Veteran Pension: Definitional Guidelines for Need-Based Restrictions

If you are claiming a veteran pension, then you may already be aware that some parts of it are calculated according to need-based restrictions. These restrictions tend to limit the amount of pension that you can claim, depending upon the income that you have from other sources. In order to fully claim the income that you are entitled to, you will need to understand what need-based restrictions are, and how they can interfere in your claims for a veteran pension. When you are applying for the pension, you will have to include all of your current income, otherwise the VA will deny your claim.

Countable Income

Countable income is considered to be any kind of income which is received by either the veteran, or by dependents that they have included on their pension application. This income can be from any source, including IRA or assets, earnings from employment, disability benefits, retirement benefits, dividends, and any income from a business such as farming. So if the veteran or the veteran's spouse has an income from a business, no matter how small this payment is, it will still be removed from the total veteran pension that the applicant is allowed to claim. If this is income is earned by the dependent, then the VA will consider that all of the earnings are available to the veteran, but in some hardship cases, the countable income may be excepted. Items such as net worth, which includes back accounts, bonds, stocks, and property, will also be considered part of the countable income. If the VA considers that all of this income is enough for the veteran and his or her dependents to live on, then the pension will not be awarded. The VA says clearly that its need-based program is not designed to secure large amounts of assets, or to maintain the estate for the veteran's heirs.

Exceptions to Countable Income

However, there are a number of things that can be used to reduce the amount of countable income which is taken from the veteran pension. The largest portion of this is unreimbursed medical bills. These are only deductible if they have been paid by the veteran after the pension claim has been submitted, so the claimant has to carefully balance paying those bills and setting out the veterans pension claim. Other costs, such as veterans education, a child dependent's education, or occasionally a dependent over the age of 18, are also deductible, although they may need clarification before the claim is accepted. In addition, if you are receiving any amount of public assistance, such as Security Income, then you will not have to pay for this. Once the VA has calculated your total countable income, then it will take off any exceptions before deducting the final calculation from the annual pension limit. As long as the reduced countable income is low enough, you should receive a veteran pension and benefits.

blog comments powered by Disqus