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If you are an elderly veteran or the surviving spouse of an elderly veteran, you may be eligible for a VA pension. If you are the child of a veteran and are looking for monetary help for your parent(s),
they may be able to qualify for a veterans pension. Please keep in mind that pension claims can take up to several months to process, so it’s better to reach out sooner rather than later.
You may be eligible for the Veterans Pension program if you meet the requirements listed below:
- 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 includes the net worth of your spouse.
AND one of these must be true:
- You started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days with at least 1 day during wartime OR
- You started on active duty as an enlisted person after 9/7/1980 and served at least 24 months or the full period with at least 1 day during wartime OR
AND at least 1 of these must be true:
- You’re at least 65 years old OR
- You have a permanent disability OR
- You’re a patient in a nursing home for long term because of a disability OR
- You’re getting social security disability insurance or supplemental security income
Pension Rates – If you qualify for these benefits, the VA will base your payment amount on the difference between your countable income and a limit that Congress sets (called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate, or MAPR).
- Your countable income is how much you earn, including your Social Security benefits, investment and retirement payments. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income.
- To see the MAPR Rate please go to 2021 VA Pension Rates For Veterans | Veterans Affairs
The current net worth limit to be eligible for Veterans Pension benefits is $130,773. Net worth includes your and your spouse’s assets and annual income. When you apply for Veterans Pension benefits, you’ll need to report all of these assets and income.
- Investments (like stocks and bonds)
- Property (not including the home you live in)
Assets don’t include:
- Your primary residence
- Your car
- Basic home items like appliances that you wouldn’t take with you if you moved to a new house
Annual income is the money earned in a year (the previous 12 months) from a job or from retirement or annuity payments, including salary or hourly pay, bonuses, commissions, overtime, tips
The VA will subtract certain expenses from your annual income when they assess net worth. This is called applicable deductible expenses. They include:
- Educational expenses
- Medical expenses you’re not reimbursed for
An Example of Net Worth & Eligibility
If you had $121,000 in assets and $14,000 in annual income, then your net worth would be $135,000. This is more than the net worth limit of $130,773. So, you wouldn’t be eligible for Veterans Pension benefits.
Surviving spouses of veteran may be eligible for a VA pension as well. The spouse cannot have remarried after the veteran’s death (or ever have been divorced from the veteran) and the deceased veteran must meet the military service requirements above. The surviving spouse would have to meet the income limits above.