From your post, it sounds like you have two immediate problems and one long-term goal. Your husband needs VA psychiatric care and medication....pronto! You need to deal with your mortgage company....pronto! And, he needs to apply for a VA disability rating for his (I assume bipolar disorder). (Even if his bipolar is non-service connected
). That's the long-term goal.
I've been in the VA healthcare system since 1972. I have three disabilities. Two are service connected
. The third is bipolar disorder. This
is the disability for which I receive a 100% non-service connected monthly compensation
. I currently have a claim in with our State's VA Regional Office to try to get my "service-connected"
disabilities raised to 100%. I'm doing this because it would mean more money than what I currently receive.....and different rules apply when receiving a service connected monthly pension versus a non-service connected monthly compensation
. However, if a veteran can be awarded any percentage of disability
, whether service connected or non-service connected, that veteran is entitled to receive VA benefits.
Also, it doesn't matter if the veteran is disabled
veteran is entitled to healthcare and medication through any VA medical facility. But, if
the veteran doesn't
yet have a disability rating, that veteran will need to go on a co-pay system or use his/her private health insurance to help the VA offset the costs. In fact, two of my close neighbors go to the VA just because the medication is less expensive. They're retired and can no longer afford the high cost of their prescriptions. Neither of these veterans have any VA disability rating
During the past several years, I've heard that it's getting harder, and taking longer to get into the VA system. I don't mean to come off sounding like a "know-it-all", but I've "been there/done that" for so many years where the VA is concerned, that I've learned the ins and outs, and a few shortcuts along the way. Through the years, it's become a "mission" of mine to help any veteran I come across who expresses a need for help with the VA. I've helped veterans get into the VA healthcare system quickly
.....after they were told by the VA that it would take many months. Some of these veterans had been out of the military since the Viet Nam era. Some had service-connected disabilities, but were being cared for by family doctors. I've literally taken veterans to the VA and helped "walk them through the initial process".
I've also helped veterans write out their "claim for a disability percentage", or a "claim for an increase
in disability percentage" by wording it in such a way that it at least gets some attention. Of course, that doesn't always mean that the veteran is awarded the compensation. It only means that I've found a way to cut down on the waiting period.
The quickest way to get into the VA healthcare system
is to go to their emergency room
!!! This means that you can't just go to a VA clinic
. You'll need to go to a VA hospital
. Your husband will need to take a copy of his DD-214
(discharge papers from whatever branch he served in). If your husband can't find his DD-214, look around your house for anything that proves he served in the military
. Eventually the VA will provide him with a new copy of his DD-214, if necessary. He will also need to take his most recent
paycheck stub and proof of insurance (if you have insurance). And if you have anything "in writing" from his regular doctor (the doctor who told him he'd need to take time off from driving), you should definitely take that, too. That particular letter will be worth its weight in gold. It shows the urgency of your situation! Also take with you the bottles of all medications your husband is currently taking
. (Even if they don't relate to bipolar.)
I'm a firm believer in being honest, but not necessarily "honest to a fault" (if you know what I mean). The VA is, after all, a government entity. Which means that they have turned mounds of "necessary" paperwork and "waiting for your turn" into a fine art! LOL!!! When a veteran that's new to the VA begins the "VA Adventure", he/she will be answering so many questions that his/her head will spin. He/she will start to wonder when the "no-nonsense person, who most likely will have absolutely no sense of humor, will finally ask: "And how many times do you use the bathroom each day.....on a scale of one to 10.....10 being the most". My point is.....don't you and your husband
lose your sense of humor
By the way, when you go to the VA emergency room (if you choose to do this), it would be very helpful if your husband is having a manic or depressive episode, or is really stressed out to the point of anxiety. I'm not saying to lie about these things
. If he isn't currently displaying any of these symptoms, it would be helpful if he is running low on his medications. (At least his medication for mania.) After all, it really does need to appear to the ER staff that this is an emergency. An emergency doesn't mean a person needs to be bleeding to death or having a heart attack.
The ER staff will
ask why you aren't going to your family doctor instead of the VA. At that point....be honest about your financial situation (only as it relates to your husband's medical needs)
. The ER staff doesn't need to know that you're thinking about possibly submitting a claim for VA disability. Neither do they need to hear about the situation with your mortgage.
*****Please keep in mind that your main objective is to get your husband into the VA healthcare system as quickly as possible. By going to a VA emergency room, you may not walk out with new medication. But, your husband will have become the VA's newest veteran
! And if you're really lucky, you might walk out of there with an appointment to see a VA psychiatrist!*****
Regarding your mortgage. If it were me, I would start by doing two things. I believe you mentioned that you're already behind on your payments. If you haven't already done so, how about calling your VA Mortgage Rep and being very upfront about your husband's current medical status. Stress that this is a temporary problem
. Ask if they'd be willing to accept "interest only" payments for a short while
. I'd tell them that I am currently looking at all my options
in regard to any organizations that may be able to help.
The second would be to call my "local VA Service Representative" right away. Unlike the VA emergency staff, with a VA Service Rep you can be totally honest. The VA Rep will have suggestions to help with all your concerns.
There's a lot more I could tell you, but space and time won't allow. So, I'll keep a close eye on this "thread" in case you have more questions.
Good Luck to you and your husband. I hope the best for both of you.