The VA Is The Enemy – 5 Keys For Success
Working with elderly clients can be a challenge. In addition to physical limitations, some may have cognitive issues, to include memory loss. Our role is to provide legal advice, guidance and assistance in becoming eligible for and applying for a Veteran’s Wartime Pension with Aid and Attendance. The very nature of the benefit indicates the client needs the aid and attendance of another person. However, that is not usually our struggle with obtaining the benefits. Rather, it is the Veterans Administration.
Do you ever feel this way? Below is an excerpt from my paralegal.
“I have only been doing my current job for almost seven months and the bulk of my responsibilities is the completion, submission and follow-up to our clients’ Medicaid applications and VA claims. Hands down the most unpleasant aspect of my job is my contact with the VA, whether by phone or in person. I have been lectured, scolded, hung up on, and definitely condescended to. My favorite is when I was tasked with clogging the system by repeated submissions of a VA form 21-22a. Well, if someone had bothered to register the first 21-22a that I submitted, then I would not have to keep sending the damn form over and over. Now, this treatment may be because I’m associated with an attorney’s office. However, as I watch the number of veterans and their family members and their treatment at the VA office, I don’t believe that I am being singled out. Now, I’m being paid to wait and if it pleases Mr. Air Force that I wait 3 hours to file some lousy papers, I will do so. However, what about everyone else that is not represented by an attorney or other agent who knows the ins and outs of the VA system? I’m truly saddened at the state of that organization.”
Your team member may feel the same way. Five key factors to take away from the above are:
1. Always remember why we are assisting the clients – they are disabled, elderly, and the VA system does not discriminate based on age or ability. Their inadequacies are equally applied to all, even to your client who needs extra hand-holding. We do the hand-holding. We make sure the application goes through the process as it should.
2. Make sure your employees know you appreciate the work they do, especially the really difficult work. It has an effect on their efficacy, mood and production. They are not getting the support they need from the government agencies, so they need it from you.
3. Be thick-skinned, professional and persistent. Just like being in the military, people will harass you just because they can. You have to learn it is a game, how to play the game and how to win. There is no sense in allowing personal frustration to interfere. Get the VA what they want and get your clients the benefits they deserve.
4. Recognize that working with the VA is frustrating. Create an outlet to release the frustrations. My paralegal writes about it. She complains internally with other firm members. But she doesn’t lose her composure with the VA. What can be your outlet?
5. Assisting clients with VA qualification and applications is rewarding and satisfying work. The gratitude from the veterans and/or their families is incomparable to other types of work. Knowing you helped a veteran with the ability to live the rest of his life with true quality of life is gratifying.
If you would like to help veterans on a larger scale, learn the secrets of how to work with the VA and feel good about the work you do, then join Lawyers With Purpose for a two-day Medicaid and Veterans Benefits Summit in November 2013. For more information contact Molly Hall at email@example.com.
Victoria L. Collier, Certified Elder Law Attorney, Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Co-Founder of Lawyers with Purpose, LLC, Co-Founder of Lawyers For Wartime Veterans, LLC, Veteran of the U.S.A.F. and author of “47 Secret Veterans’ Benefits for Seniors…Benefits You Have Earned but Don’t Know About.”Posted by Victoria Collier | 0 comments