The Veterans Pension program is a benefit offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs to veterans who served during a time of war. To qualify for the Veterans Pension, veterans must meet income and net worth requirements, the limits of which are determined by Congress.
The current net worth limit is $138,489 (through November 30, 2022); this includes the net worth of your spouse but excludes the value of your home, vehicle(s), and most home appliances. If your remaining net worth is higher than this limit, you are not eligible for the Veterans Pension.
Are there other eligibility requirements for the Veterans Pension?
You must not have received a dishonorable discharge.
Furthermore, you must meet one of the following service requirements:
- Entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, served a minimum of 90 days, and served at least one day during a covered wartime period; or
- Entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and served a minimum of 24 months or your full period of active service, and served at least one day during a covered wartime period; or
- Entered active duty after October 16, 1981, as an officer, and have not served on active duty for the previous 24 months
Covered wartime periods include the Mexican Border period (1916–1917), World War I (1917–1918), World War II (1941–1946), the Korean conflict (1950–1955), the Vietnam War era (1955–1975), and the Gulf War (1990–present).
How much does the Veterans Pension provide?
Provided your net worth falls below the $138,489 limit, Veterans Pension benefit rates are based on your income and the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) set by Congress. Essentially, your annual income (including investments and retirement payments) is subtracted from the MAPR to determine your annual pension. This number is then divided by 12 and paid out monthly.
The MAPR is based on how many dependents you have, whether you are married to another veteran who qualifies for the Veterans Pension, and whether you are qualified for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits.
Note: Housebound benefits are available to those who spend the majority of time in their home due to a permanent disability. Aid and Attendance benefits are available to those who need help performing activities of daily living, are bedridden, stay in a nursing home, or have extremely limited eyesight. You cannot receive both Housebound and Aid and Attendance benefits at the same time.
For veterans with no dependents who do not qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits, the MAPR is $14,753. For two married veterans who do not qualify for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits, the MAPR is $19,320.
If (either) veteran qualifies for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits, the MAPR increases, as it does with each additional dependent.
You can check current rates for your situation on the VA’s website.
When reviewing pension claims, the VA will conduct a 36-month asset transfer look-back period. If the VA determines that a veteran transferred or sold an asset within the past three years to fall beneath the net worth limit, the veteran may be subject to a five-year penalty period during which they are ineligible for pension benefits. Veterans can reapply for pension benefits after the penalty period ends.
The VA will confirm each year with other government agencies that veterans receiving this benefit continue their eligibility for it. Depending on their findings, the VA has the right to reduce or discontinue a veteran’s pension. If a veteran’s pension benefits have been discontinued due to income or net worth requirements no longer being met (e.g., they received an inheritance or income from employment), they can apply to have them reinstated if and when they again meet the requirements.
How do you apply for the Veterans Pension?
There are several ways to apply for the Veterans Pension:
- You can apply online through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- You can apply in person at a VA regional office.
- You can submit VA Form 21P-527EZ by mail to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Pension Intake Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365
To complete your application, you will need to provide your Social Security number, military history, personal financial information and the financial information of your dependents, work history, bank account information, and medical information.
If you need help applying for the Veterans Pension, Navy Mutual can help. As an accredited Veterans Service Organization, our VSO representatives can help you apply for VA benefits.
For additional information on the Veterans Pension or other veteran’s benefits, or for help with an application or filing a claim, contact our Education and Veterans Services Department at (888) 298-4442.