If you, or a loved one has served in the military, you may be qualified for a veteran’s pension. The VA Pension program can help veterans and their spouses pay for assisted living home care, nursing homes and independent home care. Veteran pension programs are a way to help veterans and their loved ones enjoy the golden years of their lives.

The program does not apply to all veterans. Recently, the rules governing eligibility changed. While this does not affect anyone who is already enrolled in the program, the new qualifications are extremely important to understand for anyone wondering about enrollment.

Eligibility

According to the Academy of VA Pension Planners, the veteran must have served during a qualified war period. These periods are:

  • WWII (12/07/1941- 12/31/1946)
  • Korean War (06/27/1950 – 01/31/1995)
  • Vietnam War (02/28/1961 – 08/05/1964)
  • Persian Gulf War (08/02/1990 – TBD)

The veteran must have served for at least one day during one of these periods with at least 90 consecutive days of total service. You must have also had a general or honorable discharge.

The eligibility for a VA Pension can also extend to spouses and widows of qualified veterans. Surviving spouses only qualify if they have been married to the veteran for at least a year before their death and have never remarried. Divorcees also forego their VA Pension qualification at the time of a divorce.

A note on assets

One of the biggest changes with regards to the new rules of eligibility is a new focus on those struggling with their finances. The program has shifted to act more like Medicaid qualifications.

A veteran couple must have less than $80k in their direct name, and a surviving spouse less than $40k. The house that the veteran and his spouse live in is excluded from the asset calculation. While you may feel that you have too many assets to qualify for this program, the AAVP says that this is rarely the case, and recommends you speak with a VA accredited attorney for guidance.

Enhanced Veteran Pension

If you’ve already qualified and are receiving a VA Pension, you may be leaving some benefits on the table. Enhanced VA Pensions apply to those who are housebound, or those who require “aid and attendance” in their daily lives.

If you’ve served our country in a war, you shouldn’t be struggling with finances, or be forced to watch your savings dwindle due to medical expenses. Take care of yourself and your loved ones, by utilizing programs designed for your benefit.