Secure Your Wartime Veterans Pension
The VA Wartime Pension is a wonderful benefit that has the potential to provide support for countless veterans. Yet many people are not aware that the Pension is available to them. Others may have contacted the VA (or a VA representative such as the DAV or the VFW), who told them that they did not qualify. But you may not realize that, with some assistance, there are legitimate ways of adjusting your circumstances so that you can qualify.
There are essentially three requirements you need to satisfy to receive the Pension. If you meet the key military service record qualifications, Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. may be able to help you become qualified. Contact us today. Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. can help resolve your case.
What Is the Benefit?
Congress first passed legislation to provide benefits to former military members in 1789. In 1818, they “improved” it to encompass widows and orphans of service members as well and it is now officially called the Improved Pension. Most people today refer to it simply as Wartime Pension. Importantly, it is not the same as retirement pay. You may receive the benefit in addition to retirement pay, but not in addition to disability compensation. This Pension is often a better-paying option than disability compensation.
There are three levels of payment that the VA pays directly to the veteran or their surviving spouse for life upon qualifying:
- Base Pension – available to those who are 65 or older or who are younger than 65 but are fully disabled
- Housebound Status – an additional fund that is for those who are receiving the Base Pension and are not able to leave home on their own because of health conditions
- Aid and Attendance – the final tier that is added when a veteran requires healthcare assistance with two or more activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring) or must have supervision due to cognitive or physical decline.
The money comes directly into your checking account, and you may spend it on any of your needs.
How Much Is the Benefit?
The amount can be up to $2,266.25 per month for a married veteran. A surviving spouse may qualify for up to $1,465.00 per month. While the amount is variable based on your healthcare requirements, it can also increase over time if your needs become greater.
How Do I Qualify?
There are three basic requirements you need to prove to meet the Military Service Record eligibility:
- You must have served 90 days or more on active duty. (If you served after September 7th, 1980, you must have served 24 months or more, or for your full tour of active duty if it was less than 24 months.)
- At least one day of your active-duty service must have been during a Wartime Period.
- You must have received an Honorable discharge.
What If the VA Has Told Me I Don’t Qualify?
The VA often informs people that they are not eligible for the Pension but does not tell them that there are ways of making themselves eligible. There are five common reasons why you might not currently qualify, but for each of these, there are still ways to go about securing the benefit.
- If you received a Dishonorable discharge, an experienced attorney might be able to work with you and with the VA to amend or upgrade your discharge to Honorable.
- If a VA rep has told you that you earn too much money to qualify for the maximum benefit, this is likely because you earn more money than you spend on medical care. A seasoned veteran’s lawyer can assist you in rearranging your financial situation so that you are eligible.
- You may be considered ineligible because your net worth is too high. The current VA Net Worth limit is $138,489 (2022). If your assets total more than this amount, you do not qualify for the benefit. However, with the right kind of assistance and planning, you may be able to legally reallocate your net worth to exclude and protect access and thereby access the VA benefits. Because each situation is unique, your legal team will have to work with you to determine the best route forward for you.
- In relation to your net worth, the home is excluded if the land size is two acres or less and if the value in equity does not exceed $595,000. Any value more than that amount will count toward your net worth. In such a circumstance, a knowledgeable veterans’ lawyer may be able to help you find options to have this value excluded.
- Your eligibility might be in question because your financial activity has contravened the VA’s Look-Back Period. This means that if you have divested certain assets to reduce your net worth in the last few years, you may be ineligible to apply for the Pension. A good legal team will have a full understanding of your options and can help you to navigate these complicated rules and assist you in making a successful application.
Call a Veterans Disability Benefits Attorney Today
If you are a veteran and you are planning to apply for the Wartime Pension, you may have concerns about whether you are fully qualified to do so. The New York veteran disability benefits attorneys of Fusco, Brandenstein & Rada, P.C. are here to help. Our experienced lawyers understand how life-changing this benefit could be for you and your family and will do everything in our power to help you establish your eligibility. Call us today at 516-496-0400, or contact our office online for a free consultation.