Topics on this page
- What are Veteran Pension Benefits?
- Income Eligibility
- Asset Eligibility
- Sources of Law
What are Veteran Pension Benefits?
The VA's pension program provides monthly benefit payments to certain wartime Veterans with financial need, and their survivors. A full list of benefit rates for veterans can be found at the VA Pension Rate Table
Many figures used to calculate Veterans Pension benefits are revised annually by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the federal agency that administers the program. These figures are usually updated in October and can be found on the VBA website.
Generally, you must have 90 days or more of service of which at least 1 day must have occurred during a period of war, and you must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.
You must be 65 or older, or have a non-service related disability that VA evaluates as permanent and total. For VA pension purposes, permanent and total means it is not likely that you will be able to maintain a substantially gainful job. Unemployability and age are factors considered in VA's eligibility decision.
For more information see the Department of Veteran's Affairs webpage on Veterans Pension Benefits.
Veterans pension benefits are need-based. In order to be eligible for a pension benefits, a veteran’s yearly income must be below a certain, pre-specified amount listed on the VA Pension Rate Table. Pension benefit amounts will be reduced by the veteran’s other income.
Pension benefits have a net worth limitation. The net worth limit to qualify for a Veterans Pension as of December 1, 2019, is $129,094.
The VA will also examine your financial transactions for the last 3 years to determine if you transferred assets at below market value to qualify for benefits. This 3 year look back period applies to pension claims made after October 18, 2018.
- You can apply on the VA's website.
- You can also apply by mail or in person by completing an Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
The Board of Veterans Appeals hears appeals from VA decisions. See the Board's "How do I Appeal" pamphlet for a description of the process.
Sources of Law
- Federal Law: 38 United States Code, Chapter 15 - Pension for non-service connected disability
- Federal regulations: 38 Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1