Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Mortgage Modification re-opened - underwriter will make decision within 7 to 10 days. Penny is up for her next Cystoscopy in 2 days.

We have so much to be thankful for.

A Mortgage Modification case has been re-opened today - the underwriter will make decision within 7 to 10 days (they should now have enough info to move forward). Penny is also going for her (16th? - we are losing count) cystoscopy on Friday to find out if the surgery on her left Ureter/Kidney and bladder continues to be successful (and without any cancer). Our prayers and those of the prayer team are going full steam in praying for her continued health.

At this point (after 3 years of disability), I now have a 50% service related disability benefit (with an increase possibly around the corner). Social Security Disability has been approved (and benefits will be deposited within the next 30 to 60 days). Social Security Disability Dependent claim has been filed (a decision within 90 to 180 days). These benefits were not given (as all of them were reviewed by either an Administrative Law Judge or by a Physician's review board looking at all of the medical records and listening to Medical / Vocational experts - and the service related disability was in black and white in my VA medical records on file). The fact the VA didn't follow-up with me regarding my medical conditions after I left the Marine Corps was something many veterans experienced. The last issue is Penny's SSDI hearing coming up soon (she already is SSI approved, this only ensures she is eligible for Medicare if approved).

We are in the middle of the Dave Ramsey "Financial University" course, so we will be have the best advice we can get to be financially independent for the foreseeable future. We will continue to throw everything at Penny's medical treatment to ensure she has the best chance one can have to keep the cancer in remission (there is no treatment that won't be tried if it is recommended). We are pretty certain our home will remain ours for a long time at this point. We'll be able to "Pay it forward" to others down the road (as we have received over the past 3 years) and that giving back will start once the benefit checks are in the bank and the taxes are paid.We are hoping we'll get to know our grandchildren better (we have three, with a fourth on the way). And we are going to be working on our long term nest egg to ensure our family will not be without down the road if something was to happen to us.

My days of working are long over (and the doctors say it is permanent), so one must acknowledge and accept one's limitations. I worked 35 straight years (7 of those years in the Marine Corps), and I worked a tremendous amount of unpaid overtime for the last 13 of those years in Information technology support (so now - it is time to deal with the medical repercussions of that time). That experience will culminate in the effort to start helping other Vets and people with medical problems (I've also learned a lot these past 3 years regarding how to pursue benefits - with a lot of help from Robin Alford's "The Expert's Guide to Veterans benefits - and I am hoping what I've learned elsewhere will help her in the future regarding any revisions).

According to TLS Veterans, my blog is a story of persistence that they can tell other Vets about (who are dealing with much of the same issues and who are in much the same situation)..... and as I move from the fire.... over to helping others in need, this blog will evolve into a Veteran's one stop shop of info. There are quite a few "dark" blog posts when it looked like I had given up - and I am still here. I've been told it has been helpful to more than a couple of Vets (and if anyone gets any spark in the right direction, this writing will have been worth it). There might even be a book regarding these experiences down the road (we'll see), but it will need an editor (and I have a few friends who are willing to help me parse my tendency to be verbose).

We are also noticing that more and more Vets plus those with medical crisis' are turning to fund-raising sites given the chaos that is Obama-care and the present non-paying insurance company issues. Also - being transparent about such efforts is always the way to go (and working with one's Church is highly recommended in order to keep one's head on straight if one is religious). TLS veterans and my church helped saved my life (and I will never forget that). TLS veterans is also going the online fund-raising route (and I believe other Veteran organizations are discovering such solutions to deal with budget gaps also). If we hadn't fund raised, I haven't a clue where we'd be at this point. But now, we can start the process of giving back (and the goal is to give back much more than we ever received - that's where the Dave Ramsey course comes in).

To me, this has been a long journey of pain, but also one of discovery. We found out just how much people cared for us. Yes, there are also a few internet trolls who wish otherwise, but they are irrelevant in the grand scheme of things (and are not even worthy of any more mention - they get lost in the anonymous fog of time). Thank you google analytics for what you do.

We thank everyone who has helped us get this far and it is incredible just how bright our future is.

This is just the beginning..........  =)

Monday, December 7, 2015

Accelerated Loan day - dodging the foreclosure bullet (or the day the VA indicated it will not allow Wells Fargo to set a foreclosure date)

What an incredible day.

We received a call from Congressman Randy Hultgren's office this afternoon. They are going to contact Social Security this afternoon to see if they can push the SSDI approval process forward (I just forwarded a signed Privacy Authorization to them).
The Allsup and Associates "Veterans Rep" indicates that both Travis and Penny are now listed in the VA system as "dependents". However, it could still take weeks for an award letter and/or benefits to be generated.
Another wrinkle...... apparently - Travis (despite being on SSDI already) might be eligible for SSDI under my earnings record (even though he presently receives SSDI on his own at the moment)..... and I was never told this until today (and it was another person getting benefits who gave me the heads up). This means, the benefit will be half of what I will be getting from SSA (one literally needs a scorecard / Phd to keep track of all of this it seems.... and since I used to handle long term disability claims that reduce by any Social Security Benefit - so I really should have already known - but changes constantly happen to how Social Security works and the last large change was in 1998 - after I stopped handling LTD claims for Metlife and had started doing Information Technology full time). So that should increase the dependent amount by $230 per month. However, we can't "apply" for it until I receive my SSDI approval letter (why one is not allowed to apply for it prior to an award is truly baffling - so I have asked Congressman Hultgren's office to also check into that also).
So, the combination of benefits eventually should "qualify" us for that mortgage modification.... if we ever are able to get a written benefit decision in time from the SOcial Security Administration (SSA) and / or the Veterans Administration (VA).
So everyone, this is a cautionary tale. Even though we asked if we had anything else we should fill out when applying for benefits, we were not properly informed of what we should apply for additionally considering our situation - so if you have a disabled child, DEFINITELY apply when you are applying for yourself. You never know if one qualifies, but at least... get it in writing. I am hoping others in the same situation learn from our experiences, which is why I am posting all of this info when it happens to us.
In the interim, I put in a call in to Wells Fargo asking for one final extension that will take into account the upcoming benefits instead of making a decision today regarding a "loan acceleration" (so it is in their hands). I know that with God's grace, the right thing would happen. As everyone knows, tt has taken 3 years to get to this point. Our situation is now at a loggerhead, and it will take yet another miracle to come out of this unscathed. As already shown in this blog, God is full of miracles regarding us and I am sure this is no different. The following describes the miracle we received today (a few minutes ago):
I just got off the phone with Wells Fargo. The loan has not accelerated today, but apparently that doesn't mean it won't tomorrow or the next day. The "Customer Care rep" at the "Office of the President" at Wells Fargo indicated that according to the VA housing rep - the VA will not allow the loan to go into foreclosure based on the fact that I have proven to them I have been approved for SSDI and Veterans Disability Benefits (and have shown we are trying to do everything we can to stay in the home) . So, even if the loan does "accelerate" - that Wells Fargo will not be assigning a "sale date" if foreclosure is started - and he assured me that even if the foreclosure process does start soon, that once we do receive SSDI and VA Dependent Benefits - that Wells Fargo WILL reopen the loan modification process no matter the loan status at that time - and will follow through with paperwork to finish the modification process (this is the first time I have heard Wells Fargo acknowledge that the VA has stopped any possible loss of the home as long as my benefits start within the next 45 days).
Whew....... another of God's miracles.
So now, I'll be going to Social Security tomorrow to start the dependent claim process (we won't take "No" for an answer).... and we will be checking daily on both SSA.GOV and the VA ebenefits website to see if any benefit has been marked as "Approved" and that benefits will start also (so I can get that to Wells Fargo as soon as I see the info on either website).
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples. - Psalm 77:14
“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” - Matthew 19:26

And today is my mother's birthday (she would have been 75 years old today had she lived past 2009 and hadn't passed away from Pancreatic Cancer). I definitely feel like she is our familial "Guardian Angel" - she loved our home and I am positive is trying to help us stay in it. We miss her terribly. The first picture is her (taking a picture with me) right after we came from Norway to America. The 2nd picture is of her at our Hampshire home about 5 years before she passed away. She was about the most loyal and loving parent I know, we didn't deserve her but were honored God chose her to be our Mother, and there isn't a day I take for granted given her having provided every fiber of her being to her children's lives. She left us too soon, and I am looking forward to seeing her again when I eventually pass.