When Veterans and their family members think of VA benefits – the first thoughts that typically come to mind are VA’s educational benefits, compensation and health care benefits, or home loan benefits. Many don’t realize that VA also offers a benefit that can assist qualifying war-time Veterans and their survivors. As our country’s Veteran and surviving spouse population grows older and ailments worsen, it’s important for Veterans and their families to know about the benefits available to them from VA.
VA pension is an income-based benefit offered to qualifying Veterans and their survivors. The amount of pension payable is based on the Veteran’s or survivor’s family income. VA may be able to deduct out-of-pocket medical expenses from income, including but not limited to amounts paid to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and for in-home care. Additionally, if VA determines a Veteran or surviving spouse is housebound or requires the aid and attendance of another person, he or she may be entitled a higher rate of VA Pension.
- With some exceptions, the Veteran must have served on active duty:
- Veterans who served on or before September 7, 1980 must have 90 continuous days of service with at least one of those days during wartime
- Veterans who served after September 7, 1980, must have served at least 24 months or the full period they were called up
- Veterans must either be:
- age 65 or older or
- permanently and totally disabled
***VA assumes a Veteran to be permanently and totally disabled if the Veteran is a patient in a nursing home or found disabled by the Social Security Administration. There are no disability or age criteria for survivors.
- Veterans and surviving spouses must meet income and net worth criteria.
Though there are various ways to apply for VA pension, the fastest way to apply is online through https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/vonapp.
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