The entire nation owes a debt of gratitude to every man and woman who has served in the United States Armed Forces. These men and women, as well as their families, have sacrificed so much so that the rest of us can be safe and secure. If you are a veteran, you are likely entitled to a number of benefits for you service to the country. One of those may be Veterans Pension. The following offers a brief overview of the Veterans Pension program along with eligibility guidelines and application procedures.
What Is Veterans Pension?
Veteran’s pension program provides monthly benefit payments to certain wartime veterans with financial need, and their survivors. The veterans pension program is a needs-based benefit paid to a wartime veteran and his/her survivor(s). A veteran may generally be eligible if he/she:
- was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
- served 90 days or more of active military, naval or air service with at least 1 day during a period of war, AND
- his/her countable income is below the maximum annual pension rate, AND
- meets the net worth limitations, AND
- is age 65 or older, OR is shown by evidence to have a permanent and total non-service connected disability, OR is a patient in a nursing home, OR is receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Note: Veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must also have served at least 24 months of active duty service. If the total length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran must have completed his/her entire tour of active duty.
Currently, you must meet the wartime service requirement by having served during one of the following periods:
- Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)
Income Limits for Veteran’s Pension
Because the veteran’s pension program is a needs-based program, income limits apply when applying for benefits. The limits change each year. For 2018, the following yearly income limits are applicable:
- Veteran without a spouse or child — $13,166
- Veteran with one dependent — $17,241
- Housebound without dependents — $16,089
- Housebound with one dependent — $20,166
- Aid and Attendance without dependents — $21,962
- Aid and Attendance with one dependent — $26, 036
- Two veterans married to each other — $17, 241
Income limits also apply to survivor pension benefits. As of 2018, the following yearly income limits apply if you are applying as a survivor:
- Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) without a child — $8,830
- MAPR with one dependent child — $11,557
- For each additional child add — $2,250
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits
Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension and require the aid and attendance of another person, or are housebound, may be eligible for additional monetary payment. These benefits are paid in addition to the monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.
How to Apply for Veterans Pension
You may apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. You may also visit your local regional benefit office to file your request. You can locate your local regional benefit office using the VA Facility Locator.
Contact Sacramento Veterans Benefits Attorneys
Please download our FREE estate planning checklist. If you have additional question about Veterans Pension, contact the experienced staff at the Northern California Center for Estate Planning & Elder Law today by calling (916)-437-3500 or by filling out our online contact form.