Both of my parents served about 3-4 years in the army. Dad was likely 1959-1962, Mom said she joined right after high school in 1962-1965. I have no paperwork for either. Now that they are 78 and 83 and their situation is declining, I need to figure out what VA benefits they might be entitled to since they won’t be able to pay for any sort of AL facility for Mom and memory care for Dad for more than a year or two. Where do I start? They were both honorably discharged. Is there a database or something I can look them up in? I have POA for both. I figure I need some sort of proof of service when I make an appointment with the VA. I live in Milwaukee and my parents are in Tampa. Does it matter if I go to VA in Milwaukee? I’ve googled but it’s overwhelming and this forum has such a wealth of information from you wonderful people… has anybody dealt with this? What are the steps? I’m worried dad needs to go to Memory Care and mom will exhaust their limited resources paying for it - leaving her with nothing for her own care.

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I recently went through this process for my Mom, she is the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran…. I was lucky, I found a volunteer that walked me through the entire process, and connected me with an attorney who filed the paperwork. I started the process in July 2021, payment was received in April 2022. It’s a process, be prepared. There is a lot of paperwork…but my local VA did not help much, in fact they said, can’t you pay for her care? … I did have my father’s original DD214, and that helped. The VA Aid & assistance is helping pay the exorbitant cost of care for my Mom… I’m glad I did it. The good thing, is the VA pays from the date you start the process, so I received payments dating to August 1, 2021.
I wish you good luck… but seek out someone to help you with this… there are many out there. Take care!
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Reply to Deblib

Cammy 123, Generally, you cannot double dip from the federal government. It is usually recommended to accept Medicaid for skilled nursing care. Medicaid will not pay for a private upgraded room. And if she has the money to pay for a private room she probably become disqualified from Medicaid because of too much income.

In most states Medicaid will not pay for Assisted Living or Memory Care. Consult an elder care attorney to get the information for your state or contact a Medicaid case worker.
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Reply to Becky04489

Hi Lmkcbz, I am a war vet and have done literally over 3,000 VA improved pensions with Aid & Attendance. I am also a member of the American Legion. If you try to get DD 214s for your parents through the Federal Records Center in St. Louis, you could be waiting well over a year. You can request the records through and most likely get them in around a week or two. I can walk you through the entire process - it’s not easy. Let me know if you want any specific info. Happy to help!
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Reply to RebeccaOtt
Lmkcbz Aug 11, 2022
i Got their forms! Next up need to file an intent to file form. I think a facility has been selected. I wonder if the facility helps with this sort of thing? Thank you so much!!
I used a private company, fee was approx $2500. Started process in December, Mom had Surviving Spouse Aid and Attendence by May 1st

but. I did have dads orig discharge paperwork so that gave me a head start.

before starting down the deep dive, lots of paperwork, I’d confirm they are eligible. I believe you need to serve 5 years, and there are wartime/dates that are involved. I’ve heard VA takes forever if you don’t have the right info

do a little research on VA website

best of luck.
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Reply to MichiganToOhio

Check with local VA. You will need their social security numbers. They should be able to help you get copies of their honorable discharge paperwork. Then, you can work with local VA to help your parents get all the resources available for them. Since both are veterans, they should both qualify for skilled nursing or memory care under VA programs.
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Reply to Taarna

You need a DD214 for each of them. Call department of veterans affairs. They will help you. It’s a lot of paperwork and takes time so do it NOW. Do you have a copy of their separation papers? You’ll need their social security numbers to get started. Good luck. Did they serve during war time?
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Reply to Katefalc

Lmkcbz: You could contact The American Legion at 800-433-3318. Best of luck.
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Reply to Llamalover47

You need there DD214 either paper or my dad had a card the size of a credit card Luckily it was in his safety deposit box. They could possibly qualify for aid and attendance which is a monthly income for a vet I believe it is 2,400 a month for a spouse it is 1,200 a month. It is to use for there care either at home or in a facility. I assume they both will qualify for the 2,400 a month since they both served. If that doesn’t happen the survivering spouse still collects the 1,200 a month once one of them passes. It can take up to 6 months to get approved but they make it retro. If one should pass before they are approved then the paperwork has to start all over for the surviving one. You can get online to apply for there Dd214 which I think they say can take 6 weeks. Your best option is to probably get the va 800 number and tell them you would like to talk to someone who handles the aid and attendance benefit. If they have never used any benefits from the va I think that will put them further down the list. My dad had been using there services for 20 years (he didn’t need to because he had really good insurance from his job and Medicare) before needing them for in home care. The provided him with a hospital bed wheelchair hand rails stool riser shower chair a thing to help put his shoes on and socks a grabber to help get things he couldn’t reach. He also got a scooter which he only got to use for maybe a couple of months they also put the carrier for the scooter. That request had to go through a committee and took like 6 months to a year to get approved. If he goes into memory care his ss will all go there except like 40.00 for personal expenses. Medicaid will pay but if there house or any investments have not been out of there name for five years they will put a lien on the house for the amount it cost them to pay for his care and also the amount of your Mom’s care if they have to pay anything on her. They will also have to do a division of assets. Your mom can stay in the house and keep one automobile. If there is any other money that will have to be split in half and your dad will have to spend down to 3,000 before Medicaid will pay. If he qualifies and you have to pay out of pocket then you will get reimbursed for what you pd from when they start paying. The only thing is a lot of nursing homes won’t take you if your application is only in the process they want to make sure you are approved because they have gotten burned by people who think they qualify but don’t. They also bill you a month ahead. It will take 2-3 months at least to get approved for Medicaid. Hope this helps a little bit.

P S my dad also got most of his medication free and it was a 90 supply and his office appointments were free and his glasses and hearing aids.
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Reply to Horseshoemama6
Cammy123 May 7, 2022
Hi - thank you for this helpful information. I'm wondering if you can help me - my mother is 90; and after months and months of phone calls and waiting, my mother now has Medicaid, with a pooled trust set up for her overage. She was also approved for Managed Long Term Care (at home care); but things are looking like we need to put her in an assisted living facility. There are two that accept Medicaid and actually they are really very nice. They will take her Social Security leaving only $240 for her... but I would like to upgrade her to a semi-private room that gives her her own bedroom and bathroom - that is an additional $750. My mother is also entitled to $1313/month from my father's VA benefit (I confirmed through the Patriot Angels). They said if she goes into an ALF, and uses her entire SS check, she will receive the benefit - but they recommended I confirm with the state that she will not lose Medicaid. I am in NY - every time I called Medicaid through this process, I was lucky to get the same answer twice. I'm assuming the VA benefit will need to go into her pooled trust as overage, but as long as they are paying her assisted living and her bills; there should be no issue. If I am able to do this, then she can get the upgraded room and also have left over money for her minor bills. Sorry for the long question, but in short, do you know if there is there any issue to receive both Medicaid and the VA benefit? Thank you so much!
There are local Veterans Assistance Commissions.
They are there to help you find out what services are available.
Contact them. Any information you have that will be helpful.
Full names.
If you have discharge papers great but I did not have that when I went to my local office. All I had was his Name and Date of Birth and Social Security number.

You could call the VA but I think you would get faster help from a local VAC office.
And there are firms that will chare a fee for their service to determine eligibility for services and what benefits the Veteran is entitled to
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Reply to Grandma1954

Short answer. You have to have a copy of their discharge papers.

DAV (Disables American Veterans) was very helpful for my husband here in Phoenix. If you have a DAV in your area, you might want to make an appointment and go in to see them. I found a face to face to be more helpful.

Also, you might want to go online and see what is available. To me, it was quite confusing.

I received an email from VA today. You might want to contact them.

For us, it was a long drawn out process.

Wishing you the best.
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Reply to LexiPexi

I would make an appointment with your local VA office.

Take all pertinent documents with you. POA, any letters of incapacity from doctors, social security cards, birth certificates for all of you, marriage certificates, birth certificates ID S, I think you get my drift.

Better yet if you can take one or both parents along that would be helpful. I didn’t see in your post if either is mobile.

I provide this information because of difficulties I had applying for various assistance programs for my mother.

Good luck
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Reply to Usedup1959

Call the VA. Mom was eligible for 52 hours of care a month through the VA but I didn’t have a copy of my father’s discharge paperwork. It took 6 months but they found it in the National Archives and now I have respite care 2 days a week. Keep calling, don’t give up. They are there to help you
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Reply to dgcctoth

My request for my dad's military service has been in the queue for almost two years; HOWEVER, here's a link to the VA military records request that can expedite your request:

This page has the information you need to download the SF 180 form and instructions. At the very bottom of that page is a section for emergency requests. Good luck.
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Reply to MountainMoose

I had success for my husband with our county veterans affairs office after getting bad advice elsewhere. As someone said... don't stop with one office if you don't have success because there are several service organizations that can help you. Some counselor reps are better than others and some will go the extra mile to help you.

The most important thing is get an appointment and get the application filed because the financial benefits will be backdated to the date of your application. You can even get it started and dated then bring in the missing items later. I took him to meet with our counselor once in person and since then it has been email and phone calls. If I remember right, my POA was not valid with the VA but by going in person together we established my ability to speak for him. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

The second most important thing is be sure they are enrolled for medical care at their local VA facility. We missed out on that for years because we have good insurance and did not want to lose our favorite providers. You only have to have an annual visit to stay in the system and can continue using your private providers if you wish. Doing this has provided home health aides, Depends, Ensure, Wheelchair, Walker, hearing aids, glasses and so many other benefits. Most are available for asking because they don't always offer because they don't know you need them. Ask other VA caregivers what they are getting and you might be eligible too just for the asking.

Some of the benefits increase if there is a service connected disability. Again, we missed out for years because of not enrolling in the VA medical care. When he got his hearing aids, we were asked if we thought it was service connected. We said no because while in the AF he was not around the planes. A year later, we considered maybe it was because even though he was "only" in communications he was in a secured room with teletype machines clacking all day! We applied for disability and based on his career field (listed on his DD-214) he did not have to prove the connection it was automatic. After going for a special exam he was approved for 20% which brought a financial benefit.

Once they are in the VA medical care, they will be given a social worker who can help you navigate so the sooner the better. However, do not limit yourself to the social worker's advice. As you learn a little bit, keep searching for more insights. I began learning about the benefits when trying to get respite care. We still don't qualify for respite care but it opened the door for so many other benefits we had been missing. The best part by both being veterans if they get the aid and attendance the benefit is enhanced because they qualify on their own rather than one getting spousal benefits.

So, look for a VA service organization or county veterans affairs office while also getting registered for the VA medical care at the local VA hospital. Doors will be opened. Once they get a VA ID card at the hospital... they can even get 10% off at Lowes and Home Depot as well as veteran discounts in restaurants, etc.!

Any paperwork you are missing, the counselors can probably help you obtain. You should be able to do most long distance.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to KPWCSC

Before you do anything at all, get on the VA website and find the “Intent to file” form and get that submitted. That starts the clock for benefits and anything they receive will be back dated to the date that was filed.

Contact the local VA office and ask about the free services offered for applying for benefits. Some counties have this service, other entities include “grant supported” individual firms. There are people that do it for a few but they are no more responsive or helpful than those who are paid by grant or county governments.

If you can’t get your parents DD214 from them, you’ll have to apply for that next.
Since they are living, you’ll need them to sign a form giving you permission to speak for them. The rep at the county or private agency can give you that.

It takes some effort but it is well worth it if they have service related illness or injury. Many things can be determined to be service related and they served during the Vietnam era so there is lots to help there.

I started my father-in-law’s application on Jan 3 (intent to file) and a private grant-funded party started assisting me a week or so later. On March 31, we received a decision. Most will not be that quick but it can be.

Fibally, ask about aid and assistance. That is a much faster process if they qualify and will cover until other claims are settled.
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Reply to Lovemom1941
KPWCSC May 5, 2022
I had never heard of the "intent to file" form. Thanks.
Good Morning,

Yes I have dealt with this. You need both of their discharge papers. For example in my late dad's case the Army branch a form DD-214. I would contact your parents' primary care doc and ask them if they have a Nurse Manager or if they deal with a home agency. Usually any hospital your parents' were in have a social worker. You want a name and a phone (contact) from them. If not you will probably never hear back from anyone. Someone from the VA can walk you through the form over the phone as was the case for me during the Pandemic.

The good news is I passed filling out (25) papers the first round, 15 the second with flying colors--no errors. The bad news is Mom didn't have enough debt since I pay every bill on time that comes across the desk. It was a debt-to-income ratio. Anything can change with mother's health at anytime, I may have to re-apply. I'm always waiting for the shoe to drop.

Keep this in mind. I am basing this on my situation. If you put your parents on Medicaid I'm not sure if they can receive the VA Benefits for Aid & Attendance as was the case with my living parent. I am keeping Mom on Medicare because she has so many health issues, I don't want to miss out on $$$ she may need for upcoming convalescent because she doesn't have a lot of money but decent medical coverage and a monthly income. My parents lived within their means.

In other words, make sure you understand (every State is different on Medicaid) if they go on Medicaid too soon they "could" miss out with the Aid & Attendance Benefits but speak to a professional (social worker, VA, Elder Attorney) first.

Make sure you understand everything before you apply. I heard there is a great VA hospital not far from Naples, FL. I know FL is a big State but you can't wing this. Believe me, this is not you just applying and it's a given. I thought Dad served in the War so his widow get this money for care--not so. It's not that easy but when it's your loved one you will sit at the dining room table when Mom's in bed and fill out piles of paperwork until 8PM on a Friday night because most of us can't afford all these medical bills. I actually blessed the envelope before I put it in the mailbox.

My dad was in the Korean War, enlisted, Drill Sergeant. They think his rheumatic fever was caused from camping outside during the War. You need to speak with a hospital social worker who gives you a contact, not just a random 1-800 #. My VA contact actually gave me her cell phone # and email and we would email back and forth. Once I had an actual name and so and so said to call you, they (the VA) were wonderful, patient and very thorough. I was impressed.

Take your time and triple check your paperwork. Do exactly what they say and make copies. Be prepared to receive more paperwork and save all of your medical receipts. Get first-hand info not the neighbor over the back fence. I'm just telling you my story.

If you bought them furniture, anything save all receipts. You're going to have to provide a paper trail and document everything. Your credit card statements, etc.

I hope you hear some good news and it's obvious you love your parents and want to do right by them. My thanks to your parents who served Our Wonderful Country--In God We Trust!
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Ireland

I have dealt with this and no offense to anyone, but you need to pursue this through MULTIPLE channels. It seems no one entity knows it all. Contact your county VA person, as suggested below.

Contact the American Legion and VFW as suggested below.

I dont know if you have access to a social worker, but they often know., But I found that through no fault of their own none of them knew it all

We missed out on having my dad in a VA paid hospice contact nursing home as no one told us it was an option. Finally a wise social worker told us about it and we did move my dad there, but four days before he died.

And yes, call the local VA hospital.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to Karsten

You can look at..
thats is the go to .
Also they would have to have registered in the DEERS system.
you would need DD Form 214.
you would need discharge papers.
my recommendation would be to spend down and apply for Medicaid.
only a suggestion.
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Reply to ShellieTired

Navigating the VA system can be daunting, but could have good results. The previous responses have great information & are good places to start. Did either of your folks receive any medical care from the VA? If so, you could contact the main number in the Tampa area & ask how to contact the Veteran's Claim Examiner to help with pension applications. The general number for inquiries is 800-827-1000. You have to listen to several messages before responding verbally with your question/need.

My dad received some care through VA & is now in Memory Care. I was able to get him a pension by working with the Veteran's Claim Examiner for his area. He was very helpful & we were able to produce a solid claim that did not require amendments. The application for pension requires documentation of income, list of medical disabilities, & Durable Power of Attorney (if applicable). The form to use is 21P-527EZ.

You can check the VA website to obtain the DD214s at: There is also a resource called DD214Direct that can obtain it for you, but I'm pretty sure there is a fee involved.

You're right to get started now - be persistent & patient. Good Luck!
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to nature73

Another route is to directly contact the local American Legion office; they helped us, albeit through the local County VA office.    Some attorneys are often affiliated with organizations that want to find out what your assets are and sometimes "rearrange" them in a different portfolio.  For that "service", you would be charged.  Others may have qualified through statutorily established requirements, but in my experience the Veterans' organizations are a better source.

I don't know for sure if the Milwaukee office can help, but the best way to find out is to call them.  It may take a while to work through to the appropriate department, but you can avoid that by contacting one of the statutory designated organizations such as the AL, which can help guide you.

The first "proof of service" would likely be the DD-214, the discharge papers, which the AL can also help you obtain.  

While I'm not familiar with qualifying even though the individual requesting the qualification lives in a different area than the Veterans, the AL, or even local Milwaukee office can help guide you through the process, and what you may have to do to assist your parents.

Good luck, and please thank your parents for their service.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to GardenArtist

contact your county veterans office… they are not the VA . Make an appointment, the receptionist should be able to tell you what records to bring. I would think your parents have them. I didn’t have all of my dads, the county VA request what I was missing. I live in outagamie county in Wisconsin, they filled out all my forms and were very helpful.

My father had passed and my mom receives aide and attendance benefits.
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Reply to babsjvd

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