Friday, December 4, 2015

The battle for our home is nigh... and more thin ice regarding medical coverage for Penny.

So, today was a grind to force anyone's hand by being a VERY squeaky wheel. My contact at the housing division of the VA (Veterans Administration) was given a heads up of yesterday's response from Wells Fargo and she was floored. So she took matters into her own hands and called up the guy at the Customer Care team. Apparently, this person was unaware that his company had sent to me a Loan Acceleration letter on 11/02/15 indicated the mortgage loan would accelerate on 12/07/15. So now he understands my panic. Curious that, as I forwarded that letter to both his office and the VA two weeks ago. But I digress......

Given the vulture hanging over our heads, the VA rep went to her boss... who contacted the head person at the office handling the "Dependent Claim" portion of my service related disability. That person was told of the situation and that the mere fact that my spouse lives with me should have made the claim an "automatic" claim... not a manual. So that was rectified today and my wife is now attached to my service related disability claim and our benefit will increase by $83 per month. I checked the ebenefits site and it was indeed approved (of course, all of the documentation I had uploaded to their site on 10/22/15 the VA office cannot find... so they "continued" the claim with Travis - not approved yet - but the due date for my response to their 6 questions has already been uploaded along with the supporting documentation about an hour ago).

So now we should have a qualifying change in our status (according to their definition) and Wells Fargo will have me and the VA rep on the phone with them on Monday morning to drive home this fact.

Remember folks at home, ALWAYS be pro-active. ALWAYS be the squeaky wheel (while being respectful and never throwing a temper). The mortgage companies claim that as long as their customers are communicative, that they prefer that to not hearing at all.

They have never been communicated with such veracity as with our case... I can assure you. So Monday is the deadline, lets see if this last $83 (plus including the escrow reduction of $230) for a total positive impact of $313 towards total income. That will put a modified mortgage payment around 29% of total income... well below the federal requirements for a modification.

We shall see what Monday brings.We'll be praying a lot over the next 3 days.

So I went to Illinois DHS today. They have no clue why Penny was bounced out of the Aetna Better Health plan in October. However, they confirmed she will have "Basic Illinois Medicaid" for the rest of the month. So Penny's trip to CTCA (Cancer Treatment Center of America in Zion, IL) next Thursday/Friday is a go for the Cystoscopy. Praise the Lord.

So now, once that is done... we have to go to Illinois DHS before 12/27/15 with evidence she is disabled (and even though SSI has reduced to $0.00, she is still on the books as disabled regarding SSI so all we have to do is present that to their "representative" in Woodstock... and they will try to create a new Medicaid case number that doesn't require going to the MarketPlace (and the Medicaid HMO's being provided in the Illinois Marketplace). So, a lot of praying will be happning on that front also.

What a week........

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Wells Fargo throws us under the bus. Aetna Better Health / Illinois HFS throw us under the bus.

After a member of the "Care Team" (from the Office of the President) indicated by phone last Tuesday that they accepted my 2015 Grafton Township Assessment and had done an Escrow Account review and had reduced our Monthly payment by $229 which when combined with our income, should affect the Re-entry team in re-opening the case given the substantial reduction in the monthly deduction when compared to our income presented.... and he stated that some activity regarding review should commence by either close of business yesterday or sometime today, I patiently waited and called for my "Home Preservation Specialist" this afternoon at 3:30 pm before they close. She was unavailable and I was transferred to the “Re-entry Team”. I waited for that person on hold while they reviewed the documentation and after 12 minutes, I was told that the $230 per month escrow reduction was not a "change in our circumstances", so Wells Fargo cannot re-open my case and unless I have any other info that shows a change in our circumstances… the case will remain closed. I was then asked if I wanted to move forward with the alternatives left (short sale/etc.). I indicated….. nope (we will have to pay the taxes on any loss which would be being taxed on over $140,000 in losses as our home is only worth $81,000 according to our latest assessment). PLUS, we still owe over $30,000 regarding Illinois Hardest Hit (and will have to pay taxes on that also). That means even if we file bankruptcy, we are still on the hook for the taxes. Short sale? Deed in lieu of payment (and walking away)? Seriously???????

<My jaw hit the floor>

I’ve emailed Randy Hultgren (my congressman) 2 days ago with no response thus far. Social Security is estimating a minimum of 68 days to change my status to approved (that means around the beginning of the year next year….. 3 weeks after loan acceleration is supposed to happen). They only have to make a change to a code in their system, and it will go live with the benefits. I've also been told on the ebenefit government website that the VA won’t make a decision on the Dependent claim for at least another 390 days (despite the fact all they have to do is "click" approve in their systems).

It looks like no matter what we do now, our home will go into the foreclosure process. I know the VA housing department will try to hold that off, but even they can only do so much.  I have been as pro-active as I can be without going to the government offices (and demonstrating in front of them).

Folks - I am about ready to say Uncle……. I don’t want to, but everyone other than the VA housing dept. seems to be too invested in following “process” to work with us. We HAVE the income. We've run the numbers with McHenry County Credit Counseling and we are below the 31% limit of our earnings.

Our present income brings us to less than the 31% of income level we need to get approved for any modification. Apparently, the escrow reduction by $230 per mo. is not a trigger they use in that determination (even though it IS used when being reviewed). They just won't start a new one because it doesn't meet their "definition" of a "life circumstance change". A technicality that any higher up VP should be able to be empowered.... to make a decision to disregard if we truly are less than 31% of income regarding the mortgage payment (and would be able to make our adjusted monthly payment).

Another technicality (they HAVE my SSDI benefit amount in writing on SSA letterhead that should be starting in January (and is back dated 2 years), they just don't have a SSA "approval letter" that they "accept"). Another "technicality". It clearly appears they don't want us in this home (that is worth $140k less than it's principle). Maybe they need some "loss" tax ride-offs that their CFO has identified to enhance shareholder value when announcing their quarterly earnings (we are not the only ones in this boat). We are sooooooooooo close (but we might as well be a mile away)....... we just can't get the government to find it within themselves to move the case to the top of their pile/backlog and for Wells Fargo to re-open the case when they KNOW we'd qualify if it went to their underwriting department based on our present income.

Our frustration/stress level is not helping my wife’s nor my medical health and one eventually has to recognize that and say… is this worth the battle anymore?

Wells Fargo, Social Security, and the VA (not housing benefit side) are stuck in an antiquated world of process and political posturing while not resolving issues for those same Veterans, and are basically sticking up for themselves (their jobs and process). Their customers (us) lost the battle of their caring/concern long ago.

We are resigned to our fate, it looks like we'll ultimately have to move due to no reason other than a "technicality". I've never have felt more helpless/hopeless in my life. Yes, God has our backs and I know we'll land safely somewhere (and my faith preservers).... but jeez..... why is it ALWAYS the worst case scenario with us? :(

Speaking of which, Penny was "bounced out" of Aetna Better Health (the Medicaid provider we were forced to pick last open enrollment) sometime in October. We received no notice in writing. And when we call, her Customer Number doesn't come up, so they won't even talk to us. Now Penny is back with "Standard Illinois Medicaid". The thing is, that is good news as CTCA accepts "Standard Illinois Medicaid" as it is not an HMO  (which we didn't find out until July that Aetna Better Health was an HMO... there was nothing in the original documentation indicating that... and I have print outs of the documentation when Penny applied November 2014). So what happens (when she has to go into CTCA next week for a follow up Cystoscopy - her first since her bladder/kidney saving surgery last July???)...... we get a letter from Illinois HFS that Penny has to choose from 5 "Medicaid Providers" with Aetna back amongst them and they are ALL HMO. Which means CTCA will not accept any of those providers. So we are back at square one.

So, does Illinois HFS or the Illinois GetCovered website have any answers? Nope.

We are stuck not knowing what direction to go. In the interim, nobody is accepting new patients regarding Urology or Oncology. What good is Insurance if there is no place to get treatment.

Incredibly frustrating.