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Helping Those Who Have Served

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In fiscal year 2013, spouses, parents, and children of deceased veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan received $6.7 billion in Veterans Affairs pensions or payments. Despite this staggering number, there are still many veterans (and families) who are unaware of their potential eligibility for a wide range of benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It is important for veterans to know that the benefits are available even if the veteran did not directly retire from the military or suffer injuries in the line of duty.

Generally, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers two types of Pension benefit programs, namely, the Veterans Pension and the Survivors Pension. The Veterans Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to low-income wartime veterans, while the Survivors Pension is a tax-free monetary benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried surviving spouse and/or an unmarried child(ren) of a deceased veteran with wartime service. In addition to these Pension benefits, veterans and survivors who are either housebound or require the aid and attendance of another person may be eligible to receive additional monetary amounts.

To qualify for these benefits, a veteran must not only meet certain service and discharge requirements, but financial requirements as well. Application processes can be slow, so it is helpful to have all pertinent documentation (discharge papers, marriage certificate, death certificate, proof of medical expenses, etc.) in order when applying. If you are a veteran, or the widow or child of a veteran, it is worth exploring what you may be entitled to - Pension benefits can be the saving grace in a time of financial difficulty or medical hardship.

We thank veterans for the sacrifices they have made and are continuing to make to preserve our liberty and freedom. Let's make sure that they and their families are taken care of upon returning home.

This article is intended as a summary of federal and state law and does not constitute legal advice.

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