The Department of Veterans Affairs recently announced that it has amended its regulations governing entitlements to VA pension and Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. The changes are meant to ensure that only veterans that legitimately need the benefits receive them.
VA’s pension program provides monthly benefit payments to eligible wartime Veterans and their survivors with financial need.
The pension regulations, which were updated Oct. 18, cover the following:
- Establish a clear net-worth limit for income and assets for Veterans to qualify for pension,
- Establish a 36-month look-back period to review asset transfers at less than fair market value that reduce net worth and create pension entitlement,
- Establish up to a five-year penalty period to be calculated based on the portion of the covered assets that would have made net worth excessive, and
- Updates medical expense definitions for consistency with VA internal guidelines.
According to the VA’s pension website, the pension “helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs.”
Eligibility requirements are defined as follows as of the time of this writing:
- Veterans must have at least 90 days of active duty, including one day during a wartime period. If the active duty occurred after September 7, 1980, the veteran must have served at least 24 months or the full period that he or she was called up (with some exceptions).
Eligible veterans must also be:
- Age 65 or older with limited or no income OR
- Totally and permanently disabled, OR
- A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
- Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
“The amended regulations bring consistency to the pension process and ensure benefits are available for Veterans and survivors with financial need,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “They will help maintain the integrity of and provide clarity to our needs-based pension program.”