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Veterans Pension Benefits

WHAT IS THE VA PENSION?

The VA Pension is a needs-based monthly benefit for veterans with war-time service who are either totally disabled or over the age of 65, and who meet the following criteria:

(1) Discharged from active duty service under other than dishonorable conditions.
(2) For military service prior to September 7, 1980, served on active duty for at least 90 days, with at least one day during a period of war.
(3) VA’s income and net worth limitations.

The VA Pension is tax free. No income taxes are paid on VA Pension benefits.
The veteran’s disability does not have to be service-connected (unlike the VA Compensation benefit which does require service-connected disability).
The VA does not count the veteran’s primary residence or vehicles when determining net worth.

Sometimes veterans are incorrectly told that their income is too high to qualify for the VA Pension. This is because the veteran’s unreimbursed medical expenses (such as at-home care, assisted living care or nursing home care) are deducted from the veteran’s gross income to determine the veteran’s income for VA purposes. Sadly, some advisors fail to understand this and incorrectly advise the veteran that he or she is not eligible for the Pension.

A veteran may also be told that his net worth is too high to qualify for the VA Pension. However, there are often effective ways to reduce the veteran’s net worth to become eligible for the VA Pension.

WHAT IS THE SURVIVOR'S PENSION? 

The Survivor’s Pension is available to the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran. The deceased veteran must have been discharged from active duty service under other than dishonorable conditions, and for military service prior to September 7, 1980, the deceased veteran must have served on active duty for at least 90 days, with at least one day during a period of war. The surviving spouse must meet the VA’s income and net worth limitations.

WHAT ARE THE THREE LEVELS OF VA PENSION BENEFITS?

(1) Basic: veteran (or surviving spouse) satisfies the basic criteria for the Pension but does not meet the criteria for Housebound or Aid and Attendance.
(2) Housebound: veteran (or surviving spouse) cannot leave his or her home without regular assistance of another. Example: unable to drive. Veteran may otherwise be able to live at home independently.
(3) Aid and Attendance: is the highest level of VA Pension benefits available to the veteran (or surviving spouse). The individual need not be bedridden – nor does he/she have to be in an assisted living facility or home health care situation. If a physician confirms that his/her physical limitations are such that he/she cannot live unattended without assistance, then the VA may determine that Aid and Attendance is warranted. Unlike, Basic and Housebound, the individual’s doctor must confirm that the physical condition of the individual has deteriorated to the point that he/she requires the aid of another person in order to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting him/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment.

WAR PERIODS FOR NON-SERVICE CONNECTED PENSIONS

WW I:

04-06-1917 through 11-11-1918, Inclusive (If in Russia, ending date is 04-01-1920)

WW II:

12-07-1941 through 12-31-1946, Inclusive (if in service on 12-31-1946 with continuous service before 07-26-1947, this is acceptable as war time)

Korean:

06-27-1950 through 01-31-1955, Inclusive

Vietnam:    (Note:  Two Periods for Vietnam)

2-28-1961 through 05-07-1975, Inclusive for Veterans Who Served in Vietnam During that Period
08-06-1964 through 05-07-1975, Inclusive for All Others

Persian Gulf:

8-2-1990 through (date to be determined; considered a continuation of the Persian Gulf War)

CURRENT PENSION AMOUNTS (2018)

MARRIED VETERAN MONTHLY ANNUAL

Basic Improved Pension $1,436 $17,233
Housebound $1,649 $20,159
Aid and Attendance $2,169 $26,034

SINGLE VETERAN
Basic Improved Pension $1,096 $13,158
Housebound $1,340 $16,083
Aid and Attendance $1,829 $21,958

SURVIVING SPOUSE OF VETERAN
Basic Improved Pension $735 $8,825
Housebound $898 $10,783
Aid and Attendance $1,176 $14,112

 

If you, a family member or a friend would like to learn more about VA Pension benefits, please contact our office to schedule a consultation.

 

      Member of The Academy of VA Pension Planners | 888.928.2779 | avapp.org



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| Phone: 615-896-5621

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The Elder and Special Needs Law Center - Murfreesboro, Tennessee, is a service of attorney John H. Baker III, of counsel with the law firm of Bullock, Fly, Hornsby & Evans. Offices are located at 307 Hickerson Drive, Murfreesboro (Rutherford County), TN 37129. Surrounding communities include Smyrna and LaVergne (Rutherford County), Franklin and Brentwood (Williamson County), Woodbury (Cannon County), Manchester and Tullahoma (Coffee County), Lebanon (Wilson County) and Shelbyville (Bedford County).