Veterans and Surviving Spouses – The VA May Owe You Money

Nearly 2 million veterans or their widows are missing out on as much as $22 billion a year in pensions, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has had only limited success in finding them. Widows are hardest hit. According to a VA estimate, only one in seven people who probably could qualify for the pension actually receive the monthly checks. A VA study said, that veterans generally “are completely unaware that the program exists.”

If you served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf War or are the surviving spouse of a veteran of one of those conflicts:

  • You may qualify for a VA Pension without having a service connected   disability .
  • You could receive a pension that could be as high as $1950 per month for a married couple or $1100 per month for a surviving spouse, all TAX FREE.
  • You may receive help to pay health insurance premiums, including Medicare Part B, or money to have friends or relatives provide home care services.

A third of all senior citizens in this country may qualify for this little known veterans  disability  income benefit called Pension. Pension is also called the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit. This benefit can pay up to $1,950 a month to qualifying veteran households to cover the cost of home care, assisted living or nursing home care. The income is paid in addition to all other household income to reimburse the family for their long term care medical costs. If younger than 65, the veteran must be totally disabled. If age 65 or older, there is no requirement for  disability . There is no  disability  requirement for a single surviving spouse.

There are estimated to be about 7.1 million living veterans over the age of 65 who served during World War II, Korea, Vietnam or the Gulf War. In addition there are approximately 4.4 million surviving spouses of these war veterans over 65. The veterans could be eligible for Pension and their surviving dependents may be eligible for Death Pension as well. To receive a Veterans Pension Benefit, a veteran must have served on active duty, at least 90 days, with at least one day during a period of war. There must be an honorable discharge.

There are about 11.5 million potential beneficiaries for VA pension benefits in this country. The Census Bureau estimates there are approximately 35 million seniors over the age of 65. Comparing those who could receive pension over the total number of seniors means that about 33% of all seniors could be eligible for this veterans benefit income. Yet, according to government census statistics, only about 4.7% of the 11.5 million or so seniors who could qualify are actually receiving Pension or Death Pension.

For more detailed information on the VA Pension benefit, including detailed charts and downloadable forms, please visit the Smart Consumer Group VA Pension Page