Veterans Pension Can Give Wartime Vets a Boost

veterans pensionAs elder law attorneys, we have a thorough understanding of government benefits for seniors, and this includes veterans.

Most people have heard of the retirement pension that career service members can receive after 20 years of service. The amount that you would receive will increase if you stay in the service for longer periods.

This is a great benefit that allows veterans to retire in comfort. Retirees will receive a pension and a Social Security benefit, and many military service members contribute to the Thrift Savings Plan. This is the federal government’s version of a 401(k) plan.

In addition to this retirement pension, there is another benefit that is simply called the Veterans Pension. This pension can make a difference in the lives of wartime veterans, and we will explain the details in this post.

Length of Service Requirement

Most pensions of any kind come as a reward for long years of service, but the Veterans Pension is in a different category. The minimum requirement for veterans that began their stint before September 8, 1980, is 90 days of total service with at least one day of wartime service.

For people who started after this date, the requirement is at least 24 months with a single day of service when the country was at war. This benefit is only available to veterans that did not receive dishonorable discharges.

Age, Disability, and Financial Need

Veterans who meet the length of service requirement and are at least 65 years old qualify for the benefit, and veterans of any age who are permanently and totally disabled are eligible.

This pension is intended for veterans with some modicum of financial need, so there is an asset limit. Traditionally, decisions were made on a case-by-case basis, and there was no hard dollar amount.

In October of 2018, this changed when a legislative measure was enacted. There is now an asset limit that is tied to the Medicaid Community Spouse Resource Allowance. This is the amount that a healthy spouse can retain when their spouse is using Medicaid to pay for nursing home care.

The net worth limit for the Veterans Pension in 2024 is $155,356, which is slightly higher than the Community Spouse Resource Allowance.

One motor vehicle is not counted, and a home is not considered to be a countable asset. The evaluators will not take personal effects and household belongings into consideration.

Another change that was included in the legislation that set a hard net worth limit was a three-year look back. Veterans can potentially divest themselves of assets to qualify for this benefit, but the divestitures must be completed at least three years before the application is submitted.

Potential Monthly Benefits

In addition to the standard Veterans Pension, there is also an Aid and Attendance designation for veterans who need help with their activities of daily living, and there is a Housebound benefit.

Through November 30 of this year, the maximum annual benefit for a single veteran who qualifies for the standard pension is $16,551.

A veteran who qualifies for the Aid and Attendance version can receive as much as $27,609 in 2024, and the maximum Housebound benefit is $20,226.

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Need Help Now?

If you have already learned enough to know that you should work with a lawyer to put a plan in place, we can help. You can call us at 860-548-1000 to request a consultation at our Westport or Glastonbury, Connecticut estate planning offices, and you can alternately use our contact form to send us a message.


Diana O'Rourke, Estate Planning Attorney
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