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starente15

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Hi everyone! Just returned from 10 day visit with my parents. I had a few questions on VA benefits that came up today and can't find anything on the sticky or web. Wondering if anyone knows...

My mother said she is entitled to free additional insurance through the VA which doesn't affect the insurance she currently has. She signed up today but didn't get a copy. I'm not sure what she's really entitled to and how this would work.

For home renovations, does the grant you receive need to be specifically used for that purpose for any reason? They received additional funds for past monthly payments that he was entitled to that we planned to use to remodel the bath. I'm not sure if when they earmark money for a wheelchair accessible van or home improvements if you need to show proof it was used for that.

Hope everyone is doing well. TIA!
 

GregK

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After 6 months of being disabled (out of work) a veteran can apply for $10,000 ordinary life insurance and request the fee be waived.

The Grants, SAH and vehicle as shown in the Veterans sticky, are for specific purposes with no allowance for being used for 'other things'.

The local PVA rep could answer all this. If your mother is not working with them she's making a mistake. They have the correct forms, know the correct processes and have hooks directly into the VA system
 

starente15

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Thanks Greg! She's working with the rep but doesn't ask any questions and no one goes with them. From what I heard tonight I'm worrying that that if we spend money out of the back payment funds on a bath remodel (because we need it yesterday), the SAH grant would need to be used for something else like ramps or doorways and can't be applied to the remodel. I was on the VA website which is fun to navigate and got even more confused!
 

gooseberry

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Your mom can sign up for champva. It is additional health insurance which covers some costs after your primary ins. Has paid.

Hisa grant is a $6800 grant thru prosthetics which can be used for ramps,.bathroom or kitchen remodels.

Sah grants are for up to $70,465 and can be used for flooring, ramps,.windows, doorways, bathrooms, sinks,.etc. .it requires a fair amount of paperwork and tenacity.

Mortgage insurance is.available to.pay off the loan if you qualify for sah.grant.

Life insurance is $10k but you must apply, an addl 30k is.available but you must pay a premium.

Atsugi did a great job putting all this info together in a sticky. You should print it and use it as a reference. I would also contact your regional pva office for assistance. They can exp,ain everything and make.sure things are filed properly and on time.
 

starente15

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Thanks Gooseberry! The forms have already been filled out for the van and home improvement grant, he's 100% eligible for everything available to him. I didn't understand if the CHAMPVA insurance required her to pay anything just to have it. She has medicare and supplemental insurance that they pay monthly for so I wasn't sure what the benefit was of a third insurance plan (she wants to keep the supplemental plan she already has). My understanding is that the van and home improvement grant are approved, just wasn't sure if there any rules to spending it. My mother made it sound like they were going to deposit two lump sums of money into her checking account but what I read said you need to get approval from the VA on the changes you want to make. Couldn't tell if you need to use someone they approve of or if any minimum requirements have to be met to ensure payment.
 

Atsugi

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The VA clinic will have a survey team come to the house to assess the veteran's needs. Then the veteran must find a contractor to do the work. The VA needs to approve the contractor and the planned improvements before work can begin.

Sorry I don't have personal experience with this. We never got the chance to use the housing grants because our PALS rapidly progressed in ALS, and so the VA withheld the grants. The reason was that the veteran must benefit from the grant.
 

starente15

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Thanks for the info Atsugi!
 

GregK

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> mother made it sound like they were going to deposit two lump sums of money into her checking account

Absolutely not. I believe there's an option with the SAH where they'll pay down your mortgage if your house is already ADA compliant, but other than that the funds go directly to the contractor doing the work. Or to the lot you buy the van from.

champVA is medical coverage for Dependents and NOT the veteran. Is your mother the vet?
 

starente15

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Thank you. My dad is the vet, not my mom.
 

GregK

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Ah! The ChampVA will cost nothing and may (probably will) cover costs the other two coverages do not. Such as reduce co-pays.

We have Kaiser and my wife's ChampVA covers her co-pays. Nice.
 

cheerleader

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Star, the process is long and someone needs to be on the SAH agent regularly or it takes forever! You will need two bids and the specifications have to meet ADA standards ( ie36 inch doorways, width of shower,etc.). Our agent kept requesting new, additional paperwork each time we submitted everything on the list. This is the one area of dealing with theVA that we were disappointed with. It almost felt like the agent was purposely dragging out the process......unfortunately,for us, it worked! My hubby passed away months after we began the process, so it was never finalized.
Yes, the VA needs to approve the contractor but it's a simple matter of the contractor filing a paper ( obtained from the agent) to get a VA number. You will also need together someone to hold the funds in escrow and disperse the funds to the contractor for a fee ( but this can be part of the grant.). I had to call several title companies before finding one willing to do this . Hopefully, your mom is organized,proactive and willing to spend lots of time following up and working with the contractor to get what is needed in the plans. I spent many hours helping select things (good old Internet) to make sure our plans were in compliance and still beautiful so it wouldn't impact the value of our home. That isn't necessary if she is willing tolet the contractor make all the decisions. Good luck - and don't wait on this!
 

chally

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i am in the process right now and you do have to be pro-active all over the map. hisa, sah, van, champva, life ins etc. don't wait! don't get discouraged push on. good luck! chally
 

starente15

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Thanks Chally! I don't live near my parents so it's extra challenging. I get second hand information on the conversations and sometimes the info is inaccurate. I just keep plugging along :)
 

gooseberry

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Star if you are power of attorney for your dad on file with va you can do all this for them.

The van monies are sent directly to the mobility company that they use. You do not see it. Contact a mobility company the va recommends. They know who is great to deal with. A driver eval and/or fitting is required.

Hisa grant monies come to the vet but toget this money prosthetics has to come out and do an eval. Your parents will need to submit architectural plans, a contractors proposal, pictures, and a grant application. It then goes to a.local review board for approval. If your contractor would like half the money up front you can request that. Right now it is taking 75-90 days to get hisa money.

Sah requires a housing rep inspection with recommendations and requirements, an application, and one bid with an als diagnosis if you sign a waiver. Two bids is better because it speeds along comparison steps later on.. You need settlement statements from original purchase, survey plot, title insurance, deed, and to find a local title group that will handle va escrow cases. This is actually hard to do. Then after you send all that stuff via email(that's best so you keep originals) you need to follow up with them at a minimum weekly. From inspection to beginning work took us 5 .5 months which I am told is really fast.

Your housing rep should send the mortgage insurance paperwork to you but you can submit it your own. ChampVA can be submitted on your own...it helps cover medical and medicine copays and is free.

Any other questions let me know. We have just done all of this and many others either have or are in the process.
 

DreamsEnd

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Others explained the difference between the HISA Grant and the SAH (Specially Adapted Housing Grant) that your Dad is qualified for. You can not hire and pay the contractor for the SAH portion because that would negate receiving it. It can take up to 90 days to get SAH approval BEFORE your contractor can start the work and I've heard of some taking 6 months. We had to get the central office in DC to get involved because we were having to go back and answer more questions and fill out more forms after the contractors bid was received and approved. We also had the HISA Grant for an exterior escape route from the MBR in case of fire. Took 6 months to get repaid for that!

I agree, your mom has a lot on her mind and it's very hard to absorb it all and find out how everything works, especially at the VA, so if your dad can sign something giving you authorization to work with the PVA on his behalf, it would free up your mom,

Good luck, I understand they need it yesterday, but you're likely looking at 6 months or more. Their local ALS Association can come out and make a visit and possibly suggest alternative arrangements or adaptability methods until they can get this done. No one place gives one all the information.

Sherry
 
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