Veterans Pension Rules
Veterans Pension Rules
Our experienced Veterans pension lawyer at the Dobson Law Group is committed to providing Veterans compensation benefits and Veterans pension benefits assistance to Veterans and their families who have sacrificed and served this great nation. Veteran Affairs provides tax-free monetary supplemental income Veterans Pension benefits to veterans, survivors, aid and attendance and housebound veterans payable to low-income wartime veterans. However, the Veterans Pension rules and regulations provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for eligibility and applying for Veterans Pension benefits can be confusing and complex.
We assist Veterans and their families navigate the complexities of the VA Veterans Pension benefits rules and regulations while protecting your interests and advocating for your rights.
We have provided Veterans Pension Rules for information purposes only.
Supplemental Income for Wartime Veterans
VA helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension benefit. Veterans Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime Veterans.
Generally, a Veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty service, with at least one day during a wartime period to qualify for a VA Pension. If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least one day during a wartime period.
In addition to meeting minimum service requirements, the Veteran must be:
- Age 65 or older, OR
- Totally and permanently disabled, OR
- A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the Veterans Pension benefit. Learn more about income and net worth limitation, and see an example of how VA calculates the VA Pension benefit.
Additional Pension Allowances
Veterans or surviving spouses who are eligible for VA pension and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible for an additional monetary payment.
Eligible Wartime Periods
Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:
- 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)
How to Calculate Veterans Pension
Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the Veterans Pension benefit. If eligible, your pension benefit is the difference between your “countable” income and the annual pension limit set by Congress. VA generally pays this difference in 12 equal monthly payments.
Income and Net Worth Limitations
Countable income includes income from most sources as well as from any eligible dependents. It generally includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividend payments from annuities, and net income from farming or a business. Some expenses, such as unreimbursed medical expenses, may reduce your countable income.
Net worth includes assets such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and any property other than your residence and a reasonable lot area. You should report all of your net worth. VA will determine whether your assets are of a sufficiently large amount that you could live off of them for a reasonable period of time.
Hypothetical Example VA Pension Benefit Calculation
Your pension is calculated to be an amount equal to the difference between your countable family income and the annual pension limit set by Congress.
If, for example, the annual income limit on December 1, 2005, for a Veteran and spouse, as set by Congress, is $13,855 and your income combined with your spouse’s income is $10,855, your VA pension will be $3,000 ($13,855 – $10,855 = $3,000) paid in monthly installments.
If your total countable family income is more than $13,855 in this example, then you are not eligible for a VA Pension for that year. You may reapply again at any time your countable income falls below the limit.
A portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses (what you paid out of pocket after medical insurance pays) may reduce your countable income. Using the example above for combined family income ($10,855):
If your medical expenses for a year are $8,000 and your medical insurance pays $6,400 of that, your unreimbursed medical expense is $1,600.
That portion of your unreimbursed medical expenses ($1,600 in the example above) which is more than 5% of the maximum rate of pension, or $693 in this example ($13,855 x .05 = $693), may be deducted from your total combined income which then increases the amount VA will pay to you.
Since the $1,600 out of pocket expenses is greater than $693, you may reduce your family income by $907 ($1,600 – $693). So, your income for VA pension purposes is now $9,948 ($10,855 – $907).
Your VA pension would then be $13,855 (maximum rate for a veteran with a spouse) minus $9,948 (total family income after deducting unreimbursed medical expenses), or $3,907 for that year.
Aid & Attendance and Housebound
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 monthly pension, and they are not paid without eligibility to Pension.
Since Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowances increase the pension amount, people who are not eligible for a basic pension due to excessive income may be eligible for pension at these increased rates. A Veteran or surviving spouse may not receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time.
Aid & Attendance (A&A)
The Aid & Attendance (A&A) increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount if you meet one of the following conditions:
You require 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 yourself from the hazards of your daily environment
You are bedridden, in that your disability or disabilities requires that you remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment
You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity
Your eyesight is limited to a corrected 5/200 visual acuity or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less
This increased monthly pension amount may be added to your monthly pension amount when you are substantially confined to your immediate premises because of permanent disability.
How to Apply
*We encourage you to contact an experienced Veterans Pension Benefits attorney to discuss your specific situation with the Dobson Law Group today at (864)271-8171 or online to schedule an appointment. The Veterans Benefits attorneys at the Dobson Law Group can help, don’t wait and act now.
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.
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.
Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the applicant gets around, where the applicant goes, and what he or she is able to do during a typical day. In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
(SOURCE: US Department of Veterans Affairs, https://www.benefits.va.gov)
We can help! Contact Veterans Pension Lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina.
If you or a loved one has questions about Veterans Pension Benefits, we encourage you to contact an experienced Veterans Pension Benefits attorney to discuss your specific situation with the Dobson Law Group today at (864)271-8171 or online to schedule an appointment. The Veterans Benefits attorneys at the Dobson Law Group can help, don’t wait and act now.
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