In addition to the retirement pension that veterans can receive after 20 years of service, there is another benefit that is simply called the Veterans Pension. It is not tied to retirement after a long career in the military, and it can be of great assistance to qualified seniors.
Former service members that were not dishonorably discharged that are 65 years of age or older, or permanently and totally disabled, may be eligible for this pension.
There is a length of service requirement, but it is relatively modest. For veterans that began their active duty after September 7, 1980, the requirement is at least 24 months with one day served during a time of war.
If you started serving prior to September 8, 1980, the overall length of service requirement is just 90 days of active duty. Officers that began their tour after October 16, 1981, may be eligible for the benefit.
The Veterans Pension is for former service members that can prove that they have some level of financial need. Prior to October of 2018, there was no set asset limit. There was a general $80,000 guideline, but decisions were made on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances.
Now, there is a hard asset limit, and it stands at $130,773 through November 30th of this year. There are annual adjustments to account for inflation, so the figure will be slightly higher next year.
Your primary residence is not a countable asset, and one motor vehicle is not counted. The items that you have in your home that would not be moved if you relocated, such as your appliances, are non-countable assets.
The annual income that you bring in is added to your countable tangible assets, so this is another consideration.
Another change that was instituted in 2018 was the installation of a three-year look back period. Prior to its introduction, you could potentially give assets to your loved ones to stay under the asset limit and gain eligibility for the pension without any waiting period.
Now, you have to complete all divestitures at least three years before you apply for the Veterans Pension.
Most senior citizens in the United States will need help with their activities of daily living, and many elders receive in-home care from professional home health aides. Medicare does not pay for this type of assistance, and custodial care is quite expensive.
The standard Veterans Pension is available to qualified veterans that do not need help with their activities of daily living. However, there is an Aid and Attendance Veterans Pension that is available to qualified veterans that cannot satisfy their day-to-day needs on their own.
There is also a Housebound designation for former members of the armed services that are largely confined to their homes. It should be noted that you cannot qualify for both the Housebound and the Aid and Attendance versions of the benefit.
2021 Veterans Pension Rates
A single veteran that is fully capable of independent living can receive a maximum benefit of $13,931 a year. The figure is $17,024 for a Housebound eligible veteran, and the maximum Aid and Attendance benefit for a single person is $23,238.
A veteran that is eligible for the standard pension that has one dependent can receive a maximum benefit of $18,243 annually. The max Housebound benefit for a veteran with a dependent is $21,337, and it is $27,549 for an Aid and Attendance eligible vet.
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