Everything You Need to Know About the Veterans Pension Program
If you are a Veteran who meets certain age or disability requirements, you might be eligible for The Veterans Pension Program. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this program and whether or not you qualify.
Are you eligible?
To determine if you are eligible for The Veterans Pension Program, you must meet the following criteria. Both of these must be true:
- You didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge, and
- Your yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. 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 considers the net worth of your spouse.
This rate is currently set at $130,733
And at least one of these must be true about your service:
- You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served at least 90 days on active duty with at least one 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 entire period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least one 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
And at least one of these must be 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
The eligible war-time periods are:
- Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam War era (November 1, 1955, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)
How are benefits calculated?
Once it is determined that you qualify for pension benefits, the VA will look at your countable income, which is how much you earn, including your Social Security benefits, investment and retirement payments, and any income your dependents receive. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income.This amount will then be subtracted from your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR). The MAPR is the maximum amount of pension payable. Your MAPR is based on how many dependents you have, if you’re married to another Veteran who qualifies for a pension, and if your disabilities qualify you for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits. MAPRs are adjusted each year for cost-of-living increases. There are tables available on the VA.gov website to help you determine what your MAPR could be.
How to apply
There are a few ways you can apply for The VA Pension Program. The easiest is online through the VA.gov website. You’ll need to have some information available to be prepared to file, including Social Security number or VA file number (required), Military history (required), your financial information and the financial information of your dependents (required), work history, bank account direct deposit information, and medical information. Once you have all this information available, you can apply online, by mail, or in person at a VA regional office. To learn more about The VA Pension Program, visit va.gov.
Have a question about your Veteran benefits? You can email us today! If you are within one-year pre to post-military separation, you can enroll in our FREE program by setting up a call with one of our transition coaches.