Eligibility Requirements (Who qualifies?)

Pension benefits are based on Service Requirements, Income and Net Worth Requirements and Disability Requirements. The requirements are needs-based and your "countable" family income must fall below the yearly limit set by law. 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, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period that you were called up (with some exceptions). You 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

Eligible Wartime Periods

Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:

  • Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or adjacent waters)

  • World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)

  • World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)

  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)

  • Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)

  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)