In order to help veterans and their families cope with the financial challenges they face, the VA offers supplemental income through veterans’ pension and survivors’ pension programs.
Veterans’ pensions are monthly payments available to low-income veterans who have served during active wartimes. A veteran must generally have served at least 90 days on active duty, with at least one day during a wartime period.
These wartime periods are as follows:
- World War I (April 6, 1917—November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990—through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation).
At least one day of this service must be during a wartime period. Your monthly family income must also be less than the amount set by Congress. If you and your family earn more than this amount, you will not receive benefits even if you meet the other conditions.
In order to be eligible for pension benefits, you must also meet the following requirements:
- Discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions
- Served 90 days or more of active military duty
- Meet income requirements (varies each year)
- Be at least 65 years of age or disabled
RECEIVING BOTH SERVICE-CONNECTED DISABILITY COMPENSATION AND PENSION BENEFITS
Veterans cannot receive monthly compensation from both a VA non-service connected pension and awarded service-connected disability compensation. If you receive a VA pension and are awarded service-connected benefits, the VA will pay you the benefit that offers the greater amount of compensation.
To apply for a veterans’ pension, you will need to complete VA Form 21-527EZ and submit it to your regional VA benefit office.
The rates for veterans’ pension changes each year and may be adjusted for inflation. Additionally, the amount a veteran may receive could increase or decrease if they have a dependent, were married to another veteran or if they only need to provide for themselves.
The survivors’ pension is available for the surviving spouse and minor children of a deceased veteran. The veteran must have served during a war time period, and cannot have been dishonorably discharged.
The survivors’ pension is only available to families who are under the income and net worth limits set by Congress, and will end if a surviving spouse remarries or a child reaches the age of majority. The rate for a survivor’s pension may also vary based on the number of dependents they have.
To apply for survivors’ pensions, you must complete VA Form 21-534EZ and return it to your local regional benefit office.
For more information, visit Pension on the VA’s website.