Thank You for Your Service

As we celebrate Veterans Day, I thought I would turn my attention to Service Pension benefits. This is a valuable benefit for many Veterans and their families.  In order to qualify for Basic Service Pension, Veterans must meet several criteria.  Prior to September 1980, Veterans are required to have at least ninety (90) days of active duty with at least one day being during a wartime period.  After 1980, Veterans must have generally served at least 24 months (or the full period for which they were called or ordered) of active duty with at least one day being during a wartime period.  Wartime periods are defined as follows:

Wartime Periods

  • 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 date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)

 Second, Veterans must not have been dishonorably discharged.  Third, Veterans must meet one of the following criteria:

  • sixty-five (65) years of age or older;

  • permanently and totally disabled;

  • in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care;

  • receiving Social Security Disability Insurance; or

  • receiving Supplemental Security Income.

In addition, Veterans’ worth must not be excessive and their countable family income must be below a yearly limit set by law.  Veterans who are eligible for the basic service pension discussed above, may qualify for additional monies if they are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person to perform activities of daily living (or are blind or nearly so or in a nursing home).A Veteran’s surviving spouse (or child) may be entitled to some benefits, called Death Benefits, upon the Veteran’s death. In order to qualify to receive these benefits, Veterans must meet similar requirements set forth above. The surviving spouse must also meet certain requirements, including having a valid marriage to the Veteran and not being remarried.As a nation we desire to honor our service men and women. Unfortunately, many of our Veterans and their families are unaware of the existence of the service pension benefits.  If you know of a wartime veteran or surviving spouse of a wartime veteran thank them and make sure they know of the benefits that may be available.