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2020 General Qualifications for Non-Service Connected
Veteran's Pension & Survivors Pension  

  • Veteran must have served at least ninety days active duty with one day of the ninety during a qualified war period (ninety days must generally be consecutive, with some exceptions).
  • Veteran must have had an “other than dishonorable discharge”.
  • Age 65 years old or are permanently disabled.
  • Claimant’s physician must declare him/her as housebound and in need of assistance from another individual, which may include services offered by assisted living.
  • Claimant’s household out-of-pocket yearly medical expenses must exceed or come close to his/her total yearly household gross income (total yearly cost of assisted living is typically considered a medical expense.
  • You must need assistance with at least 2 activities of daily living such as bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting, or protection from the hazards of your daily environment. There needs to be adequate medical evidence that you cannot function completely on your own.
  • To qualify for Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension the applicant must be receiving and paying for care, and need financial assistance for in-home care, or to pay for assisted living or skilled nursing facility.
  • Widowed spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of the veteran’s death, unless the separation was due to medical or military reasons (there may be some exceptions related to separations due to abuse).
  • Veterans cannot receive both VA disability compensation and the Veterans Pension. However, they can receive the higher benefit of the two programs.
  • The Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension can be used to pay a family member as a caregiver except for their spouse. The VA allows beneficiaries to deduct their care expenses from their income and payments to family members are considered deductible care expenses. Beneficiaries then receive an increased pension benefit equal to the amount they have paid their family member for care.
  • There are no charges to apply or enroll in a VA pension. Veteran’s benefit advisors are prohibited by law from charging their clients for their assistance with the application. However, they may charge clients in the structuring of their financial assets in preparation for the application. 
  • 3-year look back at finances required. 

 2020 Maximum Pension Rates

Single Veteran $1,911 Per Month or $22,939 Per Year

Surviving Spouse $1,278 Per Month or $15,339 Per Year

Married Veteran $2,266 Per Month or $27,195 Per Year

Two Veterans Married $3,032 Per Month or $36,387 Per Year

Once awarded the pension or housebound status, a veteran may obtain free medications, medical equipment, incontinence supplies, glasses, and hearing aids from the VA hospital/clinic via U.S. mail without going to the VA clinic or hospital. A separate application must be made through the health care system.

Eligible Wartime Periods:

· World War I: May 9, 1916 to November 11, 1918

· World War II: December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946

· Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955

· Vietnam Era: August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 (In country before August 5, 1964 – February 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975)

· Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation

Military Qualification:

· Army
· Navy
· Air Force
· Marines
· Merchant Marines
· Coast Guard

**Note: Each VA claim is unique, and the above criteria is generic in nature and may not be applicable to each claimant.

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