The VA offers three different types of pensions for Veterans and their dependents:
- Veterans Pension
- Survivors Pension
- Medal of Honor Pension
Typically, a pension is only payable to those with low incomes, as determined by federal law. Pensions are tax-free and usually make up the difference between a person’s income and certain income levels set by Congress. These income levels change every year and differ based on the number of dependents and whether or not the Veteran or dependent needs special medical care.
The Veterans Pension is a monthly payment to Veterans who make an income below certain levels set by Congress. To qualify for the Veterans Pension, the Veteran must have served at least one day during a wartime period and have been discharged from services under other than dishonorable conditions. In addition, the Veteran must be at least one of the following:
- 65 years or older
- Permanently and totally disabled
- In a nursing home
- Receiving Social Security disability
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
Again, Veterans that receive the Veterans Pension must have a limited income and a limited net worth or assets, which includes the income, net worth, and assets of both the Veteran and their spouse. For 2024, the asset limit for VA pension is $155,356.
Also known as the “death pension,” Survivors Pension is a monthly payment made to limited income, unmarried surviving spouses and certain children of deceased wartime Veterans. Spouses and children of Veterans may be eligible if all of the following are true:
- The deceased Veteran was discharged from service under other-than-dishonorable conditions
- The deceased Veteran served 24 months or more of active duty with at least one day during wartime
- You are the unmarried surviving spouse or unmarried child of the deceased Veteran
- You have a combined net worth and income of $155,356 or less
Surviving spouses and children can apply by filling out VA Form 21-534, Application for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Survivors Pension and Accrued Benefits by a Surviving Spouse or Child (Including Death Compensation if Applicable).
Medal of Honor Pension
The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest honor, only awarded for a service member’s act of selfless courage which typically put the recipient at risk or loss of their own life. The Medal of Honor Pension is different than the other two kinds of pension programs in that the Medal of Honor Pension is not income-based and recipients are entitled to the pension for life.
To qualify for this pension, a Veteran must have received a Medal of Honor. However, their surviving spouses are usually eligible for the pension as well. In addition to the Medal of Honor Pension, a Medal of Honor recipient also gets benefits such as:
- Special entitlements to Space “A” air transportation
- Commissary and exchange privileges (includes eligible dependents)
- Access to MWR and base lodging facilities
- Priority 1 consideration for Department of Veterans Affairs claims
- Admission to the United States military academies for qualified children of recipients – without nomination and quota requirements
- 10% increase in retired pay
- Exempt from medical care co-payments
- Interment at Arlington National Cemetery if not otherwise eligible
We are Veterans Helping Veterans
The Veterans Legal Assistance Program’s goal is to support Veterans and those serving in active-duty, as well as their families. We want to inform you of the issues affecting the Veteran community and connect you with people we trust.
We’ve got your six.