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The VA Pension program is a tax-free benefit that’s awarded to wartime veterans and survivors of wartime veterans that meet specific qualifications. If you’re part of either one of these two groups, and fall within age, disability, income or net worth limits, you may be eligible to receive monthly payments (for more information on how survivors of wartime veterans can receive pension benefits, click here).
What Are the Eligibility Requirements for Vets?
Have a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable and fall under the following:
You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime …
OR you started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980 and 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 1 day during wartime …
OR you were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981 and you hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months …
Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress (called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate, or MAPR). Your net worth includes all personal property you own (except your house, your car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt you owe. Your net worth includes the net worth of your spouse.
AND at least one of these is true …
- You’re at least 65 years old OR
- You have a permanent and total disability OR
- You’re a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability OR
- You’re getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income
How Much Is the Monthly Pension Payment?
The amount of money a vet gets is based on the difference between your countable income and the MAPR (which can be found here). Countable income is how much you earn including Social Security, investment and retirement payments and income your dependents receive — medical expenses not covered by an insurance provider can reduce this number.
How Can You Apply?
If you think you’re eligible, apply here.
You can also work with a trained professional who can provide assistance with filling out and submitting the application. To find someone, click here.