Veterans looking to retire should learn more about VA pension rates and how payments may be calculated. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is responsible for determining how much each eligible veteran will be issued every year.
This figure is based on the current maximum payment amounts, a veteran’s household income and other factors. Veterans can calculate their own military pension rates by utilizing the VA’s rate chart and plugging in their own household factors.
You may wonder “How much is VA pension for my household this year?” The amount of benefits you receive will be directly related to your income, assets and the current rates set by the VA. It is important that you review all of these factors so you can plan your monthly household budget to include your pension benefits. You should also learn how your benefits are calculated so you can ensure the payments issued are correct and all factors are being taken into consideration.
To learn more about VA pension amounts, the factors that contribute to the amount you will receive and how to calculate your own potential pension, read through the sections below.
Veterans pension rates are affected by two main factors. If you are considered eligible for program benefits, keep in mind that the pension amount you receive may vary from other beneficiaries due to your specific situation. More specifically, your exact payment amount is determined by your countable income total and your Maximum Annual Pension Rate (MAPR).
Your VA pension rates are the difference between your countable income and your MAPR. Your countable income is determined when you apply for a veteran’s pension. You provided information on your application about your household’s earnings and any other types of income you regularly or irregularly receive. To calculate your countable income, the VA adds the following:
Related Article: VA Disability Ratings and Compensation Rates
Your military pension rates will be higher if you have a lower countable income. Your countable income may be reduced if you incur medical expenses that are not covered by your insurance and that you will not be reimbursed for. Keep in mind, you can only deduct medical expenses if the bills you paid within the time period total at least 5 percent or more of your MAPR. If you are eligible to deduct these medical expenses, you must first subtract 5 percent of your MAPR from these expenses. The remainder can be deducted from your countable income, which can help to increase your pension.
The MAPR is set by Congress and may be raised each year due to inflation and a consistent increase in cost-of-living expenses. It is usually used in conjunction with other government assistance programs, such as Social Security benefits. Therefore, if the Social Security income rates increase, chances are the rates for the veteran’s pension program will also increase.
When calculating VA pension rates, keep in mind the MAPR is unique to your situation. It is the maximum amount of pension that is paid out to qualifying applicants. Your MAPR is directly based on how many dependents you have in the household, if you have a disability and its severity and if you are married to another veteran who also qualifies for the pension. It is important to review some current MAPRs set by the government for specific situations. For example, if you are:
If you are calculating your VA pension amounts and you are a veteran with more than one dependent, you can simply add $2,250 for each additional dependent in your household. If you have a child in your household who earns wages, you can exclude his or her income up to $10,650 annually.
To calculate your own military pension rates, you can subtract your countable income from your MAPR. For example, if you are a veteran with one dependent and you are not housebound and do not need aid and attendance, your MAPR is $17,241. If your household’s countable income totals $10,000 after medical expense deductions, you need to subtract this income total from the MAPR. Therefore, your pension VA rate is $7,241.
Once your VA pension amount is determined and your eligibility for the program is confirmed, you will not receive a lump-sum payment. The VA distributes your funds throughout the year in 12 equal payments. If your pension rate is $7,241, you should receive 12 payments, one each month, for $603.41 each.
You may receive extra funds in addition to your VA pension rates if you meet the eligibility criteria for aid and attendance or housebound allowance benefits. To qualify for one of these special circumstances, you must first prove your eligibility for the veteran’s pension program.
You may be eligible to receive Aid and Attendance (A&A) funds in addition to your VA pension amount if you meet one of the following criteria:
To obtain additional VA pension amounts by qualifying as housebound, you must be bound to your immediate premises for the majority of your time due to a permanent disability. Keep in mind, you cannot receive both household and A&A funds at the same time.
Related Article: How to Apply for VA Disability Compensation
To prove your eligibility as a housebound or A&A veteran, you may be required to submit medical records or other documentation to the VA along with your pension application. To confirm your qualifications for an increased military pension rate, your doctor or therapist should complete VA Form 21-2680, Examination for Housebound Status or Permanent Need for Regular Aid and Attendance. The VA will also ask for details about your daily activities and transportation options to confirm your eligibility.
If proven eligible for these additional veterans pension rates, your MAPR will increase. For example, if you are a single veteran who is housebound, your MAPR increases to $16,089. If you are a single veteran who qualifies for A&A benefits, your MAPR increases to $21,962.