Do you qualify for a Veterans Pension?
If you are a wartime veteran with a limited income and you are no longer able to work, you may qualify for a Veterans Disability Pension or the Veterans Pension for veterans 65 years or older.
Many veterans of wartime service are completely unaware of the fact that if they are 65 or older and on a limited income they may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled.
Veterans Pensions Eligibility
You may qualify for a veteran's pension if:
- you were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions,
- you served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of wartime.
- you are permanently and totally disabled or are age 65 or older,
- your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law.
2021 Family Income Limits (Effective Dec. 1, 2020)
|If you are a...||Your yearly income must be less than... *|
|Veteran with no dependents||$13,931**|
|Veteran with a spouse or a child||$18,243***|
|Housebound veteran with no dependents||$17,024|
|Housebound veteran with one dependent||$21,337|
|Veteran who needs aid and attendance and has no dependents||$23,238|
|Veteran who needs aid and attendance (A/A) and has one dependent||$27,549|
|Two Vets Married to Each Other||$18,243|
|Add for Each Additional Child to any category above||$2,382|
* Some income is not counted toward the yearly limit (for example, welfare benefits, some wages earned by dependent children, and Supplemental Security Income. It's also important to note that your medical-related expenses are considered when determining your yearly family income.
** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed $696
*** To be deducted, medical expenses must exceed $912
VA Payment Rates:
The VA pays you the difference between your countable family income and the yearly income limit which describes your situation (see chart above). This difference is generally paid in 12 equal monthly payments rounded down to the nearest dollar.
Pension Payment Example:
Joe (a single veteran) has an annual income of $5,000. His annual income limit is $13,931. To determine Joe's pension subtract his annual income of $5,000 from the $13,931 income limit which gives him an annual pension rate of $8,931. This translates into a monthly pension check of approximately $744.25.
How To Apply For Veteran's Pension
You can apply online through the VA's website.
Aid and Attendance or Housebound Veterans
Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a benefit paid in addition to a pension. This benefit can't be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A&A when:
- They 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 themselves from the hazards of their daily environment, OR,
- They are bedridden, meaning their disability requires that they remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
- They are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
- They are blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected vision of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits can't be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for housebound benefits when:
- They have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling AND, due to such disability, they are permanently and substantially confined to their immediate premises, OR,
- They have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60% or more disabling.
You can't get both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.
How to Apply for Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits:
You can apply for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by writing to the VA office having jurisdiction of the claim. That would be the office where you filed a claim for pension benefits. If you aren't sure which office handles your claim you can file the request with any VA regional office.
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 that 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.
In addition, it is necessary to determine whether the claimant is confined to the home or immediate premises.
Whether the claim is for Aid and Attendance or Housebound, the report should indicate how well the veteran gets around, where they go, and what they are able to do during a typical day.
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