Helping Veterans Overcome Financial Struggles Pensions VA helps veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension benefit. Veterans Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime veterans. Eligibility Generally, a veteran must have at least 90 days of active duty service with at least one day during a wartime period to qualify for a VA pension. If you entered active duty after September 7, 1980, generally, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty (with some exceptions) with at least one day during a wartime period. In addition to meeting minimum service requirements, the veteran must be: Age 65 or older, OR Totally and permanently disabled, OR A patient in a nursing home receiving skilled nursing care, OR Receiving Social Security Disability Insurance, OR Receiving Supplemental Security Income Your yearly family income must be less than the amount set by congress to qualify for the Veterans Pension benefit. Learn more about income and net worth limitations, and see an example of how VA calculates the VA Pension benefit. Additional Pension Allowances Veterans or surviving spouses who are eligible for VA pension and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible for an additional monetary payment. Appeals The appeals process in the VA is a complex, multi-step adjudication process that utilizes an open record—that is, it allows a veteran to submit medical and lay evidence at any point from the beginning to the end of the process, including while the claim is pending on appeal which may, in turn, require VA to develop further evidence on the veteran’s behalf. Appeals are initiated at the Agency of Original Jurisdiction (AOJ) which includes the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), Regional Offices (RO), Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical facilities, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA), and the Office of General Counsel (OGC). While the vast majority (98%) of appeals considered by the board involves claims for disability compensation, the board also reviews appeals involving other types of veterans benefits, including insurance benefits, educational benefits, home loan guarantees, vocational rehabilitation, dependency and indemnity compensation, health care delivery, burial benefits, pension benefits, and fiduciary matters. If an appeal is not resolved at the AOJ level to the veteran’s (or appellant’s) satisfaction, he or she may formally continue that appeal to the board for a de novo review (i.e., new look) and the issuance of a final decision. Notice of Disagreement (NOD) A Notice of Disagreement is a form of written communication from a claimant or his/her representative expressing: Dissatisfaction or disagreement with a decision and A desire to contest the result Although no specific wording is required in the NOD, it must be in terms that can be reasonably interpreted as a disagreement with a decision and a desire for appellate review. Note: A transcript of either a formal hearing or informal conference containing an expression of disagreement fulfills the requirement that the statement must be in writing.