The VA pays a pension to disabled veterans who are not able to work. The pension is also available for surviving spouses and children. This pension is available whether or not your disability is service-connected, but to be eligible you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must not have been discharged under dishonorable conditions.
  • If you enlisted before September 7, 1980, you must have served 90 days or more of active duty with at least one day during a period of war. Anyone who enlisted after September 7, 1980, however, must serve at least 24 months or the full period for which that person was called to serve.
  • You must be permanently and totally disabled, or age 65 or older. You will need a letter from your doctor to prove that you are disabled.

In addition, your income must be below the yearly limit set by law; called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).

 

The MAPR for 2010 are below:

Veteran with no dependents

$11,830

Veteran with a spouse or a child

$15,493

Housebound veteran with no dependents

$14,457

Housebound veteran with one dependent

$18,120

Additional children

$2,020 for each child

Your pension depends on your income. The VA pays the difference between your income and the MAPR. The pension is usually paid in 12 equal payments.

 

Example: John is a single veteran and has a yearly income of $6,406. His pension benefit would be $5,424 (11,830 – 6,406). Therefore, he would get $452 a month.

Your income does not include welfare benefits or Supplemental Security Income. It also does not include unreimbursed medical expenses actually paid by the veteran or a member of his or her family. This can include Medicare, Medigap, and long-term care insurance premiums; over-the-counter medications taken at a doctor's recommendation; long-term care costs, such as nursing home fees; the cost of an in-home attendant that provides some medical or nursing services; and the cost of an assisted living facility. These expenses must be unreimbursed. This means that insurance must not pay the expenses. The expenses should also be recurring this means they should recur every month.

 

Aid and attendance. A veteran who needs the help of an attendant may qualify for additional help on top of the disability pension benefit. The veteran needs to show that he or she needs the help of an attendant on a regular basis. A veteran who lives in an assisted living facility is presumed to need aid and attendance.

A veteran who meets these requirements will get the difference between his or her income and the MAPR below (2010 figures):

 

Veteran who needs aid and attendance and has no dependents

$19,736

Veteran who needs aid and attendance and has one dependent

$23,396

 

David Wingate has written a FREE HANDBOOK on Veteran’s Benefits, if you desire a copy please visit the Senior Life Care Planning’s website or email at info@seniorlcp.com, or call the Frederick Office at 301 663 9230.

Additionally, for more information and articles on VA Benefits go to our Senior LCP's Veteran's Blog

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