What is a Veteran's Pension?
Pension is a needs-based benefit paid to wartime Veterans, who meet certain age or non-service connected disability requirements.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?
You may be eligible if: You were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions,
You served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time*,
Your countable income is below the amount listed in the chart below,
You meet the net worth limitations,
You are age 65 or older,
you have a permanent and total non-service connected disability,
you are patient in a nursing home,
you are receiving Social Security disability benefits
*Veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must also serve at least 24 months of active duty service. If the total length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran must have completed their entire tour of active duty.
Maximum Annual Pension Rate (PDF)
MAXIMUM ANNUAL PENSION RATE (MAPR) (EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 2013) If you are a… Your yearly income must be less than…
- Veteran with no dependents $12,652
- Veteran with a spouse or a child $16,569
- (Veterans with additional children: add $2,161 to the limit for EACH child)
- Housebound veteran with no dependents $15,462
- Housebound veteran with one dependent $19,380
- Veteran who needs aid and attendance and has no dependents $21,107
- Veteran who needs aid and attendance and has one dependent $25,022
HOW MUCH DOES VA PAY?
VA calculates annual pension by first determining for your particular circumstances that Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR), an amount set by Congress. For example, if you are a Veteran with no dependents, the MAPR is $12,652. Next, VA determines your countable income. VA determines countable income by subtracting from your total income received in a particular 12-month period, the amount of those exclusions provided by law. VA subtracts your countable income from the MAPR; the difference is your annual pension entitlement. VA divides this amount by 12 and rounds down to the nearest dollar, this is the approximate amount of your monthly pension payment.
VA deducts certain expenses paid by you, e.g., unreimbursed medical expenses, from your annual household income, which will decrease your countable income and increase your monthly pension payment. A complete list of these exclusions is provided in section 3.272 of title 38, Code of Federal Regulations. These regulations are available at the Government Printing Offices website (PDF).
What is Enhanced or Special Pension?
Aid and Attendance (A&A) is an increased monthly pension amount paid to a Veteran or surviving spouse.
You may be eligible if: You require the aid of another person in order to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting yourself from the hazards of your daily environment, OR, You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR, You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR, You 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 an increased monthly pension amount paid to a claimant who is substantially confined to his or her home because of permanent disability. Additionally, if you are a Veteran, you may quality for the increased housebound amount if:
You have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling
due to such disability, you are permanently and substantially confined to your immediate premises,
You have single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling
another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60-percent or more disabling.
What is a Survivor's Pension?
The Survivors Pension benefit, which may also be referred to as Death Pension, is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.
The deceased Veteran must have met the following service requirements: For service on or before September 7, 1980, the Veteran must have served at least 90 days of active military service, with at least one day during a war time period
If he or she entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty with at least one day during a war time period
Was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions.
Survivors Pension is also based on your yearly family income which must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify.
While an un-remarried spouse is eligible at any age, a child of a deceased wartime Veteran must be:
- Under 18, OR
- Under age 23 if attending a VA-approved school, OR
- Permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before age 18
Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the Survivors Pension benefit.