seek out any veteran benefits available. If you need help with the paperwork, get help, don’t give up!
The VA helped in many ways. We took him to a VA medical clinic; I have nothing but praise for their care. He was able to receive medications at no charge, a free blood pressure machine, and the attention of multiple caregivers at each visit. Every single person was helpful and respectful to my dad.
Disabled American Veterans
When their house was sold, there was a delay in the closing. My parents were desperate for their rent money for the new Villa, which of course became my problem. I called the County Veterans Representative to see if they could help; the rep recommended the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), who lent them $1,000 until the house closed.
A gentleman personally drove out and gave my Dad the check. Dad was happy to have this connection with a veteran, and paid it back a couple of weeks later when the house sold. His dignity was intact, and it was another plus for serving in the military all those years ago.
Aid in Attendance
I attended several dementia conferences. It was there I heard about “Aid-in-Attendance”, a pension offered by the VA for home-bound vets 65 and over. Aid in Attendance
My father qualified and I set about filling out the paperwork. I discovered how archaic the federal VA system was in 2007. Change of address forms were sent multiple times. I filled out the correct form giving me permission to speak for him, yet every time I spoke with a representative, they had to dig through electronic paperwork to verify I could speak on his behalf. I imagine the forms were scanned in without being categorized.
Veteran’s Service Organization
The Veteran’s Service Organization (VSO), a private non-government group, was very helpful. Several times they told me the exact wording to put on the VA forms to get through the system. I later found out they would have filled out the paperwork, but I didn’t mind taking care of it myself. The VSO is another great resource.
Months later Dad was finally approved. He received back pay, and a healthy monthly allotment supplementing their social security and house savings.
I hope the VA system has improved their paperwork and computer systems. The federal employees were always helpful, however I could hear their frustration. Our veterans struggle enough, let’s not let paperwork bring them down.
There is help, an elder-care attorney can help you with the paperwork, the VSO, and other groups can offer advice. Your county or local VA clinic should be able to recommend resources.
Asbestos Exposure and Mesothelioma
While my father was not affected this way, many veterans are currently suffering from life-threatening illnesses that are a result of exposure to asbestos. Veterans that have been exposed to mesothelioma qualify for special benefits. See Mesothelioma (Information provided by David Sides, a member of the Public Outreach Department for the Mesothelioma Center.)
God bless all the veterans and their families.