One of the benefits of having served in the military is being able to receive financial assistance and top-quality health care. The different benefit programs you are eligible for often depend on your service status, along with other factors.
When you get older, you are in more need of these programs to help you with health issues and their high costs. You may be eligible for VA pension to aid you in such medically and economically hard times.
What are the requirements for VA pension?
First, your service determines eligibility. You must have served in active duty for at least 90 days, but 24 months or your full call for service after Sept. 7, 1980. One of those days must have been during a wartime period, with the list of qualifying periods available on the site of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. You must have received an honorable discharge.
Then you must meet only one of the following requirements:
- Be at least 65 years old
- Receive SSDI or SSI
- Have a total and permanent disability
- Be a nursing home patient under skilled care
The last qualification is to have a countable income below the amount Congress sets for your family size. The difference between these two numbers generally is the pension amount you will receive, and you will not have to pay taxes on it.
Who else can apply for VA pension?
Surviving spouses and children may also receive the monthly payments if their deceased veteran meets all eligibility requirements. Spouses must still be unmarried. Children must also be unmarried, as well as under 18 years old unless attending a VA-approved school, which raises the age limit to 23. Children who have been disabled since being a minor and cannot support themselves have no age maximum.
In addition to the above, if your health problems leave you housebound, you may receive a higher payment. If your disability mandates that you need another person’s assistance, you may also qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits to cover the cost of care.