In 2023, VA pension rates will increase by 8.7%, the same Cost of Living Increase recently announced by the Social Security Administration. VA pensions include a Veterans Basic Pension, Survivors Pension and the Aid and Attendance benefit.
The new Aid and Attendance enhanced pension rates for 2023 are:
|Surviving Spouse||$1,432 Monthly / $17,184 per year|
|Single Veteran||$2,229 Monthly / $26,748 per year|
|Married Veteran||$2,642 Monthly / $31,704 per year|
|Two Vets Married||$3,536 Monthly / $42,432 per year|
About VA Pensions
The VA provides pensions to low-income veterans and surviving spouses. The VA pension is called a Veterans Pension for a living veteran and a Survivors Pension for the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran. To qualify for a VA pension, the veteran must have served 90 consecutive days with at least one day during a war period established by Congress, received an honorable or other than dishonorable discharge, and:
- Be at least 65 years of age, or
- Have a permanent and total disability, or
- Be a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability, or
- Get Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.
Eligible Periods of War
Eligible wartime periods for a VA pension and enhanced pension have been determined by Congress. These war periods are:
World War II: (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
Korean War: (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
Vietnam War: (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975, for veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam, including service on U.S. military vessels off the coast of Vietnam. August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975, for active duty military personnel stationed anywhere in the world.)
Gulf War: (August 2, 1990 – to present) Anyone who served in the Gulf War beginning on August 2, 1990, is considered a veteran and eligible for veterans benefits. This period Includes Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Enduring and Operation Iraqi Freedom. At some time in the future, Congress or a Presidential Proclamation will establish the ending time for this war period.
A veteran can combine periods of active duty to meet the 90-day active duty requirement but the combined service periods must be during war time.
Sometimes a veteran will serve in peacetime and wartime during the same period. If the veteran has served at least 90 days of active duty, with at least one day during an eligible period of war, he or she is eligible for a pension.
Merchant Marine Veterans
A Mariner who served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty during World War II between December 7, 1941, to August 15, 1945, can qualify for a VA pension. During World War II, Merchant Marines supported the Navy by transporting military personnel and cargo.
National Guardsmen and Reservists
Guardsmen and Reservists can be called for active duty during wartime, a national emergency, or other reasons to support the U.S. armed forces. Guardsman and Reservistsqualify for a VA pension if they served at least 90 consecutive days of active duty with at least one day during an eligible period of war.
The veteran must also have received an honorable or anything other than dishonorable discharge. Service members who exceed performance and personal conduct standards will be honorably discharged from the military. A person whose military performance was considered satisfactory, will receive a general (under honorable conditions) discharge.
If the service member received an “other than dishonorable” discharge, bad conduct discharge or dishonorable discharge it may still be possible to apply for a pension if the type of discharge is corrected or upgraded.
VA Survivors Pension
To receive a VA Survivors Pension, the surviving spouse of a wartime veteran must have been married to the veteran for:
- at least a year, and
- married at the time of the veteran’s passing, and
- never remarried
The are no age requirements for a surviving spouse.
Aid and Attendance Enhanced Pension
Aid and Attendance is an enhanced pension for veterans and surviving spouses who need help with daily living activities. It is a reimbursement for care, including home care, adult day care, board and care, assisted living and skilled nursing care.
Home care can be provided by a family member, friend, or professional caregiver. Home caregivers do not have to be licensed to provide assistance with daily living activities.
Types of care include dressing, eating, bathing, toileting and transferring (mobility).
Dressing refers to help with buttoning, zippering, putting on or removing clothes, reminders to change clothes or help picking out clothes.
Eating is feeding someone, including cutting up the person’s food. It can also be reminding someone to eat or eat healthy.
Bathing is assistance with any aspect of bathing, including adjusting the water temperature or shower head, or even reminders to bathe.
Toileting is any type of bathroom assistance or help with incontinence.
Transferring is a term used to describe helping someone move from place to place, such as up and down stairs, in or out of a bed or chair, and in or out of a vehicle.
The VA does not consider meal preparation, housekeeping, running errands, medication management or driving someone (transportation) activities of daily living.
There are also specific income and asset criteria for the Aid and Attendance benefit. The requirements for Aid and Attendance can be very confusing. The paperwork needed to get the benefit can also be very complex. Many people who apply for the benefit on their own end up getting denied or less than what they are entitled to receive. With the new 2023 rate increase, getting a claim approved the first time through is even more important.
If you are interested in the Aid and Attendance benefit, you can find out more about financial requirements and how the claim process works, by contacting a Benefit Consultant today at 877-427-8065 or click here.