The Veterans Administration helps low-income veterans and their families cope with challenging financial times by offering supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs.
Veterans Pension benefits
VA offers two categories of pension programs: (1) Veterans Pension — a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime, and (2) Veterans Survivors Pension — a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried children of a deceased Veteran with wartime service.
In addition, veterans and survivors who are eligible for these tax-free pension benefits and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible to receive additional benefits.
Are you eligible?
These pension benefits are needs-based, which means your “countable” family income must fall below a specific annual limit. There are a few additional eligibility requirements. For example, veterans must have at least 90 days of active duty, including one day during a wartime period. If the active duty occurred after September 7, 1980, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period that you were called up (with some exceptions). You must also be:
- Age 65 or older with limited or no income, OR
- Totally and permanently disabled, OR
- A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
- The Veteran must have met the service requirements above for surviving spouses and children applying for the Survivors Pension.
How to Apply
To apply for Veterans Pension, you must visit the Veterans Administration website and download an Application for Pension (the official title is VA Form 21-527EZ). After you complete the application, mail it to the Pension Management Center (PMC) that serves your state. You can also walk into your local regional VA benefit office to submit your application.