By David Austin
September 7, 2018
What some veterans and family members don't know is that all non-reimbursed medical costs are deductible in calculating income. For example, for veterans who served during wartime and later became disabled and require aid either at home or in an institution, the VA can provide a pension supplement to bring net annual income up to $20,795 for a single veteran or $24,652 for a veteran and spouse.
If you are a veteran who is 65 years-old and older, or permanently and totally disabled you may be eligible for the VA Non-service Connected Disability Pension (NSC).
The VA NSC pension is a program that provides financial support to wartime veterans with a limited income. The amount payable under this program depends on the type and amount of income the veteran and his/her family members receive from other sources. Monthly payments are made to bring a veteran's total annual income (including other retirement and Social Security income) to an established level.
You may be eligible for the NSC pension if you were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions, and you served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time*, and your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law, and you are permanently and totally disabled, OR you are age 65 or older.
See a Veterans Service Officer for more details.
*Note: Anyone who enlists after September 7, 1980, generally must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which called or ordered to active duty. Service from August 2, 1990 to present is considered to be a period of war (Gulf War) in addition to other periods of war such as World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments
The Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments (CRDP) is designed to remove the offset of VA and DoD payments. The program provides a 10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay from receiving VA disability compensation for members who have a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater. Members retired under disability provisions must have 20 years of service.
Calculating The Survivors Pension
Unsuspecting survivors often experience shock and disappointment when they realize how much money the VA Survivor Pension actually pays.
A VA Survivors Pension offers monthly payments to eligible surviving spouses and unmarried dependent children of wartime veterans who meet certain income and net worth limits set by Congress in any given year.
Eligibility for Spouse
A surviving spouse may be eligible for this benefit if he/she hasn’t remarried after the veteran’s death, and if the deceased veteran didn’t receive a dishonorable discharge and the veteran’s military service meets at least one of the requirements listed below.
At least one of these must be true. The Veteran:
- Entered active duty on or before September 7, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active military service, with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period, or
- Entered active duty after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions), with at least 1 day during a covered wartime period or
- Was an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn’t previously served on active duty for at least 24 months
And the following must be true for the surviving spouse:
Surviving spouse’s family income and net worth meet certain limits set by Congress. Net worth equals the value of everything owned by the surviving spouse (except house, car, and most home furnishings), minus any debt owed.
Eligibility for Child
A surviving child may be eligible for this benefit if the child is unmarried and meet at least one of the requirements listed below.
At least one of the following must be true:
- Under age 18, or
- Under age 23 and attending a VA-approved school, or
- Unable to care for self due to a disability that happened before age 18
The Following Periods of War Allow for Qualification
Under current law, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognize these wartime periods to decide eligibility for pension benefits:
- Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916 - April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
- World War I (April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918)
- World War II (December 7, 1941 - December 31, 1946)
- Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 - January 31, 1955)
- Vietnam War era (February 28, 1961 - May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975, for veterans who served outside of the Republic of Vietnam.)
- Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)
How To Apply for VA Survivors Pension
You can apply in any of the following ways:
1. Work With A Trained Professional
You can work with a trained professional (e.g., Veterans Service Officer, accredited agent, accredited attorney) called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA survivors pension benefits.
Use the direct upload tool through AccessVA to upload your form online.
3. By Mail
Fill out an Application for DIC, Death Pension, and/or Accrued Benefits (VA Form 21-534EZ).
Mail your completed application to this address:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Pension Intake Center
P.O. Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365
4. In Person
Take your VA Survivors Pension application to a VA Regional Office (VARO) near you.