I was trying to get Aid and Attendance for my mother for many years. Her deceased spouse was the only father I knew & an officer in the Army Air Corps. The VA representative said that denial had to do with "a problem with the marriages." A couple months after she passed, I was shocked to find that my Dad had 2 sons and 2 daughters who already had grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I could not find any marriage or divorce documents except my mother's. Vital statistics did not have any to report to me. She went on & took Medicaid.

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Ugh...I would check with vital statistics.  If your dad never married the first, then your mother should be entitled to benefits. 
If you dad married the first and never got divorced...illegally married your mother...then sadly, there is not much that you can do.
If the first wife took out benefits, it sounds like she felt she was entitled to do so. 
There is a lot here that needs to be answered.  Maybe hire a private investigator if you do not have the time to chase.  From things I have dealt with, these super sleuths are usually worth their weight in gold.   Could answer a lot of questions as well.

Mimosalane, what a mess you've got on your hands. You have my sympathy. But , all is not lost. Suggestion; 1. check with the NATIONAL database of vital statistics.
2; RUN BACKGROUND CHECKS; There are many different sites to do this. All charge a fee; most run a "trial period." $1.00 - $2.00. -- Beenverified com - - - google for websites - there are dozens of them. NOTE; Keep detailed records of each one you use, especially the expiration on trial period. Be sure to cancel before trial is over, otherwise, you will be charged out the wahzoo for their services. Some are outrageous high. Most will list relatives, addresses, former spouses, phone numbers....they will have information you'll wish no one had. Sometimes, they will present you with more than one person - make sure it's yours before clicking on any of them. I realize it's to late to help your Mom, but it just might give you valuable information about your Dad. Knowledge is priceless. I'm sorry for your loss...

Mimi - so your mom was legally married to your dad?
Dad was legally divorced from his prior wives?
Or he actually was a bigamist, so marriage to mom was invalid?

I don’t know how VA deals with this but for SS, my understanding is, as long as the prior divorced wives do NOT remarry, then they all can apply for his SS payout as a surviving spouse. Each getting $ based on his own SS payout and it’s not divided up. I know someone who has this, first wife (never remarried)of 30+ yrs gets $ based on his full SS benefit and 2nd much younger wife gets his too plus they have kids under 18 which each get abt 1/2 his SS benefit ea mo. till they turn 18 or finish high school. It’s not especially common but is how SS does this.

The $ to kids under 18 is a real perk for later in life parents who can take full retirement age SS.

Whatever the case, omg, I feel for you. Your whole childhood now has this WTF cloud over it. To me, it’s all about if you truly feel the need to know about them. My dad was married twice before a decade plus before he married my mom. Outside of minimal maybe less than a dz get togethers when I was preschool age, have I ever seen them. I’m not at all sentimental & could care less; I do have large # of cousins on mom’s side and dads brothers side, so that was my family growing up. My dad actually did his will to specifically exclude them with a should they challenge his will they were to get $ 1.00 clause. I feel no need to reach out to them. But you may need to..... I’d suggest you try to find Army Air Corp forums, someone just may still be around that knew him from basic training or postings and knew him from those marriages. Or their kids have fotos of their various base postings, there’s likely to be lots of fotos from the 50’s & 60’s as units had camera guys. Lots of the pics will have their names on their uniforms so it’s easy to ID who’s who. My dad was a fed - USAF civil service for most of the time- and it’s was amazing how many of his trainees (well their wives) kept up with my parents for decades. Even after they left USAF. Couple even came to his funeral. And yeah, none of his other kids did.

If they can't show that your father was previously married, and in fact a bigamist - yikes - then I think you should argue. WHAT problem with the marriages? I don't care how many children he had elsewhere, your mother was married to a serviceman and this was about her entitlements. I'm sad to see that it's now more about closure, but the VA owes you a full explanation at least and they still owe it to her to put their records straight.

mimosalane - Wow! That must have been a shock to find out your dad had other children and grand/great grand children. How did you find out?

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