You may be wondering, what is the difference between a pension program and a normal disability compensation payment? A compensation payment is a monthly allowance given to a veteran whose disability is hindering their ability to maintain their previous standard of living. A pension is paid to a veteran who is 65 years old or older and has little or no income and is totally and permanently disabled.
Who is Eligible for the Veterans Pension Program?
Generally, you may be eligible if:
- You were discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable,
- You served at least 90 days of active military service and at least 1 day was during a war time period. If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty and at least 1 day was during a war time period. (There are exceptions to this rule.),
- Your income for VA purposes is below the maximum annual pension rate set by Congress,
- You are age 65 or older, OR, you are permanently and totally disabled, not due to your own willful misconduct, OR, you are a patient in a nursing home, OR, you are receiving Social Security disability benefits.
Offset for VA Disability Compensation
Beware that if you are receiving a VA Pension and are entitled to VA Disability Compensation, the VA will offset one against the other. This means that you cannot collect the money for both. The VA typically determines which benefit is the greater and gives you that one. If you are already receiving VA Disability Compensation and are considering making a VA Pension claim, just beware that if the amount of your disability compensation is greater than the Pension amount may not be any financial gain in filing the Pension claim.
Aid and Attendance or Housebound Benefits
If a pension is not enough to fully support the veteran, Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits may also be given in addition to the pension. Aid and Attendance (A&A) is a special or enhanced monthly benefit paid in conjunction with the basic pension plan. The requirements to receive this special aid are met when the veteran requires the constant presence and help of another individual to perform basic daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, eating, personal protection, or, should a prosthetic limb be present, the adjustment of such. A separate condition is if an individual’s disability requires them to be bedridden for treatment. Should a veteran be a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical ailment, they too may qualify for this special payment.
The second type of benefit, the Housebound payment, is very similar to A&A. It is an allowance given in addition to the basic payment plan. In order to qualify to receive Housebound, a veteran must have a single permanent disability that has been given a rating of 100 percent. Because of the severity of this disability, the individual is entirely confined to the immediate premises. The second condition that meets eligibility requirements is if a veteran has one disability that receives a 100 percent rating and a second disability that has at least a 60 percent rating.
Bosley & Bratch welcomes you to contact our veterans disability attorneys to talk about your situation and how we can help.