As a veteran, you are likely proud of your service to the United States. You helped protect your country. Now that you are older, it may be time to turn to the government you protected for help. Elderly veterans may apply for a range of benefits from VA.
VA pension benefits
To qualify for a pension benefit, you need to have served 90 days of active duty and one of those days needed to be during wartime. For those who served after September 7, 1980, you need to have served for 24 months and or the full time you were called up for duty. The VA also states pensions are awarded based on need, so your family income must fall below a certain level.
Additionally, you also must be 65 or older or permanently disabled. Other qualifying factors include if you are a patient in a nursing home, or receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. To apply for a veteran’s pension, you can visit your local benefit office.
VA aid and attendance pension benefit
For veterans that are eligible to receive or already receiving VA pension benefits, you may also be able to increase benefits if you need additional care. The “Aid and Attendance benefit” provides additional money to help veterans pay for a qualified aid to assist them.
To receive the Aid and Attendance benefit, one of the following conditions must apply:
- Your need assistance with bathing, eating or other daily tasks.
- You are a patient in a nursing home.
- You are bedridden.
- You are legally blind.
You can apply for the Aid and Attendance benefit by writing to the Pension Management Center or visiting the local VA benefits office. Your request will need to include information about your condition, how it affects your ability to get around, and how it interferes with any of your other daily functions. You likely will want to include a report from your doctor.
The evaluation process can be slow. It usually takes six to eight months for applications to be processed.
Elderly veterans may also qualify for disability compensation, health insurance, education benefits, and vocational rehabilitation if necessary. You can visit your local benefit office to find out what options might be available to you.