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.