Aid & Attendance · Alzheimer's disease · Assisted living · Caregiver · Caregiving · Disclosure · Financial stress

Aid & Attendance, part 2 / August 11, 2006

My first Aid & Attendance post received the following comment, which is definitely worth repeating here:

Hey Deb,

I read your post about trying to get VA benefits, and thought you might
like to know about www.GovBenefits.gov. It’s the official benefits Web
site of the US Government and provides information on more than 1,000
programs including scholarships. The site also features a free online
questionnaire to help determine eligibility. Interested readers can
also visit www.GovLoans.gov, the sister site of GovBenefits.gov, to find
information about Government loan programs, including veteran’s benefits
and educational reimbursement loans. I hope you find these sites
helpful to your readers.

Regards,

Awais Sheikh
GovBenefits.gov Team
US Department of Labor

Debbie Burak, the creator of VeteranAid.org, also left a comment for me that I’d like to repeat:

Deb,

If I might suggest to you, having walked in your shoes for not only my
mother but my father as well, which is why I created veteranaid.org,
contact Denver Combs at www.vetassist.org.

He is one of the most informed individuals about all veteran benefits
that you may not know about, and that your mother would be entitled to
now, as well as you since you are acting in the capicity of her
care-giver.

There may be some financial relief you can take advantage of to help
you now.

I hope this might help give some relief in dealing with some of the
stress for you.

Debbie Burak

Finding each of these in my mailbox was a very pleasant surprise–I hadn’t contacted either person. I’m impressed by their finding my blog and taking the time to offer further help.

As far as my application goes, I received the copy of my parents’ marriage certificate from the Vital Records Office of the City of Providence within a week of requesting it (despite–embarrassingly–my listing the wrong year of their marriage). I also received two copies of my father’s separation papers from the National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records division in St. Louis, Missouri, just two days ago after requesting it electronically (I still had to sign a page and snail-mail it). Tonight I sat down with the application itself, just to pencil in what information I knew offhand.

The difficult part will be putting together a list of my mother’s income and assets. Not that her financial situation is extremely complex–but I have the impression that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Here is where I will return to VeteranAid.org and also contact Denver Combs at VetAssist.org.

I will also need a medical statement from my mother’s doctor. I had planned on making an appointment to talk with him about my mother’s health–now I’ll have a specific reason to do this.

I haven’t told my mother that I’m doing this, but I will eventually have to. Keeping this from her has seriously stressed me lately, along with making the “pre-arrangements” with an assisted living facility. Mailing the deposit that will put her on the waiting list was like trying to lift a 10-ton weight: I just couldn’t do it. Day after day I postponed filling out the short form and writing the check, and when I finally completed and put them in an envelope, I carried the envelope around in my bag until it weighed me down physically. I finally shut my eyes and dropped in into a mailbox.

I keep telling myself that this is all a precaution. I even told this to the woman I’m dealing with at the AL–I’m not ready yet, I’m just doing this to be on the safe side.

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