When most people think of veteran benefits, healthcare, education and maybe even mortgage benefits come to mind. But many people don’t realize that VA benefits stretch far beyond those areas. In fact, one often overlooked veteran benefit is the VA pension.
The VA pension is an income-based benefit that is offered to qualifying war-time veterans and their survivors. The pension provides supplementary income to veterans and their surviving spouse base on household income. And some out-of-pocket medical expenses, including amounts paid to nursing homes, assisted-living centers and for in-home care, can be deducted from household income to help improve the odds of qualifying.
Also, if the VA determines that veteran or surviving spouse is housebound or requires additional in-home assistance, they may be entitled to a higher VA pension benefit.
Here are the qualifications needed to qualify for a VA pension, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs:
- With some exceptions, the Veteran must have served on active duty:
- Veterans who served on or before Sept. 7, 1980 must have 90 continuous days of service with at least one of those days during wartime
- Veterans who served after Sept. 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,” according to the VA web site.
The pension benefit will pay the difference between the veteran’s eligible family income and the yearly income limit. See chart.
For example, Tom is a single veteran who has an annual eligible income of $5,000. His income limit, according to the above-reference chart, is $12,868. Therefore, Tom is entitled to pension benefits in the amount of $7,868, or $655.66 a month.
For more information on veteran pension benefits, contact the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.