Benefits and Services

If the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decides you qualify for a VA Pension, you get monthly payments and may also get some other benefits.

How Much You Get in Pension Benefits

To decide how much you should get, the VA calculates your countable family income, iincluding the exclusions and deductions described earlier. Your countable family income is then subtracted from the Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR) for somebody in your situation. They then divide this annual amount by 12 to figure out your monthly benefits payment. The VA has a detailed example of this calculation.

If you have dependents, or if you qualify for Aid and Attendance (A&A) or Housebound (SMC-S) benefits, your MAPR is higher.

You can get an idea of the current pension levels by looking at the VA’s Improved Disability Benefits Pension Rate Table. The VA also lists the current pension rate for surviving spouses and children.

Example

David is a veteran and the MAPR for David and his wife is $16,051, based on his medical and family situation. David and his wife’s combined countable family income for the year is $10,051, so David’s VA Pension for a year is $6,000 ($16,051 - $10,051 = $6,000). It is paid in $500 monthly installments ($6,000/12 = $500).

If their countable family income were more than $16,051, David would not qualify for VA Pension for the year, but he could reapply if their income went down.

How the Payment Is Sent

The U.S. Treasury Department pays all federal benefits electronically. This means you can get your payments by direct deposit (your payments go straight into your bank account each month and you never have to worry about losing a check) or through a Direct Express debit card.

For direct deposit, the U.S. Treasury Department:

If you choose to have your benefits payments added to a Direct Express debit card each month:

  1. You can get your payments electronically even if you do not have a bank account.
  2. You have access to your money any time at automated teller machines (ATMs) and you can buy things anywhere that accepts MasterCard.
  3. You can access your account information by telephone and Internet, make purchases over the Internet, and get cash back at stores without paying a fee.

For more details or to sign up for a Direct Express debit card, visit the U.S. Treasury Department’s GoDirect page.

Other Benefits of a VA Pension

If you get a VA Pension, you also:

  • Get Priority VA Health Care
  • May get Aid and Attendance (A&A) if:
    • You need another person to help you perform activities of daily living, adjust prosthetic devices, or protect yourself from the hazards of your daily environment, or
    • You are bedridden because your disability (or disabilities) requires you stay in bed, not because of any treatment you have had, such as surgery, or,
    • You are a patient in a nursing home due to mental or physical incapacity, or
    • You have corrected visual acuity of 5/200 or less in both eyes, or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less.
  • May get Housebound benefits if:
    • You have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling that permanently keeps you from moving beyond your residence (where you live), or
    • You have a single permanent disability evaluated as 100% disabling and another disability (or disabilities) evaluated as 60% or more disabling.

Note: You cannot get both A&A and Housebound (SMC-S) benefits at the same time.

VA Pension and Other Benefits Programs

You may qualify for other benefits programs, and some may affect your VA Pension benefits.