Improved pension is a ‘needs based’ program payable to certain wartime veterans. In determining eligibility and the amount of payment, all income of the veteran, the veterans’ spouse and any dependent children is considered. Un-reimbursed family medical expenses paid by a veteran may be used to reduce his or her countable income. Allowable medical expenses include, but are not limited to: health insurance premiums, medications, and payments for medical care such as doctor or hospital bills. Additionally, any last illness and/or burial expenses paid by the veteran for the death of a spouse or dependant child will be subtracted from countable income.
To qualify, the veteran must have served under conditions other than dishonorable & meet all three of the following:
1. The veteran must have,
*At least 90 days of wartime service, or at least 90 days of consecutive service, 1 day of which was during a wartime period, OR
*Served during wartime and was discharged for a service connected disability, regardless of the length of service.
2. He or she must be permanently and totally disabled or, age 65 or older (for pension purposes, the disabilities do not need to be related to his or her period of active duty service.)
3. He or she must have limited income and resources (net worth).
For VA purposes, the wartime periods are:
WW1 - April 6, 1917 to November 11, 1918
WW11 - December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korea - June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam - August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975 **
Persian Gulf - August 2, 1990 to (a date to be determined)
** Veterans who served in Vietnam at some time between the dates of February 28, 1961 through August 4, 1964 may also qualify for pension.
Death Pension for Widows and Children
Death pension is a benefit available to surviving spouses and children of wartime veterans. With death pension the veteran’s death does not have to be service connected, but the deceased veteran must have had wartime service. The eligibility requirements for death pension are very similar to those for veteran’s pension. Their common requirements are:
*Period(s) of service
*Character of discharge
*Limited income & resources
NOTE: The one major difference between veterans’ pension and death pension is that the widow or child applicant does not have to be permanently and totally disabled.
Click here for more information on this benefit.