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What should I know about Veterans Pension benefits?

Authored By: GeorgiaLegalAid.org
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Veterans Pension benefits in Georgia

What should I know? +

Contents


What is the Veterans Pension program?

The Veterans Pension is a monthly payment for Veterans who served during wartime. Veterans pension is different from Veterans disability benefits. You can get the Veterans pension even if your disability is not service-connected. It is also based on income.

 

To be eligible for Veterans Pension benefits, you must:

  • Not have a dishonorable discharge, and

  • Have an income and net worth below a certain limit.

 

One of these must also be true:

  • You started active duty before September 8, 1980, and you served:

    • At least 90 days on active duty, and 

    • At least one of those days was during wartime.

  • You started on active duty as an enlisted person after September 7, 1980, and you served:

    • At least 24 months, or

    • The full period you were you were called or ordered to active duty, and

    • At least one of those days was during wartime.

  • You were an officer who started active duty after October 16, 1981. You hadn’t served on active duty in the previous 24 months.

 

One of these must also be true. You:

  • Are 65 years old or older, or

  • Have a permanent and total disability, or

  • Are a patient in a long-term care facility because of a disability, or 

  • Are getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. 

 

As of 2020, the VA considers these periods as wartime service:

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

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

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

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

  • Vietnam War era (February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)

  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)

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What are my rights and responsibilities with the Veterans Pension?

If you meet the qualification for the Veterans Pension, then you have a right to the benefits. You are eligible even if you did not participate in combat or serve in a war zone, as long as you served during a wartime period. You are responsible for applying for the benefit.

 

If you disagree with a decision the VA makes about the pension, you have the right to appeal. You are responsible for filing the appeal and following the appeals process.

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What can I do? +

Contents


How can I apply for Veterans Pension benefits?

Before you start your application, file an intent to file form. Filing this form sets the day you can start getting benefits. If your application is approved in the future, you can get retroactive payments starting from the day you filed this form.

 

Submit your intent to file form:

  • By phone. Call 800-827-1000.

  • In person at the VA regional office near you,

  • By mail. Fill out Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension (VA Form 21-0966). In Georgia, mail this form to:

    • Department of Veterans Affairs

Pension Intake Center

PO Box 5365

Janesville, WI 53547-5365

 

To apply, you’ll need to have your:

  • Social Security number or VA file number,

  • Military history,

  • Financial information for your and your dependants,

  • Work history,

  • Bank account direct deposit information, and 

  • Medical information.

 

You can apply:

Pension Intake Center

PO Box 5365

Janesville, WI 53547-5365

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How can I get extra money if I am housebound or need help with daily activities?

If you already get the VA Pension, you may also be eligible for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits, if you:

  • VA Aid and Attendance

    • Need another person to help you perform daily activities,

    • Have to stay in bed because of illness, 

    • Are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability, or

    • Your eyesight is limited.

  • Housebound:

    • Spend most of your time in your home because of a permanent disability.

 

Apply for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by filling out VA Form 21-2680. Submit the form:

  • In person at the VA regional office near you. 

  • By mail. In Georgia, mail this form to:

    • Department of Veterans Affairs

Pension Intake Center

PO Box 5365

Janesville, WI 53547-5365

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How can I appeal a VA decision?

If you disagree with any decision made by the Veterans Benefits Administration, you have the right to appeal. You can have a representative to help with your appeal. This process can take years to complete. To appeal a decision:

  • File a Notice of Disagreement. You must file your notice within one year of the date on the letter notifying you of the decision. Mail the notice to the address on the decision letter.

  • Statement of the Case. After you file the Notice of Disagreement, your file will be reviewed by a Decision Review Officer. The officer will decide whether you have enough evidence to grant your appeal. They will send this decision in a Statement of the Case.

  • VA Form 9. If you disagree with the Statement of the Case, you need to return the VA Form 9 within 60 days. 

    • This is your last chance to send any additional evidence for the VA to review.

  • Appeal to the Board. Your case will be sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. A judge will review your case. 

  • Hearing. If you wish, you can request a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.

  • Decision. The Board will decide to:

    • Allow benefits,

    • Ask for more evidence, or

    • Deny benefits.

  • Court of Appeals. If you disagree with the Board’s decision, you can appeal to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. You must appeal within 120 days.

 

What if I can’t wait years for an appeal of a VA decision?

You can ask for your appeal to be moved to the front of the line if you:

  • Are 75 years old or older, 

  • You have a serious illness,

  • Are having financial problems, or

  • You have some other good reason.

 

This is called having your appeal Advanced on Docket. You must make this request by writing to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

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Forms

  • Find the Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ) on the VA website (this links to a PDF which may not meet accessibility standards).
  • Apply for VA Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits by filling out VA Form 21-2680 (this links to a PDF which may not meet accessibility standards).

  • Find the Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension (VA Form 21-0966) on the VA website (this links to a PDF which may not meet accessibility standards).

 

Resources

 

For help with benefits

  • Stateside Legal is a website is for members of the military, veterans, their families and advocates.

  • Learn more about all the services offered by the Georgia Department of Veterans Services on their website.

  • For help with benefits appeals, contact the Georgia Department of Veterans Services Appeals Division.

  • If you have questions for the VA, you can:

    • Message the VA online,

    • Call the VA at:

      • VA benefits hotline: 800-827-1000
      • eBenefits technical support: 800-983-0937
      • Call MyVA311 for help: 844-698-2311
      • If you have hearing loss, call TTY: 711.

 

Last Review and Update: Feb 03, 2020