Another sorry chapter in VA’s failure to help veterans in need
by Don McKee
Columnist
March 27, 2013 12:14 AM | 1749 views | 4 4 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Don McKee
Don McKee
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Mr. McKee:

My Father died at home March 2, 2013. He died of chronic congestive heart failure and he was 91. He was a World War II veteran who served in Pearl Harbor.

Rather than keep him in a hospital or a nursing home our family chose to keep him at home under our care. Initially this was not difficult and my Mother who is 91 provided most of his daily care.

As his illness progressed over three years he became more and more debilitated and went from a walker to wheelchair and in his final months was confined to bed. He was under hospice care the last two months.

In 2012 we contracted for private in home care assistance which continued for almost 16 months. This was a great relief to my Mother and with daily and nighttime care she was able to get her rest. As you can imagine, the cost is significant, over $100,000 for the time period needed.

I did a little research and found that the Veteran’s Administration had a program for veterans that required in-home care. I contacted the Indiana state government office for veterans assistance. This is when I initially found out that the federal office is so unresponsive that many states have their own veteran affairs offices to help with the slow/no response from the federal government.

In 2012 I visited the state office and was given 17 individual forms to fill out and return. I was happy to do the filing because my Mother was totally overwhelmed at the task. The forms included the expected service information but also detailed financial information.

We were told by our state office that it would be a minimum of six months before we might hear back from the VA national office.

My folks (were) retired and living on their investments and social security. They (were) not wealthy people and lived in the same little three-bedroom, one-bath home my Dad built in 1952 when he came home from Pearl Harbor. Eight months later we received word that my Father was not eligible for the in-home care benefit because his total worth was over $80,000.

I watched my Mother use most of their savings caring for Dad to keep him out of the hospitals and at home.

There was literally no response from the VA for the better part of a year except to inform my Mom that she was not destitute and did not need any financial assistance for the veteran who served his country with dignity.

I feel my Mother and Father deserved better from an agency who is mandated to serve our veterans. Obviously, there is a major disconnect and the personal promise to our veterans of any conflict continues to be ignored.

Thank you for noting the efforts by the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to bring this to the public's attention. I also note that the response from the White House was “no commitment.”

Guess the president is a little short of cash after that Hawaiian golf vacation.

Chuck Gregory,

Marietta

dmckee9613@aol.com
Comments
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Laura Armstrong
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March 27, 2013
VFP42, I have noticed over the months that you harbor an unnatural hostility towards people in the military. By your comments here,it's apparent you cannot see the trees nor the forest when it comes to issues related to the VA and/or America's sacred promise to those who served and are continuing to serve. Just know that your libertarian bent is one reason why Republicans and conservatives will never accept your kind of politics. Because we believe that a promise is a promise and our warriors depend on this.
Kevin Foley
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March 27, 2013
Having gone through something similar last year, all due respect, I think Mr. Gregory went about this the wrong way. There are experts who will navigate the VA on your behalf and they don't cost you a dime.

My father in law Lee was a decorated Korean War vet diagnosed with terminal cancer last June. We contacted the local hospital about veterans hospice care and the coordinator took care of everything having to do with the VA. We never saw any forms.

When Lee's hearing aid broke a few weeks before he died, the VA rushed the repair and returned it to us within a day. When we needed to move Lee to a nursing facility the last 10 days of his life, the VA took care of it, no problem. After he passed away, a very helpful VA benefits rep discussed with me VA burial benefits. When I filed for his VA life insurance benefit on behalf of my mother in law, she had the claim paid in two weeks.

Mr. Gregory shouldn't blame Obama because he didn't look into all of the resources and assistance available for veterans and their families.

I said it over and over again during Lee's final days. Thank God for the VA.
Pat H
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March 27, 2013
I have gone through this same scenario with my mother, but no veteran benefits. I took care of her, had hired help when I was working and at the end had hospice covered by Medicare for only a few weeks. I had a doctor who made home visits, yes hey are available.

No way was that amount of money expended. As a nurse, I knew what my mom needed but hiring expensive personnel for home care - nurses, etc. are not necessary. Find someone in the community who has been verified by other friends, etc. rather than an agency, like you would find a babysitter for your children. Feed, cleaning and watching closely are the same skill set.

Take care of your parents/spouse, etc. Don't expect the "government", i.e., taxpayers, to take care of your mama. She took care of you, you can take care of her.
VFP42
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March 27, 2013
Here's yet another Cobb RINO.. (YACR)

Taxes are bad, except for the ones that directly help MEEEeeeEEEeeeeEEEee!

Pops worked for the government for a few years over SEVENTY YEARS AGO and then SEVENTY YEARS later he was very old and died, but the taxpayers should have completely paid for his final exit that was wholly unrelated to his military service!

Wahhhhhhh! But lower taxes you darn Obama!
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