Can my mother receive social security and a VA pension?

A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother draws VA pension since my dad served in Vietnam. The pension is $650 monthly, which barely covers her bills. Can she draw social security and a VA pension too?

Expert Answer

Rita Files, LPN, VSR, a nationally recognized expert on the elderly, has more than 30 years of experience in the health care industry, with 20 years focused on eldercare. She has developed programs for many leading providers in the senior living industry. Accredited through the V.A. in veterans' benefits, she is an advocate and powerful resource committed to educating veterans and their families about the nonservice connected pension benefit and providing them with accurate information. She is cofounder and COO of Aging with Grace.

Yes, your mother can receive both social security and VA Disability Pension at the same time. To qualify she would have to be over the age of 65 and not remarried. The purpose of the Non-service Connected VA Disability pension benefit is to supplement low or no income veterans and surviving spouses as well as those with high monthly out of pocket recurring medical expenses, it's possible to qualify for up to $1057/month depending on what her needs are.

Currently, the basic pension amount for a surviving spouse who has not remarried is $7933.00 annually which places mom below the basic pension by $133.00 since her income is only about $650.00 per month. In the event that her income is further reduced by the monthly deduction from her social security for her Medicare Part B premium of 96.40 the VA Basic Pension would supplement that expense as well to bring Mom to the basic pension amount set by congress. Without knowing for sure what Mom's asset situation is, for the purpose of this answer, I considered there to be no assets.

The basic pension is the first tier of the VA Disability Pension. To qualify for either the second tier: housebound or the third tier: aid & attendance mom would have to provide the necessary documentation to indicate the care services are needed and proof that they are recurring monthly expenses.

It is important to note that VA Disability Pension Benefits are non-taxable, but are factored as income for purposes of other federal benefit programs such as Medicaid.

I suggest completing a free prequalification questionnaire for review by a veteran benefit consultant prior to applying for VA Benefits.