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What is the pension program for veterans?

The United States provides for veterans of the armed services via a pension program that is administered by the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, or VA. The pension doesn't work like a traditional retirement pension, however. Instead, it operates on a basis of need and individuals have to meet numerous qualifications to draw from the fund.

To qualify for benefits from the pension, a person must be a veteran who has served at least one active duty day during what is considered to be an eligible period of wartime. The person must also have served at least 90 active duty days and have received a discharge that was not for dishonorable reasons.

The pension benefits are also restricted by age, income and disability. A person must be 65 years of age or older and report an income that is under a threshold amount that is set by Congress. The income threshold changes over time.

To qualify, the veteran must demonstrate a permanent and total disability. In lieu of a disability, the veteran might also qualify if he or she is in a skilled nursing home, receives Supplemental Security Income or receives Social Security Disability Income.

You can apply for these benefits through the VA, but it's important to understand all of your benefits and rights as a veteran and how those rights and benefits can integrate with other end-of-life care and plans. If you or someone you live with might be eligible for such benefits or you feel they were denied for benefits inappropriately, there are actions you can take to appeal some of these decisions. Working with a legal professional to seek all benefits afforded to you can help you live a comfortable and stable end-of-life.

Source: FindLaw, "Military Benefits for Veterans: Legal Issues to Know," accessed Nov. 06, 2015

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