Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Non-Service Connected VA Pension for veterans?

A. The Non-Service Connected VA Pension is a benefit paid to wartime veterans who have limited or no income and who are age 65 or older, or, if under age 65, who are permanently and totally disabled. Veterans who are more seriously disabled may qualify for Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. These are benefits that are paid in addition to the basic pension rate. If qualified for Aid and Attendance, the benefit could be up to $2,120/month for a Married Veteran, $1,788/month for a Single Veteran or $1,149/month for a Surviving Spouse. All benefits are Tax-Free.

Q. Who is Eligible?

A. Generally, you may be eligible if you meet ALL of the following:

  • you were discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable
  • you served at least 90 days of active military service “1” day of which was during a war time period.
  • your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law.
  • you are age 65 or older, or if under age 65, you are permanently and totally disabled, not due to your own willful misconduct.

Periods of War:

  1. World War I. April 6, 1917, through November 11, 1918, inclusive. If the veteran served with the United States military forces in Russia, the ending date is April 1, 1920. Service after November 11, 1918 and before July 2, 1921 is considered World War I service if the veteran served in the active military, naval, or air service after April 5, 1917 and before November 12, 1918.
  2. World War II. December 7, 1941, through December 31, 1946, inclusive. If the veteran was in service on December 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.
  3. Korean conflict. June 27, 1950, through January 31, 1955, inclusive.
  4. Vietnam era. The period beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. The period beginning on August 5, 1964, and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in all other cases.
  5. Persian Gulf War. August 2, 1990, through date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law.

Q. What is the Death Pension for a Surviving Spouse?

A. Death Pension is a needs based benefit paid to an unremarried surviving spouse, or an unmarried child of a deceased wartime veteran.

Q. How do I know if I’m eligible as a Surviving Spouse?

A. You may be eligible if you meet ALL of the following:

  • the deceased veteran was discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions
  • the deceased veteran served at least 90 days of active military service “1” day of which was during a war time period.
  • If the veteran entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally he or she must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty
  • you are the surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased veteran
  • your countable income is below a yearly limit set by law

Q. Are there age requirements, or restrictions for surviving spouse?

A. An unremarried spouse can be any age.

A child must be ANY of the following:

  • under age 18
  • in school and under age 23
  • was incapable of self support before the age of 18.

Q. What are Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits?

A. Aid and Attendance (A&A)is a benefit paid in addition to the monthly pension. This benefit may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A veteran may be eligible for A & A when:

  1. The claimant(veteran or surviving spouse)requires the aid of another person in order to perform personal functions required in everyday living, such as bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting themselves from the hazards of their daily environment OR,
  2. The claimant is bedridden, in that their disability requires that they remain in bed apart from any prescribed course of convalescence or treatment OR,
  3. The claimant is residing in a nursing home, assisted living,group home, adult day care, or similar facility due to physical or mental incapacity OR,
  4. The claimant is blind, or so nearly blind as to have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less, in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
Housebound is paid in addition to monthly pension. Like A&A, Housebound benefits may not be paid without eligibility to pension. A claimant my be eligible for Housebound benefits when:
  1. The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, due to such disability, they are permanently and substantially confined to their immediate premises, OR,
  2. The veteran has a single permanent disability evaluated as 100-percent disabling AND, another disability , or disabilities, evaluated as 60 per cent or more disabling.

Q. What is countable income for veterans pension eligibility purposes?

A. This includes gross family income from most sources. It includes earnings, disability and retirement payments, interest and dividends, and net income from farming or business.

Q. What about net worth?

A. Net worth means the net value of the assets of the veteran and dependents. It includes such assets as bank accounts, CD’s, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and any real estate other than the personal residence and a reasonable lot area. There is no set limit on how much net worth a veteran and dependents can have, but net worth cannot be excessive. Each case is decided individually. The life expectancy of the claimant, the available income, and the cost of unreimbursed medical and care costs are taken into consideration.

Q. Are there any exclusions to income or deductions that may be made to reduce countable income?

A. Yes, there are exclusions. The following are examples of what may be excluded:

  • Public assistance such as Supplemental Security Income is not considered income.
  • Many other specific sources of income are not considered income; however, all income should be reported. The VA will exclude any income that the law allows.
  • A portion of unreimbursed medical expenses paid by the claimant after the VA receives the claimant’s pension claim may be deducted. (These are expenses you have paid for medical services or products for which you will not be reimbursed by Medicare or private medical insurance.)
  • Certain other expenses, such as a veteran’s education expenses, and in some cases, a portion of the educational expenses of a child over 18 are deductible.
  • Final expenses of the veteran’s last illness and burial paid by the surviving spouse or eligible children.
  • Neither the veteran nor the surviving spouse may receive both Aid and Attendance and Housebound benefits at the same time.

Q. If the veteran is already receiving benefits for a service connected disability, can the veteran receive a non-service connected pension too?

A. You cannot receive service connected compensation and a non-service connected pension at the same time. However, if you apply for pension and are awarded the benefit, the DVA will pay whichever benefit is the greater amount.

Q. Who can be a caregiver?

A. If a claimant is rated by the VA as qualifying for Aid and Attendance, caregivers may be family members, other than a spouse, and do NOT have to be licensed. In order to have the family member/caregiver services count as an “Allowable Medical Expense”, the family member MUST be paid for their services. The DVA will require written documentation that services are performed and compensation made. This can be a copy of checks or receipts for caregiver services. Outside Care Agencies may also be used as caregiver.

Q. Will the cost of residency in an Assisted Living Community, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing or Group Home be counted as an “Allowable Medical Expense”?

A. Generally, the cost of living in these communities will be counted as an “Allowable Medical Expense” IF they are providing some level of medical service, such as medication supervision, help with bathing, grooming, toileting, ambulation, etc.

Q. Can I receive this benefit if I am living in my own home or a retirement community?

A. As long as there is substantiated need as determined by your physician Form 21-2680 and you are using the services of a Caregiver.

Q. If Medicaid is paying for my care, can I still receive the VA benefit?

A. Yes, however, the benefit amount is $90.00 a month.

Q. How long does the process take?

A. Once the necessary documentation is compiled and submitted to the DVA, it generally takes 4-6 months to receive approval, sometimes longer. However, the claimant will receive the benefit retroactive to the first of the month following submission to the DVA. Benefits are received monthly by direct deposit just like Social Security. The VA has established the “Fully Developed Claims” program which can greatly shorten the processing ti “Fully Developed Claim” means everything the VA needs to process the claim comes to the VA at one time, in one claim. Read more about the VA’s Fully Developed Claim.

Q. Does the claimant have to reapply every year?

A. After the benefit has been granted, each year an “Eligibility Verification Report” may be mailed to the address of record. This is a recap of the information submitted for the year ended and is used to determine the benefit for the upcoming year. If the amount the claimant pays for medical expenses changes, or they are no longer paying for care, you must contact the DVA immediately. If you don’t report changes, the DVA may pay you too much and you would have to pay back the money.

Q. What do I need to do to apply?

A. On the Home Page of our website,, you can “Check Eligibility” by answering the Eligibility Questions, enter your contact information, email address, and Submit. The proper forms and instructions will be sent to the email address listed. You can complete the forms online and print or print out the entire packet and complete manually. When completed, mail to the address in the packet. We are available for support at our toll-free number, 1-888-319-1117 or email at

Q. How can I get a certified copy of the military separation papers or DD214?

A. Certified copies of a veteran’s military separation papers or DD214 may be requested online at or by completing Form 180 and mailing to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO. Form 180 is included in all packets provided by answering the Eligibility Questions. The forms will be emailed to the email address you provide.