When a veteran is eligible for a disability pension, he or she will receive benefits
under the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) improved disability pension program
that was established on January 1, 1979.
A veteran is eligible for the improved disability pension when he or she has at least
90 days of active duty service with at least one day of service during a wartime period.
A veteran who entered active duty after September 7, 1980, must have served at least
24 months or the full period ordered to active duty with at least one day of service
during a wartime period. The veteran must receive an honorably military service discharge,
totally and permanently disabled; or
a patient in a nursing home receiving skilled care; or
receiving Social Security Disability benefits; or
receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
The VA pays improved disability pension based on the countable income of the veteran,
his or her spouse, and dependent children. Congress establishes the maximum annual
improved disability pension rates.
Improved disability pension payments are a needs-based benefit.