VA Pension Eligibility
Low-income wartime veterans may qualify for a pension if they meet certain requirements:
- At least 90 days of active duty, with at least 1 day during a VA recognized wartime period*
- Income and net worth limits set by law
- 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 (SSDI AKA Social Security Disability) OR
Receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
*wartime periods are currently listed as follows:
World War II: Dec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946
Korean War: June 27,1950 – Jan.31, 1955
Vietnam War: Feb. 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975
Gulf War: August 2,1990 – ???
VA Pension Benefits
Family income must be less than the amount set by Congress to qualify for the veterans pension benefit. The VA pension amount is the difference between “countable” income and the annual pension limit set by Congress. The Department of Veterans Affairs generally pays this difference in monthly payments.
Special Pension Programs: Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits
Veterans and surviving spouses may be eligible for higher VA pension benefits if they qualify for Aid & Attendance or Housebound programs. Higher income limits apply to eligibility for these programs, and unreimbursed medical expenses (including the care costs of a nursing home, assisted living, or home health care provider) may be used to reduce “countable income”. To give you an idea of the typical benefit, currently the VA will pay up to $21, 466 to a Veteran without dependents.
A person may qualify if he or she requires the regular aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, or is bedridden, a patient in a nursing home, blind, or permanently and substantially confined to his/her premises due to the disability.
Applying for Aid & Attendance and Housebound Benefits
See our slide show for more details about what needs to be included in making the case for these special VA pension benefits. If you are in Florida, we highly recommend you seek help from the county Veterans Service office (call 727-464-8460 for the Pinellas County Veterans Service office). You may also need the services of an Accredited VA Attorney, who can help you understand the income and asset limits, what is countable, and your planning options.
Beware of FREE services! Free VA planning services typically sell you financial products to help you qualify for these benefits. While these products may be okay for you, they may not always be your best option. Worse still, they could cause difficulties in qualifying for other benefits such as Medicaid.