Most veterans remain unaware that the VA can provide Veteran Pension to aging or disabled veterans even though the veteran’s disabilities are entirely unrelated to their time in service. In addition, a veteran eligible for non-service connected veteran pension may also be entitled to Special Monthly Pension if they are permanently housebound [housebound benefits] or in need of healthcare aid from another person [aid and attendance benefits]. A recent New York Times Article documented how “underused” these entitlements are.
There are five basic criteria for eligibility for non-service connected pension: (1) the veteran is discharged with a characterization of service above dishonorable; (2) the veteran served a period of 90 days during wartime; (3) the veteran must be of limited income; (4) the veteran must be permanently and totally disabled; and (5) the disabling condition must not be the result of willful misconduct.
Each of these five criteria are subject to a variety of provisions, presumptions, and exceptions. For example, a veteran is entitled to a presumption that they are permanently and totally disabled if: (1) the veteran is age 65 or older and the claim for pension is adjudicated after September 17, 2001; (2) the veteran is in a nursing home for long term care because of disability; (2) the veteran is determined disabled before the Social Security Administration; or (4) the veteran is rendered unemployable as a result of the disability.
If you have any questions about VA disability compensation or pension entitlements, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation at sdirector@FRE-L.com or (732) 382-6070.