The VA provides a non-service-connected pension (click here for the payment rate tables) for wartime veterans with low incomes and who are over 64 years old, or to wartime veterans who are totally and permanently disabled for reasons not related to their military service. The pension is intended to provide a guaranteed minimum income for veterans who qualify.
For example: If the veteran has a countable income of $6000 per year with no deductible medical expenses and no dependents, in 2008 the VA would have provided $11,181 – $6000, or $5,181 paid in 12 equal monthly payments.
Wartime Veterans Pension Qualifications
A veteran who is eligible for the Wartime Veterans Pension may also be qualified for the Aid and Attendance or Housebound supplement. These supplements are are paid in addition to the basic pension, and provide a small additional income for persons who either need daily assistance with everyday living tasks or are substantially confined to their home.
A veteran can only be eligible for either Aid and Attendance or Housebound, not both.
Countable Income is a complex matter. For pension purposes, countable income is most sources of income received by the veteran or his/her dependents. This includes earnings, disability and retirement income, interest, dividends, rental income, net income from any business or farm, and normally any income from a dependent child. An example of an uncountable income is public assistance (such as SSI).
Additionally, unreimbursable medical expenses and educational expenses can be deducted from countable income. There are other specific incomes that are deductible, so if the “Countable Income” as you calculate it is even in the ballpark of the income rates, you should apply for the pension and report all income sources. The VA is required to deduct all income allowed by law.
Pension Eligibility Criteria for Wartime Veterans Pension
- the veteran was discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable, AND
- the veteran served at least 90 days of active military service 1 day of which was during a war time period. If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally the veteran must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty (There are exceptions to this rule), AND
- the veteran’s countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law (The yearly limit on income is set by Congress), AND
- the veteran is age 65 or older, OR,
- the veteran is permanently and totally disabled, not due to his/her own willful misconduct.
Aid and Attendance Eligibility
The veteran is eligible for a Pension, and:
- The veteran requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting himself/herself from the hazards of his/her daily environment, OR,
- The veteran is bedridden, in that his/her disability or disabilities requires that he/she remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment, OR,
- The veteran is a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, OR,
- The veteran is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
Wartime Veterans Pension and Housebound Eligibility
The veteran is eligible for a Pension, and:
- The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, he/she is permanently and substantially confined to his/her immediate premises, OR,
- The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability, or disabilities, evaluated as 60 percent or more disabling.
How to Apply for Wartime Veterans Pension
The NVF strongly recommends that you seek out the assistance of a Veteran Service Officer when filing a Wartime Veterans Pension claim. The VSO will assist you in filling out the paperwork, gathering the required documentation, and tracking the status of the claim at no cost. Most Veterans Organizations, like the VFW, American Legion, Order of the Purple Heart, etc. have VSOs. The veterans affairs departments for each state also have Veteran Service Officers. If you would like some assistance in finding a VSO near you, please call us at 888 777-4443.
You can apply for the Wartime Veterans Pension by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. If you have applied previously, you should use VA Form 21-527. If you have any of the following material, please attach it to your application:
- Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent, click here to apply for a replacement DD214)
- Dependency records (marriage & children’s birth certificates)
- Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports)
You can also use the VA’s online application. The VA’s benefits hotline number is 1-800-827-1000.
For more information about the Wartime Veterans Pension feel free to call us at 888-777-4443.