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Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:41 PM

I have some bad news...

I hate getting personal on DU, but I've got to vent and, in the process, update you on a story I posted a few weeks ago.

As many of you are familiar with, my dad was a Vietnam veteran who died in Nov., 2010. My mom applied to receive his pension after his death and, because they're so backlogged with requests, had to wait a considerable amount of time before hearing from the VA. During that time, my mom, who suffers from COPD, was living off my dad's life insurance. It was barely enough to scrape by and, unfortunately, not enough to pay for the mortgage my dad and her took out on their house years ago (and years before his death).

I mentioned that my parents had never missed a payment prior to my dad's death and were always good at paying their bills. They took the mortgage out to help fix up the house they lived in, giving it a new roof, new windows, new flooring and a new driveway. They didn't splurge and spend the money on a car or a luxury vacation - it was solely done to fix a home that had been built in the 1940s and was, after years of weather damage and use, getting old.

They did everything right. Everything. My parents were never delinquents or deadbeats. My dad worked until his health wouldn't allow for it anymore - as he was eventually ruled 100% disabled by the U.S. Government due to Agent Orange & PTSD, which he was exposed to in Vietnam.

My mom worked her entire adult life until 1996, when she had to quit and go take care of my grandfather after he suffered a stroke. At that point, my mom, dad and me moved in with my grandparents. It was a tough decision, but really the only humane decision - as the only other option was for my grandma to put him in a home. She didn't want to do that, but couldn't take care of him on her own, since half his body was paralyzed and he required near 24-hour care.

So, my grandma asked my mom and our family it uproot ourselves from our old life and move into her basement. We obliged. I mean, that's what family does for one another, right?

Well Grandpa died in '02 and Grandma a year later. At that point, however, my dad's health had declined markedly. He was generally housebound and my mom, once again, found herself taking care of someone she loved. But back then, their income was enough - they had his VA benefits to help them by and she was able to take care of him without having to worry about the possibility of them ever losing their house or being in the position of going broke.

But you know, times weren't easy. My mom hasn't had a vacation, hasn't left the Salt Lake Valley, in 15 years. She's never owned a new car and has never flown on a plane. The last vacation she ever took was with her mother, her aunt and a couple sisters when they went to Vegas back in like 1998 - or something like that. Her whole adult life has been devoted to taking care of first her three kids (one died of leukemia at the age of 12), then her father and then her husband.

Well, like I mentioned, Dad died at the end of '10. Since they had a mortgage at the time of his death, my mom had to make the tough decision to use his life insurance money to pay her bills & food until she heard back from the VA. We expected to hear from the VA soon, as they said they would have a decision in less than 200 days.

Well, by the first of the year, we had heard nothing. At that point, I wrote the White House and, surprisingly, they helped. A few weeks later, the VA contacted my mom and said they heard from the White House and were quickly processing her claim. A couple months later, my mom received a letter that seemed to indicate they approved of her claims and that she would be receiving my dad's death pension.

Hooray!

We were so excited. I even posted about it here on DU. My mom was worried sick she would lose her house, the house she grew up in, the house she raised my brother before he died - the house that housed most her memories, either as a child or an adult.

Even better, the VA had said they would back pay my mom for the months she was owed while they worked on her claim!

We did the math, and that worked out to $20,000 or so, which was perfect because, during this long process, my mom was working to lower her mortgage payments so that she could theoretically pay them when the VA finally ruled. Because they were in the process of doing that, she wasn't required to pay the mortgage, though they did urge her to do so if she had the means (she didn't). But she didn't worry too much because the second the VA ruled, even if they lowered her mortgage only slightly, she knew she would have the funds necessary to pay it on a monthly basis. And that money she owed on it? Well, it would automatically be placed at the back of the mortgage, so, it wasn't something she concerned herself over too much.

Of course, that required the VA ruling and her receiving my dad's pension.

But they had ruled, finally, after a year and a half and now she could rest easily at night, never having to worry about losing her house. She not only would have the money to pay back what she owed on the mortgage on the off chance the mortgage company denied her claim, but she'd also be able to pay the mortgage and live out the final years of her life in a dignified fashion.

Well, about a week after we received that letter, my mom received a check from the government for a total of about $1,800. It didn't make sense why she would receive that total - as it was too big to her monthly pension and too small to be the backpay for the months missed.

She called me and together, we looked over the letter and the situation became more curious. The way we both re-read the letter, it sounded she was only paid for two or so months - not the twelve-plus we thought originally. Worse, it was starting to appear that she was only eligible for those two months.

That didn't make sense to me. So, I went online and read about the spousal pension.

You can read it here.

I then read this, and my heart sunk:

If your income for VA purposes is more than $8,219 in this example, then you are not eligible for VA Survivors' (Death) Pension for that year. You may reapply again at any time your income for VA purposes falls below the limit.


Really, $8,219 a year?!?

My mom collects roughly $10,000 in Social Security - so, $2,000 more than the income required to be eligible.

$10,000 a year! In my state, the poverty line, with one family member, is $16,755 a year - $6,000 or so more than she makes.

This didn't make sense.

But we looked over the letter again and nowhere on it does it say our request for the monthly pension was denied. So, my mom put a call into the VA and we waited.

Well, she got a hold of someone and they told her, looking over the letter, and her file, that they saw no reason why she didn't qualify. We did find out she would not qualify for the high amount of back pay like we originally thought and that was what the initial check was - back pay for the months were she had zero income (when my dad's SS had yet to kick in).

She felt better. I still had a nagging feeling that something was wrong because of what the website said. I really questioned whether she was eligible.

Well, a week after that call, she received a letter asking for her bank information for direct deposit. This really made her think everything was okay because why else would the VA be asking for information on a direct deposit if they didn't plan on depositing money into her bank account?!?

If you're familiar with how the government pays, and I'm not sure if it's like this for every branch, but you're paid for the last month at the beginning of the first of the month.

What's today? August 1st. She should have either received a check or the money should have been deposited to her account.

The money wasn't deposited into her account and a check never came. My mom knew right off the bat something was wrong, since, unless the first fell on a holiday or a Sunday, my dad always received his VA benefits at the first of the month.

So she called 'em and they looked it up, despite what had been said by the last person she talked to, she did not in fact qualify for the pension. She made too much money. My mom, who makes $10,000 a year on Social Security, makes too much money.

Apparently, the rate is set by Congress, and they set it at, as I said, $8,219 a year. The VA has been trying to get them to raise that rate, but they won't budge.

If you make more than $8,219 a year, and you're the spouse of a former veteran who didn't die in combat, or due to service related illness, you're SOL.

My mom is 62, will be 63 this December. She's on oxygen, crippled with arthritis and now looking at the very likely prospects of losing her home.

I'm going to do the best I can to make sure that doesn't happen. Of course, I'm only in my mid-20s and don't have much income myself. But I can't allow her to lose her house. I mean, how is she supposed to live on $800 a month? The VA sympathized with her and said they wished there was something they could do - but there wasn't.

Their hands were tied.

My mom is running out of options. We're still trying to lower her mortgage payments, but that was on the understanding she would receive some income from the VA. With that out of the picture, even if they do lower it, she won't have enough money on her own to pay it.

What pisses me off the most is that my mom waited a year and a half, sat and worried, fought with the VA and all for a measly $1,800.

If they had told her from the start she didn't qualify, then maybe she could have figured something else out. But they didn't. They dragged it along for a year and a half, and even when she questioned what was going on, they still seemed to reassure her that things were okay - that she would receive that pension.

Only to drop the bombshell that no, sorry, you're not entitled to that pension because you're swimming in $800 a month.

So, now it's on to Plan B. I'll probably end up living with her, while helping pay the mortgage. Hopefully it's enough. Hopefully we can make it work.

Because I fear, if my mom loses her house, she's just going to give up and die. I've already lost my dad, I can't lose my mother too.

God, why does life have to be so hard?

Sorry for venting. Sorry for the long post. I'm just disgusted and distraught right now - and not for me, but for my poor mother.

To quote Mark 12:40: Who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.

I hope so. I really do.

114 replies, 22280 views

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Arrow 114 replies Author Time Post
Reply I have some bad news... (Original post)
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 OP
NYC_SKP Aug 2012 #1
SoCalDem Aug 2012 #5
Not Me Aug 2012 #2
elleng Aug 2012 #3
Mnemosyne Aug 2012 #4
freshwest Aug 2012 #14
sellitman Aug 2012 #6
valerief Aug 2012 #7
mzmolly Aug 2012 #95
HappyMe Aug 2012 #8
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #26
twizzler Aug 2012 #9
calimary Aug 2012 #10
Marrah_G Aug 2012 #11
kywildcat Aug 2012 #12
Hell Hath No Fury Aug 2012 #13
pinboy3niner Aug 2012 #15
Laura PourMeADrink Aug 2012 #24
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #75
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #74
cap Aug 2012 #114
Tarheel_Dem Aug 2012 #16
Aviation Pro Aug 2012 #17
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #76
jerseyjack Aug 2012 #18
Ednahilda Aug 2012 #50
riverbendviewgal Aug 2012 #19
JI7 Aug 2012 #22
KauaiK Aug 2012 #20
Auntie Bush Aug 2012 #83
PADemD Aug 2012 #21
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #30
cleduc Aug 2012 #23
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #25
cleduc Aug 2012 #41
JVS Aug 2012 #66
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #27
cleduc Aug 2012 #43
spanone Aug 2012 #28
rsmith6621 Aug 2012 #29
sad sally Aug 2012 #31
Whisp Aug 2012 #32
hedgehog Aug 2012 #33
nanabugg Aug 2012 #34
glinda Aug 2012 #35
BSUbluNorange Aug 2012 #36
grasswire Aug 2012 #37
The River Aug 2012 #38
deaniac21 Aug 2012 #39
malaise Aug 2012 #40
Dustlawyer Aug 2012 #42
a kennedy Aug 2012 #44
grantcart Aug 2012 #46
Paka Aug 2012 #45
unclouded Aug 2012 #47
savannah43 Aug 2012 #48
patrice Aug 2012 #57
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #61
w8liftinglady Aug 2012 #49
spanone Aug 2012 #51
Honeycombe8 Aug 2012 #52
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #62
Honeycombe8 Aug 2012 #73
LineLineReply .
Doremus Aug 2012 #64
Honeycombe8 Aug 2012 #71
juajen Aug 2012 #108
treestar Aug 2012 #111
southernyankeebelle Aug 2012 #53
Rose Siding Aug 2012 #54
byoung6 Aug 2012 #55
patrice Aug 2012 #56
nanabugg Aug 2012 #60
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #63
patrice Aug 2012 #86
roguevalley Aug 2012 #58
democrank Aug 2012 #59
JNelson6563 Aug 2012 #65
EmeraldCityGrl Aug 2012 #67
Rhiannon12866 Aug 2012 #68
Irishonly Aug 2012 #69
MrMickeysMom Aug 2012 #70
colorado_ufo Aug 2012 #72
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #77
Laura PourMeADrink Aug 2012 #78
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #82
Laura PourMeADrink Aug 2012 #87
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #79
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #81
Lifelong Protester Aug 2012 #84
Drunken Irishman Aug 2012 #85
lonestarnot Aug 2012 #80
snooper2 Aug 2012 #107
proud patriot Aug 2012 #88
DCKit Aug 2012 #89
Kaleva Aug 2012 #90
Laura PourMeADrink Aug 2012 #91
RFKHumphreyObama Aug 2012 #92
LadyHawkAZ Aug 2012 #93
mzmolly Aug 2012 #94
secondwind Aug 2012 #96
mfcorey1 Aug 2012 #97
ProfessionalLeftist Aug 2012 #98
davidpdx Aug 2012 #99
blondie58 Aug 2012 #100
yardwork Aug 2012 #101
raouldukelives Aug 2012 #102
judesedit Aug 2012 #103
Leopolds Ghost Aug 2012 #104
deutsey Aug 2012 #105
tblue Aug 2012 #106
dmr Aug 2012 #109
treestar Aug 2012 #110
Erda Aug 2012 #112
Blue_Roses Aug 2012 #113

Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:45 PM

1. What a mess.

Wrong in so many ways, your mom and dad do everything the right way, and your dad serves his country, and this is what they get?

Meanwhile, Mitt and his ilk pay a lower tax rate if they pay at all.

Damn.

I hope it gets better, I hope you don't lose the house.

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:50 PM

5. I was never even able to collect the measly death benefit when my father died

I kept sending in the forms and repeatedly got no response.. I just gave up..

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:46 PM

2. That is an outrage.

I read your original post and was hopeful for you and her.
I don't know what to suggest other than to contact your local Congress member's office and have them review the situation to make sure that everything that can be done is being done.

I wish you and her well.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:47 PM

3. VERY sorry, Irish.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:48 PM

4. ...

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Response to Mnemosyne (Reply #4)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:13 PM

14. +1

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:50 PM

6. I wish there was just a little bit of justice for those in your mom's situation

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:54 PM

7. But Mitt Romney can get a 77K tax deduction for his wife's hobby. nt

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Response to valerief (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:32 AM

95. ... puts it all

into perspective - doesn't it?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:55 PM

8. Oh my god, that's a nasty mess.



I saw a commercial for something called a 'reverse mortgage' the other day. I do not know what this entails. Maybe you could look into that, and I'm sure someone here may be able to shed a little light.

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Response to HappyMe (Reply #8)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:34 PM

26. Thank you, Happy...

We've looked into a reverse mortgage, but there is a limit on how much you can owe. My mom owes $209,000 currently on her house - or about $61,000 more than they will reimburse you. If we can get it down to that, which is always a possibility down the road, we'll certainly look into it. But right now, she owes too much.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 04:56 PM

9. I am so sorry to hear of your and your mom's plight

 

Congress needs to get off of their collective asses and start taking care of ALL it's vets, past and present.
I find it really hard to swallow that most members of congress have never served in the military, yet they get a nice salary for doing...............what the hell do they do? And after 1 term, they get a pension for the rest of their lives.

Where's the justice here?
You are a good person for making the necessary sacrifices for your mother. Keep your chin up and prayers to you and your mom.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:02 PM

10. That's part of what DU is for, I think. Giving its members a voice.

Even if you just need to vent.

We're here for you, Drunken Irishman. And your Congress critter should be there for you, too. I'd bring him or her in on this ASAP. There MUST be some extra help for our veterans and their families and survivors. Your father put his life on the line for his country. I think he's owed. His memory is owed.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:03 PM

11. I don't even know what to say

It's unfair. Congress gives billions to corporations and nothing to the most needy among us.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:07 PM

12. I'm not sure if your father fell under the ""Nehmer" claim

on the new presumptives.
If you haven't already done so-check this out
http://www.nvlsp.org/Information/ArticleLibrary/AgentOrange/AO-nehmer-retrobenefit.htm
This group handled the class action-and they will review your file for free-if it's a nehmer case
if not may I suggest that you find a VSO immediately and let them handle this for you.

email or message me if you would like more info or to discuss
(my sons father passed 5 years ago-Viet Nam vet-agent orange related death-HUGE ongoing battle with the VA now)

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:10 PM

13. No country can be called "great" and --

have something like this happen to their elderly. >

This is a prime example of why I am a "dirty socialist".

Print your rant out on paper. Mail it to your State and Federal Reps. AND the White House.

I wish I had a quick and easy solution for you, but I don't. Hang tough and vent here when needed.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:13 PM

15. Did your mom have unreimbursed medical expenses?

Just a thought--and a question that probably already arose in the applicaion process--but that is one thing that counts toward reducing the income they count:

Certain expenses like, unreimbursed medical expenses, may be used to help lower your income for VA purposes.

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/pension/spousepen.htm#4


It also raises the question of what other "certain expenses" can be excluded from income for VA purposes.

It's worth consulting a veterans service officer from one the veterans' organizations to go over everything again and see if there is anything that might have been missed.

In any case, I hope things work out for you and your mom.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #15)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:22 PM

24. I was thinking along the same lines - is it gross income? or if there was some way to get the 10k

down.

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:58 PM

75. Can be offset with out of pocket medical expense.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #15)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:57 PM

74. I see you're on it here so. yeah. Hope he saw this.

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Response to pinboy3niner (Reply #15)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:58 PM

114. save every freakin' receipt

and I mean everything. Pay for all medical with your debit card if you are paying cash. Get in the computer each month and tag everything. Also, count every doctor's visit, cost of oxygen, medicine paid for out of pocket and include parking and mileage. You will be amazed at how much this can add up. I did it last year and my husband pooh pooh ed me at the beginning. When he saw the amount of tax deduction, he got in on the act.

It's a royal pain to keep up with the filing of papers, but it is soooo worth it.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:15 PM

16. DI, I hope you can get hold of the right people in Congress to address this. It is remarkable....

that your mother is having to deal with this crap. But she's very lucky to have you, and I hope you have one of the more decent Representatives in Congress.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:27 PM

17. Your mom is not fighting the VA...

...your mom is fighting the fucking Republicant controlled Congress.

Yes, REPUBLICANT CONTROLLED CONGRESS.

They have a majority in the House and fili-fucking-buster every bill in the Senate. As a veteran, I find the civil servants in the VA truly do want to help people but can't because their hands are tied. The solution:

VOTE EVERY FUCKING REPUBLICANT OUT OF OFFICE.

These assclowns only care about 1%ers and nothing more.

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Response to Aviation Pro (Reply #17)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:59 PM

76. Say it louder!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:36 PM

18. Consider going to your local Congress critter's office.

 

They can frequently straighten out things faster than the White House.

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Response to jerseyjack (Reply #18)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:55 PM

50. Precisely what I would recommend.

I'd be on the phone with my U.S. representative and both of my U.S. senators about this . . . in between visits to their local field offices if I could make it. I have had pretty good success getting help from my representatives when I've needed it. I occasionally run into problems because even though I'm a citizen, I wasn't born in the U.S. (Me and a gazillion other people. You'd think govt. offices would be able to recognize official citizenship paperwork and would know what to do. Ha!) Armed with my proper papers, my congress people have always gotten the problem solved for me quickly - regardless of their political party. I think that they take some pride in providing decent constituent service. Call, call, call! You pay their salaries and the salaries of their aides!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 05:42 PM

19. write to the white house again - and write what is this shell game is doing to your mom..

this is so disgusting.

I used to know a former marine/us soldier who went left the service worked in Columbus Ohio VA....she would take calls from vets...mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan...One vet called and said he was not getting any help from the VA and was so far from the hospital to go...He was so despondent he said he was going to pour the can of gasoline over him and light it. She was able to keep him talking and call the police in his area who did manage to find and save him before he lit himself afire.


I despise these flag raising chickhawks who send these men and women off to their military industrial complex wars and don't take care of the troops when the come back. So disgusting.

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Response to riverbendviewgal (Reply #19)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:10 PM

22. also to members of Congress

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:01 PM

20. I am so sorry and angry

I'm so sorry for your Mom. It is wrong on so many levels. It infuriates me that the rules are so stacked against the middle class; that Mitt Romney can take a $77,000 tax credit for a damn dancing horse and your Mom is in danger of losing her home. I only hope that the voting ants are greater in number than grasshoppers who are devouring them.

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Response to KauaiK (Reply #20)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:39 PM

83. Welcome to DU Kauaik. Good 4th post.

You're off to a good start.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:03 PM

21. Didn't your parents have life insurance on the mortgage?

I thought that all banks required borrowers to carry life insurance on mortgages.

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Response to PADemD (Reply #21)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:39 PM

30. No. They didn't qualify for it.

My dad had too many health problems.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:20 PM

23. Some questions:

1. You said

"My dad worked until his health wouldn't allow for it anymore - as he was eventually ruled 100% disabled by the U.S. Government due to Agent Orange & PTSD, which he was exposed to in Vietnam."
...
"Well Grandpa died in '02 and Grandma a year later. At that point, however, my dad's health had declined markedly. He was generally housebound and my mom, once again, found herself taking care of someone she loved. "
...
"Well, like I mentioned, Dad died at the end of '10.
"


So my first question:
Was the cause of your father's death clear cut in that it was "due to Agent Orange & PTSD" (war wounds)?

I don't know the rules for sure but I thought I read somewhere that there was a difference in how they would treat your mother if your father's death was related to the wounds he suffered. It might be something to ask about if you haven't already. Maybe your family doctor could help you if there's an opening.

2. You said this:
"My mom collects roughly $10,000 in Social Security - so, $2,000 more than the income required to be eligible."


According to this site:
http://www.payingforseniorcare.com/longtermcare/resources/veterans_pension.html
When determining countable income, veterans should deduct all of their allowable medical related expenses for themselves and their spouses. This includes the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care, Medicare or other insurance premiums. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and welfare benefits are not countable income.


Again, I don't know the rules (and that is not a VA site yet it maybe worth you reading that page) but that clause seemed to defy what they seemed to have told you re social security. Again, I'm not sure and maybe it's just something you could ask.


My grandfather served 15 years, in the Boer War and in WW1 (as did several direct members of my family in both World Wars). He was disabled from the first German use of Phosgene gas, shrapnel wounds and getting his back broken when the hospital he was in was intentionally bombed by the Germans (they targeted hospitals back then). The doctors couldn't resolve the chronic bronchitis from the gassing nor his broken back. He couldn't walk 100 yards and ultimately slowly suffocated, wheezing to death in the years that followed WW1. His disability was 20 cents per day ($2.87 per day in 2010 dollars) plus medical. My grandmother got cancer and predeceased him. My 15 year old mother was left parent-less and can't recall seeing a dime. She was sent off to live with relatives 1,500 miles away.

As that was nearly 100 years ago, you'd think they would have figured out something better by now so folks like your Mom wouldn't fall through the cracks. Like my grandfather, your father made something pretty close to the ultimate sacrifice that just took it's time to conclude but was preceded with years of suffering by him and his loved ones.

So to some limited extent, I can relate. I'm so sorry. I wish you all the best. I hope the VA can reconsider your Mom's case.

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Response to cleduc (Reply #23)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:32 PM

25. Thanks for the reply...

To answer your questions...1

1. My mom applied for service related death benefits because my dad's health had deteriorated mostly because of problems associated with Agent Orange. However, they denied her the claim late last year. I believe she can refile, but I'm not optimistic.

I should point out that my mom would have been eligible for half my dad's benefits if he had died ten years after being ruled 100% disabled. He died eight years after, so, was two years short of the cutoff date. The VA has pretty much said they won't bend on this one. Had he made it two years, she most certainly would've been okay.

2. I looked it up, and apparently, SS is countable income. It sucks, but that's how it appears.

It's a travesty the way we treat our veterans and their families. My mom devoted her entire life fighting for my dad. She was the one who initially researched his Agent Orange claims in the 90s because she knew something was happening to him. She's the one who fought for him every step of the way, fighting for benefits owed to him - fighting for his health.

Then he dies and we turn around and say, "oh well."

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #25)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:20 PM

41. In response,

You said:
"I should point out that my mom would have been eligible for half my dad's benefits if he had died ten years after being ruled 100% disabled. He died eight years after, so, was two years short of the cutoff date. The VA has pretty much said they won't bend on this one. Had he made it two years, she most certainly would've been okay."


So your Dad's disabled condition killed him two years faster than 10 years and therefore, your Mom doesn't qualify? Maybe it's just me and something I don't understand but on some level, I find that rigid "rule" kind of offensive and it must have been tough for your Mom to absorb. I say "kind of" only because there's a possibility that I may not understand all the reasoning behind their rules.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #25)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:48 PM

66. If that bit about medical expenses being deductible is true then you might be able to swing it.

Your description of your Mom's health makes it sound like you could easily spend 150 per month on some kind of physical therapy or in house treatment to knock that 10k SS benefit down to 8.2k.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:36 PM

27. Thanks, everyone...

I can't reply to all, though I did reply to a few who threw out some options.

I've told my mom to contact our congressman, who is a Democrat, but I don't know how far it'll go. We'll exhaust every option before giving up. But sadly, I think we're SOL because I'm guessing there are hundreds, maybe thousands, just like her who fight and lose all the time.

In the end, we're not anymore special than others who are in our situation and haven't been able to get help.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #27)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:30 PM

43. In an election year, maybe a sympathetic ear in the media might help

There might be emotional "costs" to your family & Mom going through something like that so I realize it may not be an attractive path for that reason. But if the choice is:
a) Mom loses her house
or
b) fight on in the media
it might be worth it to you and her. And the timing over the next few months is pretty good with the election.

Supplemental Social Security appears to be ignored as income by the VA so when you Mom turns 65 with COPD, you might look at that.

I found your story heartbreaking. I bet a number of folks would. Again, all the best.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:37 PM

28. k&r..

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:39 PM

29. Your Congress Rep Is A Better Point of Contact.



...So call them in the morning and get their ASS moving.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:42 PM

31. You are in many people's thoughts (and prayers, mine included).

My father-in-law was wounded twice in WWII. He had shrapnel in his head and legs, which were never removed and kept "moving" according to the many many doctors he went to. The VA awarded him a 20% disability. For 30 years as his health deteriorated, including his mind, he wrote letter after letter (about 25 in all) and always had medical records to back up his request to re-examine the initial determination. He was never able to work very long because of the pain. He died in 2008...

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:42 PM

32. so sorry to hear that, DI

sounds nightmarish.
I hope you and your mom will make it through okay.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:47 PM

33. I won't offer advice - this isn't my area of expertise -

but I will share your righteous anger!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 06:58 PM

34. Try a contact to the First Lady who is interested in helping military families.

 

And "If you make more than $8,219 a year, and you're the spouse of a former veteran who didn't die in combat, or due to service related illness, you're SOL." It seems to me that your dad did die of a service related illness. I would go back and re-apply and use all the medical information pertaining to his agent-orange related disability. Or did I miss something?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:00 PM

35. Stunned. Horrible thing to be happening. Horrible. Your story

is similar to what we are going through with my father, VA, Social security, on and on. He owns his home and we are trying to sell it so that he doesn't get booted out of Assisted Living. The whole f'in process sucks when all our parents did their whole lives is try their damnedest. I so totally hear you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know I know......

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:09 PM

36. Have you looked into one of those fundraising or change.com campaigns?

You're more than deserving! I'm at Snowbird this week and I want to drive down to the valley right now and give your mom a hug.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:13 PM

37. I would take try to get some media coverage.

I would elicit the help of local veterans groups.

I would start a facebook page. Someone here would probably be glad to help.

Writing the First Lady is a good idea.

Take some photos of your mom and dad, and a picture of the house.

Compile a packet for the media. The story, the photos.

Thank you for sharing your story. We are always here.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:13 PM

38. Possible info link

Sorry to hear about your Mom's problems.

As a Vietnam vet myself, I have nothing but good things to say about the VA, but it
does take time to get paperwork processed. It took 14 months to get my claims processed
but in the interim my (considerable) medical care was covered.

(deleted redundant link)

This a self help forum by vets for vets (and families).
Lots of folks there who have a lot of answers.

http://vets.yuku.com/directory#.UBmyyaNUbQE

Good Luck

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:15 PM

39. That really sucks.

I hope we don't get into the same situation with ACA. Dealing with bureaucrats in a case like this can be heartbreaking.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:18 PM

40. Stories like this make me wonder why anyone volunteers to fight

for America - including my nephew - this is unbelievable

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:28 PM

42. My brother is 100% disabled through SS. The state of Texas has it set that you make too much from

SS to qualify for Medicaid. $600 a month was too much, so he could not get the back surgery he needs to get off of SS and make a living. My Uncle, a veteran of the Korean war worked his whole life and b/c he was always a relatively low wage earner, lived on $600 a month with a $300 house note. I never knew it was that bad as he was a very proud man. He died of malnutrition! These Republicans think these people don't deserve the little that they get. I guess the real answer is that they think people on public assistance live high on the hog and they refuse to accept the truth. The truth is, they still do not want to pay even that paltry amount. Yeah, U.S.A. #1. They make me sick!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:31 PM

44. D*mn Irish......

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Response to a kennedy (Reply #44)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:36 PM

46. +1

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:33 PM

45. I am so sorry.

I receive about the same ss as your mom and I had to leave the country in order to afford both food and lodging during the same period of time. I am able to make it and even have a decent life with affordable dental and medical in Thailand, but I couldn't do it in the US unless a family member took me in and gave me free rent. I prefer to be independent so I had to run away. Getting old can be tough enough without all these added issues.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 07:38 PM

47. A fundraiser could be a good idea...

I really don't post here much, as I am a much better reader than I am writer.

It takes a lot to actually get me to log in and reply to a post. I just wanted to first let you know that I sympathize and am sorry for all the stress and anxiety this is causing you and your mom.

I also wanted to let you know that if you were to create one of those crowd-source fundraiser campaigns for your mom, I pledge to pitch in what I can (which is embarrassingly small in the grand scheme of things, but hopefully others would join in).

Hope that something can be worked out soon, and that things get easier.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:43 PM

48. Research "reverse mortgages."

Good luck. You're not in NY are you?

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Response to savannah43 (Reply #48)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:09 PM

57. Reverse mortagages will relieve her of the house-payment, BUT once she passes on,

depending on the size of the mortgage and the market for the house, if her children want to liquidate, they CAN end up upside down on the house, owing more than it's worth.

If the mother wants to leave her children something, she may not want to take this chance.

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Response to savannah43 (Reply #48)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:26 PM

61. She owes too much on the mortgage to qualify...

She's about 50-60,000 over what you need to owe to qualify for a reverse mortgage.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:48 PM

49. Send this to Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:55 PM

51. k&r...

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 08:58 PM

52. I'm so sorry for her situation. Maybe she can get some sort of part time job?

Office work, maybe? To supplement her income? Few people can subsist on SS alone. And 62 is still pretty young these days. I know she has health problems, but if she's not 100% disabled, there might be something she can do to earn some money. Most older people have arthritis (I do, and I'm in my 50's), so unless she's disabled, I don't see that as a huge deal.

Selling stuff off Ebay? (But you have to have stuff to sell.)

Maybe it'd be cheaper to sell the house, and her move into a 2 bedroom apt with you. No home repair costs, yard, mortgage, etc.

You don't have any siblings to help?

But PLEASE do NOT forego your future on behalf of your mother. That does no one any good. One day you'll still be here, and she'll be gone. You'll want to know you did what you could, but you will be left with nothing if you sacrifice too much for your parents to the point that it interferes with your future. And you'll resent it. Guilt...it sometimes pushes us to sacrifice too much.

I have a sister I feel pressured to help. I do help her. But I have drawn a line on some things. She is, after all, responsible for her situation. While I worked hard for decades, saving pennies, struggling, going to work in broken down cars, she didn't work while living with our mom, smoking & eating her way into an early stroke. So she ended up w/o ins., money, or good health.

You can't totally solve situations for other people. They are really the only ones who can help themselves, in the end. And they need to start preparing for their golden years decades before. You alone cannot make up for all those years. (Unless you're wealthy, which you may be.) If you're not wealthy, maybe it would risk your retirement to take on an elderly dependent. You cannot let that happen.

Your first responsibility is to take care of yourself. Preserve your retirement and your health. Only then can you help your mom.

As for the VA, the rules are the rules. Which sucks.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #52)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:29 PM

62. My mom has always been there for me and I'll always be there for her...

While I thank you for your rational post, I really don't think you can compare my mom to your sister. My mom took care of my grandpa and my dad for the last fifteen years and that kept her from working. Prior to my grandpa's stroke, she held down a job and brought in income and worked hard.

Maybe she can get a part-time job, though I think the options are limited by her conditions and the fact she hasn't worked, outside the home, since the mid-90s. It's not as if my mom just slacked off these past few years. She was taking care of her husband, who could not be on his own due to memory loss and before that, she was taking care of my paralyzed grandpa.

She's almost 63, when you're that age, on constant oxygen and suffering arthritis, the job options are very limited.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #62)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:51 PM

73. Your mom quitting her job to care for sick relatives - that's my point.

Yes, I am a rational person, which may come off harsh to those who are not. But it's just a practical thing.

Your mom quit her job when she was young...in her 40's...to sacrifice for her parent and her husband. So they wouldn't have to go into an institution. But ... you see how that worked out in the long run. She not only sacrificed her security, her future, she may have sacrificed yours, as well. You now are about to do the same thing.

I'm not suggesting that you not help her. I was just whispering in your ear to set some parameters and try to preserve your health and your future.

COPD, on constant oxygen, is a problem. Can she not go for four hours a day w/o it? If that's the case, she may qualify for SS disability, which may pay more than work benefits? There may be some stuffing envelopes jobs that are available, things like that. Besides, working is good for older people (like me): earning a little money, feeling wanted and worthwhile, feeling useful, and the social aspect if you work outside the home.

Despite my sister's situation, I am there for her. Really. We talk on the phone a lot (she's out of state). I pay for certain things for her, to the extent I think I can w/o interfering too much with my retirement savings. She's on Medicaid in a nursing home, even though she's in her 50's, because of a major stroke and broken hip. I listen to her talk about her many ailments. I feel badly I can't get her certain things...but I had to draw a line somewhere. Otherwise, it'd interfere with my retirement security, and what would I do when I'm 75 and need $500 for some medical procedure and don't have it? Who will ride up on a white horse to save me? No one. My sister will be gone by then, as will some of my other siblings. There is me, myself, and I to take care of myself in my older years. I've been trying to prepare for that for years. If you're young, your older years may seem far, far away. You will reach them sooner than you think.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #52)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:38 PM

64. .

The whole tenor of this post bothers me.

No direct mention of boot straps but the implication is clearly there.

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Response to Doremus (Reply #64)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:23 PM

71. Just being practical.

Does it help to take one more person into your lifeboat, if that risks sinking the boat with everyone in it?

He could end up broke and in the same situation as his mother, if he spends all his expendable income on her. And what will happen to him, then? His health might suffer. So he may well end up with health problems at 62, with no one to help him.

This is life lessons 101. A parent's first responsibility is to himself/herself, to prepare for retirement. That is above paying for child's school, or anything else, except healthcare. Although it may seem selfish to some...it avoids the type of situation as stated in the OP. And the vice versa is true: if a child depletes all resources caring for others, while not asking them to contribute, this type of situation will happen again, when the child becomes a senior.

One's first responsibility is to maintain health (so you don't end up with health problems that are preventable), prepare for retirement, THEN if there's anything left over, that is to help others.

There is nothing wrong with bootstraps, BTW.

Or maybe I should've just sympathized and called the VA bad names, instead of trying to offer actual advice that would maybe help. (I didn't mention, for instance, how most people in this forum seem to want to cut the Dept of Defense budget.....which pays for pensions. Ironic.)

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #71)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:10 PM

108. You might call it practical, but I call it heartless

I am not speaking of your situation with your sister, but your advice to DI. You sound like a republican who expects disabled older people to find a job. In this p*ss poor economy, that's a laugh. Also, my husband was on disability for 25 years, and it was the same as his SS would have been. The difference for us was that we had three children under 18 and got extra money for them, but the amt. he drew was the same. Though he is dead, I still draw that same amt. Of course, he drew it much earlier than 65. He was actually 43 when the roof metaphorically feel down on his head. Open and shut case. His disability was approved within three months of applying. They probably didn't want to have to read the 700+ pages of medical records.

Sounds to me like this dear woman has certainly been wonderful to her loved ones, and deserves to take care of herself for a while, not go out and earn minimum wage. I doubt seriously if she is even able enough to work.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #71)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:50 PM

111. People have always taken care of their parents

The poor, especially. Retirement is a relatively new concept in human society, and it applies to the rich and the middle class, and not so much to the poor.

DI is talking about a house, which, if the family can keep it, he will inherit.

What was the mother to have done, not taken care of her parents? Not taken care of her husband? Her husband died early, and further, served in the military of this country. Thus, this country should have a system that does not leave someone who lived as she has in the lurch when older.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:01 PM

53. It's a damn shame they make you jump through hoops. I know what you are going

 

through. You make sure you stay on it.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:01 PM

54. I'm so sorry. Please send this to Michelle Obama

and maybe Joe Biden - whoever you can think of. They seem to take stories like these to heart and they should see how real people are affected.

You and your mom are blessed to have each other.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:05 PM

55. I am so sorry

I read your post twice, it broke my heart. I have heard stories very like yours too many times. I hope thing get better for your Mother and you. I will keep you both in my prayers.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:05 PM

56. Congress. did. this.

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Response to patrice (Reply #56)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:11 PM

60. And they really don't care!!!

 

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #60)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:37 PM

63. They really don't.

The woman told my mom that Congress informed them, during the time they were trying to raise the requirement income, that people should live comfortably off $8,000 a year.

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Response to nanabugg (Reply #60)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:47 PM

86. It's ALL about numbers to some. Or some other ideological abstraction. Not human LIVES.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:10 PM

58. I can't even find words for the horror I feel for you and your mom.

I think they must want the older ones to pass. I wish there was a magic wand because i would wave it. Please know we love both of you and are with you in spirit. If this was a just world your mama would have her house and Romney and the fuckers would have their own, a big one with bars.

I will hold you both in my prayers and thoughts. I wish it were more.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:11 PM

59. I`m so sorry.

Your Mom sounds like such a hard-working, caring person. I hope things work out for her.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 09:44 PM

65. You are a dear soul DI, truly.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:16 PM

67. This is sickening...

I sent this to my Senator, Patty Murray. She's always stating she's a big advocate
for veterans, maybe someone on her staff will read it and give a damn.

I'm so very sorry. We have to change this system. It works for no one but the 1%,
We just can't live like this.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:17 PM

68. Is there a possibility that your congressman could help?

Mine was on the Armed Services Committee and I know that he reached out to a lot of area Vietnam vets. And my friend told me that our former congressman did a lot to help her late father receive the benefits he needed when he became disabled - and that rep was a Republican...

My heart goes out to you and your Mom. Don't give up and let us know how you are doing. That's one wonderful thing about DU, you always have friends who care and are a terrific resource if you need to know anything, and are always here for support...

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:20 PM

69. I am so sorry.

Life shouldn't be so hard.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:21 PM

70. Very easy to say, "keep fighting", as she'd done that already...

Meanwhile, your mom doesn't need further stress, does she?

On the one hand, you're still young, and another good thing is the family is there for each other. Support her, yes, and call one of your local paper's staff writers who maybe should following this sort of thing as a feature. It might be helpful to do that.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 10:36 PM

72. If anyone doubts that this country has a long way to go, they should read your post.

Most of all, don't give up! My husband is fond of saying how so many people drown three feet from shore. Keep swimming, and your Mom, as well! If she keeps up hope, she will be healthier and better off, even if she is working harder.

As other DU'ers have said, write Joe Biden, write Michelle Obama. This is an ELECTION YEAR, which is a break for you!

Then, do look into reverse mortgages. Get information from several different realtors. Your Mom can stay in her house and would no longer have payments.

Your mother should look into network marketing companies for some additional income. There are a number of them with sterling reputations, tiny startup costs, and only require her to talk on the phone or occasionally meet with a potential customer. If she has computer access, she could also do research for writers. There are a number of jobs that would not require much skill level or physical exertion, but it takes a bit of ingenuity to access your skills and find them.

Above all, please don't give up! The system might fail you, but you and your Mom should never fail yourselves. You can do it!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:01 PM

77. Now if everyone on this thread would give a pug a call. And we vote them all out Nov.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:12 PM

78. what state are you in?

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Response to Laura PourMeADrink (Reply #78)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:32 PM

82. I'm in Utah.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Reply #82)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:54 PM

87. ouch

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)


Response to lonestarnot (Reply #79)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:32 PM

81. Excuse me?!?

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #79)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:39 PM

84. Yipes! If you are giving some advice

your words (and all caps) come off pretty harsh.

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #79)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:40 PM

85. You know, your tone is absolutely not necessary.

How dare you suggest I am making something up and then call me names. If you had bothered to read this entire thread, or even asked about DIC benefits, you would have been able to get an answer without rudely questioning my claim.

My mom filed for service-related spousal benefits in March, 2011. In November, 2011, she was denied those benefits. We were going to refile, but held off on the hope that they would rule on her other claim to receive my dad's pension. That claim was also denied because she made too much money, as her income was roughly $2,000 or so more a year than the cutoff.

My dad was ruled 100% disabled in 2003. He had to be ruled 100% for ten years before my mom could collect without proving it was service-related. He died in 2010, nearly two years to the day from the ten-year date. My mom could fight that, and that is an option, however, it's not something I'm banking on.

So don't come at me with accusations. Had you politely asked me about this, as some in this thread have (or sent me a message), you would have received a reply - which I did reply to someone upthread - on how she was denied service-related spousal benefits.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:26 PM

80. Are you still here? Come back here you!

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Response to lonestarnot (Reply #80)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:03 PM

107. have you been hitting the bottle before noon again?

I thought we talked about this...

Am I going to have to take your xbox away from you again?!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:57 PM

88. Congress needs to raise the rate

I hope some news person sees this and gets the situation out there for more people to know.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 11:59 PM

89. For some strange reason, my S.O. is in no hurry to swap the green card for citizenship.

 

Shocking, eh?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:01 AM

90. One almost needs a lawyer experienced in thses matters to get thru the maze.

But the folks who need the help the most can ill afford a lawyer.

I don't get much a month but I'm luckier then many as my home is paid for and I have no car payment or credit card payments. Just the usual utilities, property taxes, homeowners insurance and food and some other items.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:04 AM

91. have you checked your PM lately?

just sayin

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:06 AM

92. I'm so sorry DI

Thoughts and prayers to you and your mother. I really hope things work out

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 12:28 AM

93. I'm so sorry DI

My dad was also Agent Orange disabled and we almost lost our home in the 10 year wait to get his benefits.

I offer my sympathy, for whatever it's worth. Feel free to shoot me a PM and I'll buy you a few drinks downtown.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:30 AM

94. My heart goes out to you

and your mom, friend. I hope for good news in the near as a result of collective DU thoughts and prayers.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:10 AM

96. Reading this has saddened me deeply. I don't know what to say. Maybe



another letter to the WHITE HOUSE will bring some relief (?)

My Dad was born in the Dom. Republic, but was the son of a U.S. citizen. He was a merchant marine during WWII.

I will make this story short. He accepted a diplomatic position with the Dominican legation in the early 50's, as commercial attache, in El Salvador, and that is where my sister and I lived with our parents until their separated and eventually divorced.

My dad served in El Salvador for about five more years, then returned to the Dom. Republic (he was a businessman). This was all under Trujillo, BTW. He learned that while he was away (apparently he was given this post out of the country, for a reason), more than half my grandmother's land had been 'appropriated' by the dictator. We had tens of thousands of acres of land. My grandmother had been married to a Brugal, but that is another story.

Anyway, Dad contacts the VA in the 90's to see if he could claim benefits as a veteran (medical, whatever), and they told him that he had forfeited his U.S. citizenship when he accepted the diplomatic position in El Salvador, as a representative of the Dom. Republic.

ONE letter to Bill Clinton in the White House changed everything. He was reinstated as a U.S. citizen and received the benefits he was entitled to under the VA.

End of story. It can't hurt to send another letter to the White House, can it?





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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:18 AM

97. Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking!!!!!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:35 AM

98. Wow. I hope something breaks for you & mom

Because that just sucks! Goddamn@$;<|_#}*^=# congress!!

You ought to send that whole post to the President. Seriously. And the news media. Can't hurt. Because this is a travesty.Abuse. A shame. It's just unacceptable.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:47 AM

99. I am also sorry to hear about your mom's difficulty with the VA

For what it's worth maybe you could start a petition on Change.org. I would be happy to sign it and post it on my Facebook page as would many here I'm sure.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:49 AM

100. wow this is very sad

I just want you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.
There are many great suggestions in here. I sincerely hope that you can do many if them.
Mid twenties, huh? That is way too young to deal with all of this. Please take time for yourself or maybe you and your mom.

Vent anytime. It is therapeutic for you. I would join your Facebook page. Peace.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:18 AM

101. I'm very sorry to hear about your family's troubles.

My heart goes out to your mom, and to you. I hope that you get some advice and help. Maybe somebody in this thread has suggested it already, but have you checked with Legal Aid in your community? What about your surviving sibling - can they help at all?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:31 AM

102. So sorry to hear your having troubles. Feels like just about everyone I know is.

All I can offer them is to hang in there and to fight to make sure it never happens to anyone else, ever again. More often than not, it always seems to come down to somebody finally succumbing after being slowly "nickel & dimed" by the Govt or by corporations (or both). Whose only bad decision was putting faith in the American Dream. We sit and watch as billions in free money for Wall St is taken from those who played by the rules and squandered. Time after time after time. When taking care of our veterans and most especially, victims of their own countries actions, should be the priority.
I applaud your decision to help as much as possible and pray your family finds more peace in the coming year.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:18 AM

103. We definitely need to change that disgustingly low pittance. Write to Michelle Obama. She cares and

probably is not aware of that little tidbit of information. Congress should be ashamed of themselves. Most have gotten out of going in the service during VietNam, probably World War II, Korea and Iraq and any other conflict. Almost none of their children fought either. Nor will their grandchildren. These corrupt politicians receive huge retirement benefits at our expense, even when convicted of crimes. That must change also. This "do nothing" Congress has been useless. Get the money out of politics. Get rid of the electoral college. All obsolete. Let's take back America, people. Go Occupiers!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:27 AM

104. "The VA sympathized with her and said they wished there was something they could do"

After leading you and her along for years to think she was entitled to a pension.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:39 AM

105. Funny how shit like this rarely goes in our favor

Makes you almost think the whole system is rigged against us, or something. But that can't be, can it?

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:47 AM

106. Can't add much to what everybody else here said but

I hope something unexpected and good happens for you and your mom. This country's priorities are so freaking effed up!!!!!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:34 PM

109. I just wrote the White House, &

included the link to your post. Maybe others can do the same & light a fire under those who can find the loopholes needed to process the benefits I believe your mother deserves.

Shame on this country, if we can't be there for the survivors of those who sacrificed for us.

My heart & prayers are with you, DI!

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:37 PM

110. So sorry DI

One thing, check with a lawyer if at all possible. Sounds like you have only talked to the people at the VA and they don't always know everything that can be done and they sound inconsistent.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:08 PM

112. Would it be possible for your Mom to convert her mortgage. . .

To a reverse mortgage? The minimum age requirement is age 62. I don't know if this would work in your Mom's case but it might.

Best of luck to you.

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Response to Drunken Irishman (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:55 PM

113. I'm so sorry to hear about this DI...

Both my parents are vets of WWII (mom was an Army nurse) and the hoops she's had to jump through to get my dad's pension after his death have been ridiculous. More on that another time.

Have you contacted someone in social services for the VA hospital near you? They sometimes can pull strings and work through the red tape. I worked in Social Services with a nursing home and we dealt with the VA regularly. It was always a pain in the ass! One of the biggest problems is the info getting shuffled from one desk to another. Some of my VA residents sat for hours up there waiting to be seen or get help. It took staying on them to get things done.

Do you have someone who can help you do some of the leg work? Keep us informed. I will see what I can find out on this end.

Hang in there and tell your mom there is a way.

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