The incalculable value of the contributions of our Veterans to our country is rarely fully comprehended. Likewise, the full value of the Non-Service-Connected Disability Improved Pension Benefit with Aid & Attendance available for our Veterans, their spouses, and their surviving spouses, is rarely comprehended either. This benefit is so misunderstood that senior communities and family members of seniors often pay between $500 and $1,500 just to gain information about it. Yet this improved pension benefit has been available for Veterans and their families since November 1, 1951.
To meet the military qualifications, the Veteran had to have served 90 days of active duty with at least one during wartime, have a discharge of any kind other than dishonorable, and be over the age 65 or disabled. In addition, the Veterans, their spouse, or their surviving spouse, must meet other means testing criteria for their income and assets. When properly understood, neither of these are as exclusionary as they first appear.
So, why all the confusion and misunderstanding? First, is the very name of the benefit itself ... improved pension benefit.... Everyone in America thinks you only get a pension benefit from your employer after a significant number of years of service, usually 20 or 30. Even the military has a 20 or 30 year retirement pension benefit. No one believes there are any benefits due after only 90 days of employment. But there is a benefit for our Veteran, their spouses, and their surviving spouses. And Rightfully So!
Second, one of the military qualifications mentioned earlier is being disabled or over the age of 65. Again, as Americans, we might expect there to be a benefit for someone if they were disabled as a result of their employment, but not if it is non-employment related. And definitely not just because they turned 65! Indeed, some might even object that just because they reached age 65 they are grouped together with those who are disabled, and not even disabled as a result of their military service. But again, examine the name of the benefit, non-service connected.... There is a benefit for our Veterans, their spouses, and their surviving spouses over the age of 65. And Rightfully So!
Finally, there are income limitations considered for those considering their eligibility for this benefit. And as Americans, we all know what income is. But actually, very few of us know how the Department of Veterans Affairs considers income for this benefit. Income for Veterans Affairs Purposes (IVAP) is calculated by subtracting Unreimbursed Medical Expenses (UME's) from income. There is a benefit for our Veterans, their spouses, and their surviving spouses with income and assets. And Rightfully So!
The services and sacrifices of our Veterans and their spouses, have played, and continue to play, a huge and significant role in the history of our country. The Non-Service-Connected Disability Improved Pension Benefit needs to play, or better said, pay, a significant role in the lives of our Veterans, their spouses, their surviving spouses, and their families. We need to remember the words of President Abraham Lincoln, who, when speaking about the purposes of the VA, said, “…to care for him, who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphan…” And Rightfully So!
Operation Veteran Benefits, the individuals, and services listed on this web site are not affiliated with the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Only individuals on this site who are accredited by the VA are involved in the assistance of preparation and presentation of a claim for veteran benefits.