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Sonofagun

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My dad recently passed after a 2 year battle with ALS. I was his only relative, so by default became a caretaker. I spent hundreds of hours on VA benefits and my Dad's wish was for me to help others. I found PVA and DAV in my area to be of very limited help. They basically got me started and helped with VA terms, but they didn't know how to do the stuff I did. Let me know if you have questions regarding any of the following I did for Dad.

-Disability. Military volunteer organizations can help with this. Benefit is roughly $4k/month with aid and attendance. My dad had tricare, so we didn't use VA docs. If this is the case you will be required to get a second opinion from a 3rd party hired by VA
-SAH. We built my dad a brand new house. It was a major pain, but in the end, the VA paid 280k on a 330k house. This is the biggest benefit, but it took a ton of work. The house goes to spouse or heirs after death, so it leaves a legacy to the family.
-life insurance. I included VMLI in the SAH (200k), but there are other policies available. PURCHASE ALL YOU QUALIFY FOR. The you need to be under 70 for VMLI and there other policies.
-Auto grant. There is so much bad info out there on this. There's no such thing as a "qualified dealer". Although several van dealerships should be prosecuted for making these outrageous statements. My dad didn't want an electric wheelchair. But, we needed something to use for his manual chair. You can go to any dealership and get whatever you want. We got an SUV with no adaptations. VA paid $21k of the $34k. This process is fairly easy.

All this stuff is scary...trust me I lived it, but it's worth it. i never used an attorney. The VA thought I was an attorney because I did my research and maybe I should have hired one in hindsight. My best advise is start on everything immediately. If you have any questions I'll check this thread periodically and try to answer.
I was so proud of my Dad. Initially, he didn't want me to apply for these benefits. I had to explain to him ALS is a SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY. He was a hero and he earned every bit of it. Make sure your veteran understands this as well. In the end, he did a 180 turn and made me promise to help others. God bless you all and let's end ALS!
 

Sonofagun

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Before you reinvent the wheel, read the Sticky or Pinned Post at the top of this forum.



As the current max for SAH is $81k, that's very hard to believe.

So please explain.

https://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp
The sticky at the top doesn't tell you how to do anything. My dad had a new house built. He got a VA loan for the entire amount (330k). Once we closed we got a check for $81k. The VA called it a "reimbursement". We saved the money to make payments, and he also got the VMLI for 200k. When dad passed away, the VA paid $200k of the mortgage and we still had the $81k because his monthly disability payments were plenty to pay the mortgage. After death his estate owed $50k on a $330k house.
 

Sonofagun

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And for further reference, my dad owned a 2 story house outright, so VMLI was useless and it was going to take an VA accepted contractor 14 months to modify. I had a brand new house built in 4 months. This also avoided having to live in a construction zone. We sold his prior house and kept the money for care, but again his disability was enough. This was kind of a back door method of getting a new house built specifically for his needs AND getting money for care (if needed).
 

GregK

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The devil is in the details.
 

Sonofagun

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The devil is in the details.
First time through, most definitely. That's why I want to help. I could do this all over again much easier. The strange thing is I have a 18 month old house a veteran with ALS could directly purchase from me and have within a month. That veteran will get the same check for $81k and a VMLI for $200k. What's stupid is the VA won't market a house they've already approved.
 

Jhettinger

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I included VMLI in the SAH (200k), but there are other policies available. PURCHASE ALL YOU QUALIFY FOR. The you need to be under 70 for VMLI and there other policies.
-Auto grant. There is so much bad info out there on this. There's no such thing as a "qualified dealer". Although several van dealerships should be prosecuted for making these outrageous statements. My dad didn't want an electric wheelchair. But, we needed something to use for his manual chair. You can go to any dealership and get whatever you want. We got an SUV with no adaptations. VA paid $21k of the $34k. This process is fairly easy.


So first let me thank you for offering your helping hand to us.

Try to help me out with clarifying some things, thanks - please PM me with your email.

1 VMLI IN SHA. So you built a new house and opted for the 200k payout of remaining mortgage?
2. Van - you got 21k for a regular SUV with no HC modifications ?
thanks for helping
 

Sonofagun

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TN
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Nashville
I included VMLI in the SAH (200k), but there are other policies available. PURCHASE ALL YOU QUALIFY FOR. The you need to be under 70 for VMLI and there other policies.
-Auto grant. There is so much bad info out there on this. There's no such thing as a "qualified dealer". Although several van dealerships should be prosecuted for making these outrageous statements. My dad didn't want an electric wheelchair. But, we needed something to use for his manual chair. You can go to any dealership and get whatever you want. We got an SUV with no adaptations. VA paid $21k of the $34k. This process is fairly easy.


So first let me thank you for offering your helping hand to us.

Try to help me out with clarifying some things, thanks - please PM me with your email.

1 VMLI IN SHA. So you built a new house and opted for the 200k payout of remaining mortgage?
2. Van - you got 21k for a regular SUV with no HC modifications ?
thanks for helping
In my situation, the veterans house (owned previous to diagnosis) was completely paid off before all of this. So, the VMLI would have offered him no benefit. Technically, we could have sold it and pocketed all proceeds. Instead my wife lived there since we moved from out of state to take care of my dad. We bought a 350k house that we had built to SAH specs. I borrowed them entire amount through VA loan. The VA wrote us a check for $82k (SAH grant that we put in the bank to make the $2k mortgage payment and we got the $200k VMLI. It was not paid until death and it went directly to the mortgage company. Hope that helps. It took a track builder 4 months to build it and I never came out of pocket a dime. The VA refers to this as “Plan 4”.
On the Auto. Yes. There are 2 separate benefits here. The first is the auto grant. It is 1 lifetime grant for $21k. The second is modifications grant which is $3k every 2 years. The auto grant can be for any vehicle. I filled out the auto grant form, checked “other” and wrote in SUV. Make sure to send a letter with application stating you have ALS and to expedite. About a month later the VA approved the paperwork (it’s only a couple pages). The hard part is finding a dealer to take this. Any dealer can, but they are hesitant because the old process sucked. We found a dealer we knew who realized there was nothing to lose. We picked out a SUV, dealer held it and mailed in paperwork and received check about 2 weeks later. Once he got it he called and I wrote a check for the balance and drove away. We could have also used the modifications, but since dad never had an electric chair, we never needed it. The SUV was a help because I could load his manual wheelchair in the back. The paperwork was really easy, but finding a dealer was a pain. You get “accepted” prior to picking out a car, so by the time you go to a dealer they just fill out about half a page and wait 2 weeks on the check.
Trust me, I was nervous was hell through all this. But it all worked.
 

Sonofagun

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I don’t know how to message you my email. Maybe someone can help me with that. I will even give you my phone number.
 

lgelb

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Neither of you likely can PM as yet. I will convey Sonofagun's email to JHettinger.

Best,
Laurie
 

maryhahnward

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06/2010
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NC
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Wilmington
Thank you for offering your assistance.

Vehicle adaptations - the VA will add any new equipment necessary at any point if the veteran requires them due to their condition. It is not limited in dollar amounts. It based solely on need. This is not subject to the twice in four year period rule.

Twice in every four year period, not every two years, the veteran qualifies for the modifications to make the van accessible. This is, for the most part, known as the conversion. The conversion is not necessarily limited by a dollar amount either. The conversions generally cost in the $30,000 range give or take.

My husband is a veteran diagnosed in 2010. We just traded in for our fourth van. We have had equipment changes occur such as the passenger seat removed, tie downs added, tie downs removed, etc not subject to the twice in a four period rule.

The SAH grant is available for usage three times, not for the full amount each time, but what is left of the benefit, there is anything left after the initial adaptation. If nothing is left and there are increases in future fiscal years the veteran can access the grant again if they have a need and they can do this twice.

For sure the benefits can get complicated and sometimes change without any of us realizing it, such as the amount of the housing grant or vehicle grant. Even though the sticky may not have the amounts correct due to the increases it is a good start for a veteran and/or their caregiver to get acquainted with what they need to know about VA benefits, and care.
 

ShiftKicker

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Mod note: jhettinger's email conveyed to sonofagun also
 

lgelb

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Sonofagun, I sent you a PM asking what email you wanted me to pass on. Or you can just email J.
 

Sonofagun

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Joined
Dec 3, 2016
Messages
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Loved one DX
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TN
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Nashville
Thank you for offering your assistance.

Vehicle adaptations - the VA will add any new equipment necessary at any point if the veteran requires them due to their condition. It is not limited in dollar amounts. It based solely on need. This is not subject to the twice in four year period rule.

Twice in every four year period, not every two years, the veteran qualifies for the modifications to make the van accessible. This is, for the most part, known as the conversion. The conversion is not necessarily limited by a dollar amount either. The conversions generally cost in the $30,000 range give or take.

My husband is a veteran diagnosed in 2010. We just traded in for our fourth van. We have had equipment changes occur such as the passenger seat removed, tie downs added, tie downs removed, etc not subject to the twice in a four period rule.

The SAH grant is available for usage three times, not for the full amount each time, but what is left of the benefit, there is anything left after the initial adaptation. If nothing is left and there are increases in future fiscal years the veteran can access the grant again if they have a need and they can do this twice.

For sure the benefits can get complicated and sometimes change without any of us realizing it, such as the amount of the housing grant or vehicle grant. Even though the sticky may not have the amounts correct due to the increases it is a good start for a veteran and/or their caregiver to get acquainted with what they need to know about VA benefits, and care.
Of note on the vehicle adaptations, my understanding is that hasto be done through the VA hospital, similar to a wheelchair. My dad had tricare and preferred private doctors. He didn’t want an electric wheelchair or have much use for it, so I’m not familiar with the VA hospital and how they operate.
My point being not everyone wants or needs a modified van or wants to “modify” their existing home. There are other options.
 

lgelb

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Procedural note: please don't quote long text blocks as many of our members have trouble reading/scrolling. You can simply respond to what was written before. Thanks!
 
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