Frequently Asked Questions

What is Veteran’s Pension?

Veteran’s Pension is one of several Veteran’s Administration benefits availableto Arizona veterans. Pension is sometimes called Wartime Pension or DisabilityPension, but these all refer to the same benefit. Pension is a needs basedbenefit that provides financial support to veterans and their families. Veteranswith limited income or with high medical expenses are most likely to qualify for Pension.

What factors does the Veteran’s Administration look at when determining eligibility for Veteran’s Pension?

The VA considers four important factors when determining a veteran’s eligibility for AZ veteran’s benefits. First, the veteran must have been discharged for other than dishonorable wartime service. Second, the veteran must  be unable to work. Third, the veteran’s annual income must fall below a set amount. And, fourth, the veteran must not have excessive assets. Arizona veterans who satisfy each of these requirements may qualify for Veteran’s Pension.

What types of medical expenses can veterans deduct from their income when applying for AZ veteran’s benefits?

Veterans can only deduct those medical expenses that are unreimbursed when applying for Arizona VA benefits. Unreimbursed medical expenses include any medical expense that the veteran will never receive compensation for, such as out-of-pocket medical costs, copays and deductibles, and may even include theirRoom & Board fee if residents of a care facility. It is important for veterans to take as many appropriate medical expense deductions as possible, as greater deductions ultimately lead to a greater AZ veteran’s benefit amount. To fully utilize unreimbursed medical expense deductions, veterans should work with an Arizona veteran’s benefit lawyer who can guide them through the deduction process.

Can a veteran deduct an outstanding balance on a medical bill as an unreimbursed medical expense?

When calculating Veterans Administration benefits, the VA looks at medical expenses very closely. For a veteran to take a medical deduction, he or she must have already paid the medical expense in question. This means that neither outstanding balances nor unpaid portions of medical bills can be deducted from a veteran’s income. Veterans should work closely with a veteran’s benefit lawyer to qualify for as many deductions as possible. Doing so may help them protect their assets and income when applying for Arizona VA benefits.

Does the VA offer benefits beyond Veteran’s Pension to veterans with costly medical expenses?

Pension is by no means the only benefit that the Veterans Administration offers to Arizona veterans. In addition to Pension, the VA offers Housebound and Aid & Attendance benefits to veterans with certain medical needs. The first step to qualifying for one of these benefits is to meet the Pension financial tests. Veterans who demonstrate their eligibility for Pension may apply for additional assistance if they have certain medical needs. Housebound and Aid & Attendance benefits provide qualifying veterans with a higher Pension amount so that they may receive the medical care they require. In general terms, to qualify for the Housebound benefit, a veteran must have a disability that confines him to his home; and to qualify for Aid & Attendance a veteran must require the assistance of a caregiver to fulfill certain activities of daily living.

Can a veteran receive the Housebound or Aid & Attendance benefit without first qualifying for Pension?

Only veterans who are eligible for Pension may receive the Housebound or Aid & Attendance benefit.  Veterans can either apply for Pension first, and later apply for an additional benefit should the need arise, or apply for the Housebound or Aid & Attendance benefit when they apply for Pension. An Arizona veteran’s benefit lawyer can help veterans determine which, if any, of the AZ veteran’s benefits they may qualify for.

Does the Veterans Administration pay retroactively for Pension?

If granted, the VA pays Pension benefit awards retroactively to the date of the original claim. Some veterans may also be eligible for an additional one year of benefits if the VA determines they were potentially eligible as of 1/7/01. This is particularly helpful considering that the VA generally takes several months to process an application for AZ veteran’s benefits. So, regardless of how long it takes the VA to approve an application for Veterans Administration benefits, Pension payments will be paid retroactively. What this typically means for veterans who are approved for AZ veteran’s benefits is that the first Pension payment is significantly larger than subsequent Pension payments.

What happens if the VA denies an Arizona veteran’s application for veteran’s benefits?

The Veterans Administration denies a significant number of veteran’s benefit applications. Denials stem from a variety of reasons, but they do not preclude veterans from reapplying at a later date. It may be that the veteran could qualify for AZ veteran’s benefits with only some simple planning. Veterans whose application for VA benefits is denied should speak with a veteran’s benefit attorney about planning that may help them qualify for benefits.

Do only veterans with low income qualify for Pension?

One of the more common misconceptions about Pension is that only veterans with little or no income may qualify for the benefit. The truth is, however, that many veterans with high medical expenses may qualify for Pension even if they have a relatively large income. Because medical expenses may offset income, many veterans are able to qualify for Pension by deducting certain medical expenses from their gross income. This is not always a straightforward process, however, and veterans are advised to make this calculation with a veteran’s benefit lawyer.

What does the Veterans Administration look at when calculating income?

When determining eligibility for Arizona VA benefits, the Veterans Administration looks at income from all sources. This means that Arizona veterans must report every type of income to the VA when applying for Veterans Administration benefits. Even income such as gambling winnings are included in the Veterans Administration’s calculation, so it is important for veterans to be extremely thorough when reporting their income. While the VA may determine that certain income is not countable, it is still important for veterans to report everything. It is a good idea for Arizona veterans to work with an AZ veteran’s benefit lawyer who can help them calculate their income when applying for benefits.

Must veterans report their spouse’s income when applying for AZ veteran’s benefits?

The Veterans Administration looks at household income when determining eligibility, so veterans must report not only their income, but their spouse’s income as well. The flip side to this is that veterans can also deduct their spouse’s medical expenses from their income, so it may be that including the spouse’s financial information in the calculation could actually help the veteran obtain eligibility. A veteran’s benefit lawyer may be able to help veterans and their spouses arrange their affairs in such a manner that they are better able to meet eligibility requirements.

How much do veterans receive from Pension each month?

The VA determines how much to pay a veteran based on his income and whether he has dependents. First, the Veteran’s Administration calculates the veteran’s countable income by adding up income from all sources, then taking the appropriate deductions and exclusions. The VA then deducts this amount from the applicable income limit, which is based on the number of dependents that the veteran has (Veterans with more dependents are allowed a higher income limit). Last, the VA divides this figure by twelve to arrive at a  monthly Pension amount.

How is Pension different from service-connected compensation?

Any veteran who was disabled while in active duty is eligible for a veteran’s benefit referred to as Compensation. Compensation is available to qualifying veterans without regard to their income or assets. Pension is different from Compensation in that Pension is only available to veterans who meet financial requirements. Furthermore, unlike Compensation, veterans can qualify for Pension even without service-related disabilities. Sometimes veterans qualify for both of these Veteran’s Administration benefits, but they must elect the greater of the two, as the VA does not award both benefits to one veteran.

What is the wartime service rule?

Under the wartime service rule, only veterans who served at least 90 days of active military service, at least one of which being during a wartime period, may qualify for Veteran’s Pension. Congress defines wartime periods to include World War II (12/7/41 through 12/31/46), the Korean War (9/27/50 through 1/31/55), the Vietnam War (8/5/64 through 5/7/75) and the Gulf War (8/2/90 through the present). The VA also will consider your Reserve or National Guard duty if you were activated during a wartime period. Veterans who did not serve during a wartime period should speak with a veteran’s benefit lawyer about possible eligibility for AZ veteran’s benefits.

Are Arizona VA benefits available to veteran’s survivors?

The Veteran’s Administration allows a veteran’s spouse to draw a Pension benefit even after the veteran passes, based on the veteran’s service. Through a benefit called Widow’s Death Pension, the VA provides support for veterans’ surviving widows or widowers, as well as their unmarried, minor, children. To qualify, surviving widows or widowers must have been married to the veteran when he or she passed away. Also, as with the Veteran’s Pension, the Widow’s Death Pension is only available to those who meet financial requirements. As such, it may be helpful for surviving widows and widowers to work with a veteran’s benefit lawyer to get their finances in order so that they may qualify for the benefit.