All You Need to Know About Veterans Compensation and Pension

Military Protection All You Need to Know About Veterans Compensation and Pension

The Guide to Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits

Veterans benefits are becoming increasingly popular. Also known as veterans compensation and pension benefits, these programs provide financial assistance to former members of the armed forces who are disabled, have a serious illness, or are indigent. Although they might seem complicated and confusing, the money is there for those who need it.

Before you begin your search, it is important to understand the various types of veterans’ benefits available. Most veterans’ benefits are awarded on a monthly basis while some have a one-time disbursement immediately paid to the recipient. In some cases, you can receive multiple forms of financial assistance, but there are limitations on how much you can receive in benefits.

DoNotPay can help guide you through the process of helping your loved one to navigate these complex programs. We'll identify which services are available, who is eligible for them and help you apply.

Who Is Eligible for Veterans Pension Benefits?

Pension benefits provide financial support to veterans and/or their dependents in recognition of the sacrifices the nation owes these individuals for their service and sacrifice. Veterans pension benefits are available to veterans who have limited income and resources, meet certain minimum service requirements, and are in need of financial assistance.

To be eligible for a veterans pension, a veteran must meet certain criteria:

  • Didn't receive a dishonorable discharge, and have a yearly family income and net worth meet certain limits ($121,000 for 2021);
  • Started on active duty before September 8, 1980, and served at least 90 days on active duty with at least 1 day during wartime, or
  • Started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and served at least 24 months or the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least 1 day during wartime, or
  • Were an officer and started on active duty after October 16, 1981, and hadn't previously served on active duty for at least 24 months;
  • Be at least 65 years old, or
  • Have a permanent and total disability, or
  • Reside in a nursing home for long-term care due to a disability, or
  • Has Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income.

Who Is Eligible for Survivors Pension Benefits?

Pension benefits are available to certain survivors of veterans who meet the eligibility requirements under a pension program. To be eligible for a survivors pension benefit, a veteran must have:

  • Completed a minimum of 90 days active duty with at least one day during wartime, or
  • Been discharged from service due to a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, or
  • Served for 6 years (if they started active duty after September 7, 1980);
  • Died with a service-related disability or as a result of a service-related injury or disease, or
  • Died while enrolled in the VA Compensation and Pension program, or
  • Died while receiving VA Disability Compensation or Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

How Much Does the VA Pay for Veterans Pension?

If a veteran qualifies for these benefits, the monthly payment will be determined by their countable income and the yearly limits set by Congress. The VA also adjusts the rate each year for the cost of living increases.

  • The monthly maximum for a veteran with no dependents is $23,238.53
  • The monthly maximum for a veteran with one dependent is $27,549.00
  • For each additional dependent child, add $2,382.00

What Veterans Compensation Programs Are Available?

Veterans compensation benefits are financial assistance paid to veterans who are disabled or to the family members of deceased veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.

There are different programs that provide financial assistance to veterans. However, some of these programs have set eligibility requirements.

For example, all veterans who have service-related disabilities are eligible for monthly disability compensation, but not all disabled veterans will meet the eligibility criteria for other veterans' benefits.

Some of the programs include:

Disability CompensationVA Disability Compensation is based on the extent of your disability caused by your military service. It may be tax-free monetary compensation for injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or for disabilities that are considered related to your time in the military. You may be able to get Disability Compensation if you have service-related disabilities or injuries, even if your service ended many years ago. You usually don't have to pay anything to get this compensation, but it will affect the number of other types of veterans benefits you are eligible for.
Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a VA program that provides monthly tax-free benefits to eligible surviving spouses, children, and parents of veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease. It also provides for certain survivors of disabled veterans who died on or after January 1, 1993.
Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) is a VA benefit that provides certain veterans who are 65 years old or older with income that exceeds the maximum amount payable under the VA Pension program. You may be eligible for SMC if you were exposed to Agent Orange during active military service in Vietnam, Korea, Laos, or Thailand.

How to Apply for Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits Yourself

To apply for veterans compensation and pension benefits yourself, you must submit a signed application with all required supporting documents. Many times, a veteran will want to submit an "intent to file" form and then gather all the necessary materials before turning in an application. This ensures that payments are awarded retroactively to the date of the application if their claim is approved.

How to Apply for Veterans Pension Benefits

The steps to apply for veterans pension benefits include:

  1. Download and print "Notice to Veteran of Evidence Necessary To Substantiate a Claim for Veterans Pension Benefits" (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
  2. Complete the application form in its entirety and don't forget your signature.
  3. Include all required documents for supporting evidence of eligibility. This may include:
  • Income earned from employment to prove countable income, and a net worth statement if applicable
  • Military records to establish service during a wartime period or active duty status
  • Medical records from the military and/or a VA hospital or clinic
  • Death certificate of veteran or dependent
  • Income information from dependents if applicable
  • Income from investments if applicable
  • Statement from the current payer of income, such as a retirement plan administrator or bank
  1. Make a copy of the application and all supporting documents for your records.
  2. Mail completed package to Department of Veterans Affairs, Pension Intake Center, P. O. Box 5365, Janesville, WI 53547-5365.
  3. You may be contacted by the VA by phone or mail to schedule a claim exam. It is important to attend this exam, as it will be added to your claim record.

How to Apply for Veterans Compensation Benefits

The steps to apply for veterans compensation benefits include:

  1. Download and print "Notice to Veteran/Service Member of Evidence Necessary To Substantiate a Claim for Veterans Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits" (VA Form 21-526EZ).
  2. Complete the application form in its entirety.
  3. Include all required documents for supporting evidence of eligibility. The application will indicate which specific documents are needed for each benefit category. For example, if you are claiming a disability that was caused or aggravated by your service, enclose the documents under "Disability Service Connection."
  4. Make a copy of the application and all supporting documents for your records.
  5. Mail completed package to Department of Veterans Affairs, Evidence Intake Center, P.O. Box 4444, Janesville, WI, 53547-4444.
  6. You may be contacted by the VA by phone or mail to schedule a claim exam. It is important to attend this exam, as it will be added to your claim record.

Next Steps for Applying for Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits if You Can’t Do It Yourself

If a veteran is unable to submit an application for veterans compensation and pension benefits themselves, they may give written permission to someone else in the form of a power of attorney. This person is called an "agent" or "representative".

An agent can help during the application for veterans compensation and pension benefits process, but only if they are appointed by the veteran. The power of attorney must be signed by both the veteran and another witness in front of a notary public. It should include language that states "I appoint this person as my agent to handle all claims for compensation and pension benefits in my claim record. He/she shall have the same power to act on my behalf in matters concerning my claim as I would have".

The written permission must also include the name, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, and mailing address of the person who has been authorized to represent you.

How to Apply for Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits With the Help of DoNotPay

As a veteran, it may be preferable to use an automated system that can walk you through the veterans benefits application process with as little human supervision as possible. One such resource is DoNotPay, which makes applying for veterans benefits simple.

How to apply for Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits with DoNotPay

If you want to apply for veterans benefits with DoNotPay but don't know where to start, DoNotPay has you covered in 3 easy steps:

  1. Search for and open the Military Protection product on DoNotPay. 

  2. Select whether you want to 1) locate the nearest VA office, 2) access veteran benefits, or 3) locate service records. 

  3. Answer a simple set of questions so our chatbot can collect the necessary information to help you and find the nearest office or fill out the appropriate forms. 

     

Why Use DoNotPay to Apply for Veterans Compensation and Pension Benefits

For veterans who need help applying for veterans compensation and pension benefits, DoNotPay is a great solution due to its ease of use, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

DoNotPay guides you through the application process with as little human supervision as possible, making it a valuable tool for anyone who may have trouble going through the process on their own.

Don't miss out on the benefits you might be entitled to. Try DoNotPay now.

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