Brian Clymer, Attorney at Law

Benefits for Disabled Veterans Part I: Veteran Pension

There are two types of benefits that disabled veterans may qualify for through the Veterans Benefits Administration. While there are several differences between the two, a crucial difference is that Veteran Disability Compensation requires that the veteran's disabling condition be service-connected (related to their service), while Pension does not.

In circumstances where a veteran's disability is not service related, or where a veteran may have to spend years convincing the VA that his or her disability is service-connected, it is a good idea to explore applying for Pension.

There are three main eligibility requirements for Pension:

1) LIMITED RESOURCES REQUIREMENT -- Pension benefits are needs-based and to be eligible, your "countable" family income must fall below the yearly limit set by law. In Arizona, a veteran who is eligible for AHCCCS, food stamps, or SSI will generally meet this requirement.
2) WAR-TIME SERVICE REQUIREMENT -- Veterans must have at least 90 days of active duty, including one day during a wartime period. If the active duty occurred after September 7, 1980, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period that you were called up (with some exceptions).
3) AGE AND/OR DISABILITY REQUIREMENT -- To qualify for Pension a veteran must also be:

  • Age 65 or older with limited or no income, OR
  • Totally and permanently disabled, OR
  • A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  • Receiving Supplemental Security Income

You can read more about Veteran Pension here and you can file an application for Veteran Pension online at: https://www.vets.gov/pension/application/527EZ/introduction . 

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