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Eligibility for Enhance Pension Benefit
 
Veterans with low incomes who are either permanently and totally disabled, or age 65 and older, may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. The veteran’s discharge must have been under conditions other than dishonorable and the disability must be for reasons other than the veteran’s own willful misconduct.  Payments are made to bring the veteran’s total income, including other retirement or Social Security income, to a level set by Congress.

 

Disability Pension
 
The Veteran's Administration refers to this pension as a "disability pension"which for veteran's under the age of 65 eligibility is based on the health needs of the veteran. However all veteran's regardless of health may apply for pension benefits when they reach the age of 65.  In addition to the veteran's base pension veterans (and their surviving spouse and dependent children or sometimes call "Death Pension Benefit") may qualify for additional health related payments.  This increase in the base pension is often referred to as Aid & Attendance and is added to the base pension if the veteran qualifies.  A veteran's spouse may qualify for Aid and Attendance pension benefit even if veteran is still alive and the veteran does not need medical assistance.

 

Income Eligibility 

Some advisors discourage veterans to apply for a pension by stressing that the benefit is only for veteran's with little income.  While there is a somewhat complicated calculation for determining eligibility many veteran's, especially those veterans requiring assisted living, aid and attendance or in a nursing home often can qualify as the cost of such assistance is offset against any income the veteran may be receiving.  In many cases the veteran's entire income from all sources (social security, company pension, individual retirement accounts etc.) may go to pay the veteran's expenses.   In that case the veteran's countable income would be zero and the veteran would be eligibible for the maxium pension benefit.

Benefit Calculator

Click here for FY2012 Benefits Calculator

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2012 VA Improved Pension - Veterans Rates

Status of Veteran's Family Situation
and Caretaking Needs

Maximum Annual Rate

Veteran without dependents

$12,256

Veteran with one dependent

$16,051

Veteran permanently housebound, no dependents

$14,978

Veteran permanently housebound, one dependent

$18,773

Veteran needing regular aid and attendance, no dependents

$20,447

Veteran needing regular aid and attendance, one dependent

$24,239

Two veterans married to one another

$16,051

Increase for each additional dependent child

$2,093

 
Your countible income (income less deductible medical and care expenses) can not exceed the amounts above.
Your countible income will be offset against the maximum amounts above to determine the amount to be paid by the VA.