AWWV Professional Members have partnered with communities across the country to host Pinning Ceremonies. Pinning Ceremonies are an extremely popular …
Our History & Where it all Began
Our founder, Mary Schneider was already a successful long term care planner in 2002, when she received an email from an associate asking if she knew anything about Improved Pension with Aid and Attendance. It was a logical question to ask since she had previously spent 17 years as a civilian employee for Department of the Army. Mary’s client base was seniors facing extremely high, long-term care costs, so this seemed like the perfect fit since 40% of her clients could benefit from receiving funds to offset the cost of their care. Mary, like others, wondered if this pension “was too good to be true.” Despite these reservations, she ordered the manuals, talked to people across the country and did over a year of extensive research. Finally, in March 2003, AAWV held its first seminar in an assisted living community. The community’s Marketing Director had heard of the benefit because their corporate office had mandated that each community advertise it. However, she had been sending people to the local VA office, and they were coming back either disapproved or were told they were not eligible. She was happy to give us a chance! Within three months, word had spread about the educational seminars we were doing; and we were presenting across the nation. Was it easy getting this done – certainly not – our first approval was denied seven times, but we had the tenacity to pursue the claim and we finally convinced the VA that there indeed was such an entitlement for wartime veterans with high long term costs.
We are often asked what we learned along the way. Here are a few things that stand out in our minds:
- Put the veteran first. Develop relationships with them and they will become advocates of AAWV and its’ Professional Members.
- Earn a reputation in the communities for caring about people.
- Our business model is the right business model. Many other companies are on the “Aid and Attendance” bandwagon. We go the extra mile in assisting everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of means. AAWV, under our VA Accredited Attorney, assists in an approvable application being forwarded to the VA.
- Continue to be relevant to wartime veterans and the communities in which they live.
We have come a long way. Starting off with one community in Michigan; we are now in twenty-three states and service hundreds of Veteran 1st communities. We have educated more than 750,000 veterans and their families over the last 10 years and submitted 11,000 applications on their behalf. Our company and its professional members work tirelessly on behalf of a greater goal.
AAWV’s founder Mary L. Schneider has been recognized for her achievements by the NCOA and was given Honorary Membership in 2012. AAWV has become an advocate and most recently traveled to VA in Washington D.C. on behalf of wartime veterans and their surviving spouses who live in enhanced independent living communities. Our efforts resulted in VA Fast Letter 12-25 being published and those claimants living in these communities were again eligible for this well-deserved pension.