Pension benefit

VA pension is a benefit paid to veterans who served during a period of war and who have limited or no countable income, and is 65 years or older or totally disabled not due to their service. It's estimated that approximately 3/4 of all veterans are eligible for the pension benefit. For example, the Persian Gulf War period is still in effect and has been since August 2, 1990, so any veteran that served during this period could be eligible for the Pension benefit as long as the other criteria are met.

The basic eligibility criteria for the Pension benefit is;

  • 90 days of service, one of which was during a period of war. (if you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, you must generally have 24 consecutive months of service under 38 C.F.R. §3.12a)
  • An other than dishonorable discharge
  • Your net worth is $155,356.00 or below (2024). 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.
  • You're 65 years or older, or you're totally disabled not do to your service (and not do to any willful or persistent misconduct.), or you're a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability, or you're receiving Social Security Disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

 Net worth, includes your and your spouse's assets and annual income.

  • Assets include the fair market value of all your real and personal property, minus the amount of any mortgages you may have. “Real property” means any land and buildings you may own. Your personal property assets include any of these items; investments, furniture, boats etc...
  • Annual income is the money earned in a year from a job or from retirement or annuity payments. It includes any of these; salary or hourly wages, bonuses, commissions, overtime, tips etc...

Once VA determines you're totally disabled or 65 or older, and you qualify for the pension benefit, they will base the amount payable from the difference from your countable annual income and the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) set by Congress every year.


For example, for a single veteran;

MAPR amount (2024)      = $16,551.00

Annual countable income = $8,000.00

VA yearly pension benefit = $8,551.00 ($712.58 monthly amount)


If you're 65 or older and have limited or no income (and of course meet the other criteria), you automatically qualify for the pension benefit. If you're under 65 and totally disabled, VA will determine the individual evaluations of all of your disabilities just as they do with service-connected disabilities based on the rating schedule. If your evaluations combine to the schedular evaluation of 100%, you will be awarded the Pension benefit. If your disabilities do not combine to the 100% evaluation, but you have one disability evaluated at 60% or more, or have multiple disabilities with one being evaluated at 40% and the others combined with it bringing your total combined evaluation up to at least 70%, VA will then determine whether those disabilities render you unemployable. If they do, VA will award the Pension benefit. VA is really liberal in applying the IU criteria to Pension applicants because the Pension benefit is a needs based program.


Aid and attendance is a benefit paid in addition to the pension. The eligibility criteria are;

  • when the veteran requires the aid of another person to perform daily functions or;
  • the veteran is bedridden, or;
  • the veteran is a patient in a nursing home, or;
  • the veteran is blind, or so nearly blind (corrective vision of 5/200 or less).

Housebound benefit is also paid in addition to the monthly Pension when the following criteria are present;

  • the veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated at 100% and due to that disability the veteran is confined substantially to their residence, or
  • the veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated at 100% and another disability, or disabilities that are evaluated or combined to an additional 60%.

If you believe you're eligible for the Pension benefit, contact me for an assessment of your situation.

VAF 21P-527EZ
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U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs claims assistance for veterans worldwide. Accredited VA claims Agent pursuant 38 C.F.R. §14.629. © 2011-2024 Copyright - Kevin Janey. All rights reserved.