Veterans Pension Benefits: What you need to know

July 19, 2019

Who's eligible for the Veterans Pension Benefit?

The Veterans Pension Benefit is intended to help veterans and their families deal with financial difficulties. In order to qualify, a veteran usually needs to have served for at least 90 days in active duty status. Those who first entered active duty in September 1980 or later have a longer active duty requirement, as they must typically have served at least 24 months or the full period for which the service member was called or ordered to active duty.

In order to qualify for the Veterans Pension Benefit, you must generally be age 65 or older. Exceptions for younger veterans exist if you're totally and permanently disabled, receiving skilled nursing care in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income through the Social Security Administration.

How much is the Veterans Pension Benefit?

Calculating the Veterans Pension Benefit is fairly complicated, because the laws that govern the benefit establish annual maximum amounts and then require you to offset any financial resources you have against it. In particular, your pension benefit will generally be equal to the annual pension limit that Congress sets and the amount of income that gets counted against that limit.

Will outside assets take away my Veterans Pension?

There's also an asset test that prevents those who have ample financial resources from taking advantage of the Veterans Pension program. In general, if the Veterans Administration determines that you could live off money in bank accounts or proceeds from stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and any property other than your personal residence, then it can deny benefits. There's no hard-and-fast rule for how much of a net worth is too high, and there's substantial discretion given to the administrative personnel at the VA in making the final determination.

How do I apply for my Veterans Pension?

To apply, you can go to the VA's online application here. Alternatively, you can complete VA Form 21P-527EZ and either mail it to the pension management center that serves veterans in the state where you live, or you can visit your local regional benefit office in person to turn in your application. For details on where the nearest office is, you can use the VA's facility locator, accessible on the VA website for pension benefits.

You served us and you served our country! Get the benefits you deserve. Learning about the Veterans Pension Benefit and other benefits available to service members is important in order to allow the country to recognize your service with honor and dignity.

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