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Overview of VA Pensions

Retired VFW Member

The VA administers three different pension programs for veterans and their dependents. Normally pension is payable only to those with low-income, as determined by federal law.

The pension normally makes up the difference between a person's income and the income levels set by Congress, these income levels differ based on number of dependents. The pension amounts are also higher if the veteran or dependent requires specialized medical care or is housebound.

All of these pensions are tax-free.

Medal of Honor Pension

Medal of Honor recipients are entitled to a pension for life. This entitlement is not based on income level or need. Congress set the monthly pension at $1,303.51 for 2017.

Veteran's Pension

Veteran's pension is a monthly payment to certain veterans with income below levels. The veteran must have served at least one day during a wartime period and be:

  • 65 years or older, or
  • permanently and totally disabled, or
  • in a nursing home, or
  • receiving social security disability, or
  • receiving supplemental security income

See our Veterans Pension page for more details.

Survivor's Pension

Survivor's pension, also known as the "death pension", is paid monthly payment to low-income, un-remarried surviving spouses and certain children of deceased wartime veterans. 

See our Survivor's Pension page for more details.

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Related Topics

Veteran Benefits