Fact Sheet — Understanding the Veterans Pension Benefit (Commonly Called Aid and Attendance)

Why is it important for government agencies, care providers or eldercare advisers to know about this Pension?

The national care planning Council estimates that approximately 11.5 million seniors — about 33% of all people over 65 — could qualify for Pension or Death Pension by meeting the tests outlined in this fact sheet.  That’s how many war veterans or their surviving spouses or their living spouses there are in this country.  Unfortunately, few people know how to get this benefit and currently only about 543,000 individuals are actually receiving it.  This represents only 4.7% of those who could be eligible.

What is Pension?

Improved Pension and Death Pension are disability income programs available to veterans or to the single surviving spouses of deceased veterans.  The veteran had to have served on active duty at least 90 days with one of those days during a period of war.  Service in combat is not required, only that the veteran was in the service during wartime and was discharged honorably.  Charts showing the available amount of income and the dates for wartime service are included below.

There is a sister benefit to Pension called Compensation.  This is for veterans who are disabled because of injuries or illnesses incurred while on active duty.  Compensation is generally the more desirable benefit for a number of reasons we will not go into here.  A veteran household cannot receive Pension and Compensation at the same time.  A decision must be made as to which benefit is better and the veteran must choose only that benefit.

Period of War

Beginning and Ending Dates

World War II December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975; for veterans who served “in country” before August 5, 1964, February 28, 1961 through May 7, 1975
Gulf War August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation

In order to receive the benefit, a veteran household must meet the criteria above as well as meeting an income and an asset test and, in most cases, a medical needs test. 

Think you may qualify?  Contact Fredrick Niemann today.

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