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Amended Regulations for VA Pensions


The Veterans Affairs Department announced it has amended its regulations governing entitlements to VA pension and Parents’ Dependency and Indemnity Compensation. These changes are to ensure that only veterans with a legitimate need for benefits would receive them. The VA’s pension program provides monthly benefit payments to eligible wartime veterans and their survivors with financial need.

Updated October 18, the pension regulations establish the following:

  • A clear net worth limit for income and assets for veterans to qualify for a pension.
  • A 36-month look back period to review asset transfers at less than fair market value that reduces net worth and pension entitlement.
  • Updated medical expense definitions for consistency with VA internal guidelines.
  • A 5-year penalty period to be calculated based on a portion of covered assets that would have made net worth excessive.

The pension “helps veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension Benefit Programs,” according to VA’s pension website.

Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • Veterans must have at least 90 days of active duty, including 1 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/she was called up (with few exceptions).

Eligible veterans must also be:

  • 65 or older with limited or no income, OR
  • Totally or permanently disabled, OR
  • Patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR
  • Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR
  • Receiving Supplemental Security Income.

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said, “The amended regulations bring consistency to the pension for veterans and survivors with financial need. They will help maintain the integrity of and provide clarity to our needs-based pension program.”