Understanding VA Pensions

The Veterans’ Affairs pension program gives monthly benefit payments to certain wartime Veterans, along with their survivors, who have a financial need. As both veterans and survivors are thinking of applying for these benefits, there is some important information they should know about the pension program and the organizations offering assistance with their applications.

What are Pension Benefits?

Pension is a needs-based benefit that is paid to a wartime Veteran and his or her survivor(s). A veteran may be eligible if he or she:

  • Was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, AND
  • Served 90 days or more of active military, naval or air service with at least 1 day during the period of war, AND
  • His or her countable income is below the maximum annual pension rate, AND
  • Meets the net worth limitations, AND
  • Is aged 65 or above, OR is shown via evidence to have a permanent and total non-service-connected disability, OR is a patient in a nursing home, OR is receiving Social Security disability benefits.

Those veterans who entered active duty after September 7, 1980 have to also have served at last two years of active duty service. If the total length of service is less than 24 months, the Veteran has to have completed his or her entire tour of active duty.