• Aug 12, 2020
  • 5:22 AM

Compensation and Pension

Benefit Category: Federal

Disability Compensation

Is a tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbations or illnesses. Learn More


VA Disability Rating Calculator

VA Disability Compensation Calculator

Combined VA Disability Rating & Compensation Calculator

Understanding the VA Disability Application Process

Veteran Service Organizations 

Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC)

Is a tax free monetary benefit generally payable to a surviving spouse, child, or parent of Servicemembers who died while on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training or survivors of Veterans who died from their service-connected disabilities. DIC for parents is an income based benefit. Learn More

Special Monthly Compensation (SMC)

Is an additional tax-free benefit that can be paid to Veterans, their spouses, surviving spouses and parents. For Veterans, Special Monthly Compensation is a higher rate of compensation paid due to special circumstances such as the need of aid and attendance by another person or a specific disability, such as loss of use of one hand or leg. For spouses and surviving spouses, this benefit is commonly referred to as aid and attendance and is paid based on the need of aid and attendance by another person. Learn about special monthly compensation benefit rates


VA helps Veterans and their families cope with financial challenges by providing supplemental income through the Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension benefit programs.

VA offers two broad categories of Pension benefit programs:

  • Veterans Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime Veterans. Learn More
  • Survivors Pension: Tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or unmarried child(ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service. Learn More

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for Pension benefits and are housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible to receive additional monetary amounts.

Eligibility Requirements

Pension benefits are needs-based and your “countable" family income must fall below the yearly limit set by law. Veterans must have least 90 days of active duty, including one day during a wartime period. If the active duty occurred after September 7, 1980, you must have served at least 24 months or the full period that you were called up (with some exceptions). You must also be:

  • Age 65 or older with limited or no income, 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

The Veteran must have met the service requirements above for surviving spouses and children applying for the Survivors Pension. Learn More

Read the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Pension Benefits pamphlet to learn about what Veterans and their families should know when applying.

Visit the US VA website or contact your Veterans Service Officer for more information.

Related Resource(s)

Changes in Certain Social Security Services

Retirement Planning and Pensions for Veterans

X-Ray Requirement for Compensation Exams (February 2014)

Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)

Pre-Discharge Compensation Claim

Veteran’s Application for Compensation and/or Pension (VA Form 21-526EZ)

Military Disability Made Easy