The Veterans Pension Program

filling out paperwork

If you are a wartime veteran with a limited income and you are no longer able to work, you may qualify for a Veterans Disability Pension or the Veterans Pension for Veterans 65 or older.

 

The following is a summary of Veteran's Pensions:

  • Veteran's Pensions Eligibility
  • The 2012 VA Payment Rates
  • Aid and Attendence/Housebound
  • The Application Process
  • Related Topics

Many veterans of wartime service are completely unaware of the fact that if they are 65 or older and on a limited income they may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled.

Veteran's Pensions Eligibility:

  • you were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions,

    AND
  • you served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time.
    NOTE: 38 CFR 3.12a requires that anyone who enlisted after 9/7/80 generally has to serve at least 24 months or the full period for which a person was called or ordered to active duty in order to receive any benefits based on that period of service. With the advent of the Gulf War on 8/2/90 (and still not ended by Congress to this day), veterans can now serve after 9/7/80 during a period of war time. When they do, they generally must serve 24 months to be eligible for pension or any other benefit. But note the exclusions in 38 CFR 3.12(d),

    AND
  • you are permanently and totally disabled, or are age 65 or older,

    AND
  • your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law.
2012 Family Income Limits (Effective Dec 1, 2012)
If you are a... Your yearly income must be less than... *
Veteran with no dependents $12,256**
Veteran with a spouse or a child $16,051***
Housebound veteran with no dependents $14,978
Housebound veteran with one dependent $18,773
Veteran who needs aid and attendance and you have no dependents $20,447
Veteran who needs aid and attendance (A/A) and you have one dependent $24,239
Two Vets Married to Each Other $16,051
Add for Early War Veteran (Mexican Border Period or WW1) to any category above $2,783
Add for Each Additional Child to any category above $2,093

* Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security Income. It's also important to note that your medical related expenses are considered when determining your yearly family income.
* To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR,  or,  $612
** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed 5% of MAPR,  or,  $802

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The VA Payment Rates:

VA pays you the difference between your countable family income and the yearly income limit which describes your situation (see chart above). This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar. Call the toll-free number below for details.

Example:

Joe (a single veteran) has an annual income of $5,000. His annual income limit is $12,256. To determine Joe's Pension subtract his annual income of $5000 from the $12,256 income limit which gives him an annual pension rate of $7,256. This translates into a monthly pension check of approximately $605.

Aid and Attendence or Housebound Veterans

Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition this benefit may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:

  1. The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,
  2. The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
  3. The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
  4. The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.

Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension.    Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension.   A veteran may be eligible for Housebound benefits when:

  1. The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises, OR,
  2. The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling.

A veteran cannot receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.

How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound:

  • You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA regional office having jurisdiction of the claim.   That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits.  If the regional office of jurisdiction is not known, you may file the request with any VA regional office.
  • You should include copies of any evidence, preferably a report from an attending physician validating the need for Aid and Attendance or Housebound type care.
  • The report should be in sufficient detail to determine whether there is disease or injury producing physical or mental impairment, loss of coordination, or conditions affecting the ability to dress and undress, to feed oneself, to attend to sanitary needs, and to keep oneself ordinarily clean and presentable.
  • In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
  • Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the individual gets around, where the individual goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day.

The Application Process:

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veteran's Application for Compensation Or Pension. If available, attach copies of dependency records (marriage & children's birth certificates) and current medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports).

You can also apply on line through the VONAPP website.

For More Information Call Toll-Free 1-800-827-1000.

Must Have Veteran Benefits InformationMore

overview-academy-dc-veteran.jpg

Veteran's Benefits Explained

In addition to the pensions and benefits to which you may be entitled because of both public and private employment, you may also be eligible for certain benefits based on your military service.

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