Way, way back in May 2008, Daphne and I went to check out Carolina House, which is an assisted living place in Chapel Hill. Rooms were very small and it was expensive. But the marketing director, Geri I think, was wonderful and gave me a number for a non-profit group who helps get additional benefits from the VA.
I schlepped that paper around for months and finally called only to find out they help if you are in certain facilities and Mom wasn't in one of them. The woman I spoke to was very kind and gave me websites and form numbers I needed to apply for the benefits [for Mom] myself.
So I bravely entered the crazy mixed up minefield - I mean, world that is the government, downloaded the forms, get stuck on question 19: "What is your SSN?" (Who's SSN?! Mine? Dad's? Mom's?), get overwhelmed and put them away. There was a lot of stuff going on then. But I felt guilty because she could get up to $1000 a month in additional benefits. That would be a HUGE help. Kay made a few calls in Dec. when she was here, but the forms that person told her to use were different than the other forms the first person said to use. I was confused - and so continued to do nothing.
But - when she moved into Wynwood, she was eligible to use the free service provided by "A Place For Mom". http://www.aplaceformom.com/
Weird name, but they are awesome. They actually fill out the paperwork for you, help you gather all the supporting documents such as marriage, death certs, discharge papers and various others. Things that prove that he/she actually was a veteran and you are a surviving spouse of said veteran.
Thankfully my parents were pretty good keepers of all that stuff - except the one form (DD-214) I really needed wasn't an original (his final discharge/retirement).
All the other DD-214's were original - except that one! That needed to be ordered, had to wait for it to arrive via the USPS.
Then everything needs to be put together and shipped off to the VA, which I did on 5/28. Still waiting to hear.
To their credit, the VA has sent two letters, one saying they received the application and another one recently saying they were still doing whatever voodoo they do and to please be patient.
Fingers crossed! Pink Light!