Many of our aging population today are proud to call themselves Veterans. As Veterans they are not only entitled to our gratitude for their service, but also, in many cases, specific benefits. The Veterans Affairs (VA) Office offers a variety of benefits to eligible Veterans. Perhaps two of the most common and well known are the VA Hospital/Medical System and the VA Disability & Compensation Program. There are others to be sure such as the VA Home Loan Program, the VA Education Program (911 GI Bill) and various others. But perhaps one of the least known programs under the VA is the Pension Benefit Program.
First we want to explain what the Pension Benefit Program is not. The Pension Benefit Program does not provide for medical care or hospital care. Those services fall under the Hospital/Medical Programs. The Pension Benefit Program also does not provide for compensation for service connected injuries. Those issues fall under the Disability and Compensation Program.
The VA Pension Benefit Program was designed to provide supplemental income for wartime service veterans and their families. There are two categories of the Pension Benefit Program; the Veteran’s Pension and the Survivor’s Pension. The Veteran’s Pension provides a tax-free monthly payment for low-income Veterans who served during wartime. The Survivor’s Pension provides a tax-free monthly payment to the spouse of a deceased wartime Veteran, provided he/she has not remarried. The Survivor’s Pension may also, in some circumstances, provide a small monthly tax-free payment to the unmarried children of a deceased wartime Veteran.
The VA Pension Benefit Program provides for a tax-free monthly payment at three different levels (provided all other requirements are met). The first level is the Base VA Pension. Currently the maximum Base VA Pension for a single qualified Veteran is $1,072 tax-free each month. For a qualified surviving spouse the maximum amount is $719 tax-free each month. In the event the Veteran or his/her surviving spouse is Housebound, the maximum amount of the monthly payment is increased to $1,310 for the Veteran and $878 for the surviving spouse. If for some reason the Veteran or his/her surviving spouse is in need of Aid and Attendance, the maximum monthly amount is increased to $1,789 for the Veteran and $1,149 for a surviving spouse.
In the case of a married Veteran the maximum Base Pension amount is $1,404 per month. For a married Veteran who is Housebound, the maximum amount is $1,642 per month. If the married Veteran is in need of Aid and Attendance, the maximum monthly amount is $2,120.
Keep in mind that all of these pensions are tax-free! The Veteran simply needs to qualify. For many Veterans that’s where the process ends because they are told they do not qualify. While technically correct, that is not the entire answer but most Veterans aren’t aware of this and simply accept “no” as the answer provided they even know of the existence of the Pension Benefit Program. Fortunately, that is where we come into the picture. With proper planning, we can help almost any Veteran or surviving spouse of a Veteran obtain a Pension Benefit relatively quickly.
If you are a Veteran who served during wartime, age 65 or older, or are the spouse of a deceased wartime Veteran you are likely entitled to a VA Pension Benefit. Even if you are not over 65 but are disabled due to circumstances not related to your time in the service, you may still qualify.
CAUTION! Many VA service organizations and even many Elder and Estate Law attorneys are not aware of the methods we use to qualify a Veteran for a Veterans Pension Benefit. They have either not been exposed to the tools we use, don’t have the expertise to employ these tools or simply aren’t accredited by the VA to act on your behalf.
Attorney Matthew Donald is a Veteran. He retired as a Major from the Army and understands the needs of Veterans. Because of his personal passion for helping fellow Veterans, Matt immediately applied to the VA and became accredited by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to represent Veteran’s when dealing with the VA.
Attorney Jennifer Moore is a VA accredited attorney. Jennifer is very passionate about helping those in the community obtain the benefits they are entitled to.
If you are a Veteran, please do yourself a favor and contact us for a personalized consultation. We will help determine your initial eligibility, explain how to achieve complete eligibility and assist you with receiving your VA Pension Benefit.
Get the latest on legal topics that affect you and your family, office happenings, staff spotlights, workshop updates, and more in our free monthly newsletter.
We are pleased to offer a variety of educational workshops to the general public. Check out our workshop calendar and reserve your space today.