Pension beneficiaries who were receiving a VA pension on
Dec. 31, 1978, and do not wish to elect the Improved Pension will continue to receive the pension rate they were receiving
on that date. This rate generally continues as long as the beneficiary’s income remains within established limits, his
or her net worth does not bar payment, and the beneficiary does not lose any dependents.
These beneficiaries must continue
to meet basic eligibility factors, such as permanent and total disability for veterans, or status as a surviving spouse or
child. VA must adjust rates for other reasons, such as a veteran’s hospitalization in a VA facility.
Military veterans are entitled to certain benefits
from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including healthcare and pension benefits.
Following the death of a military veteran, the VA also pays a survivor pension, also
known as a widow's pension, to qualifying family members.
Is Need Based
The VA widow's pension is payable to families with
relatively low incomes, including both a surviving spouse and unmarried children. In order to qualify, the veteran must meet
the requirements of military service, and the family must meet yearly family income limitations.
To meet the military service requirement, the veteran must generally have wartime
service. For those who served before Sept. 7, 1980, 90 days of active military service is necessary, and at least one of those
days has to have been served during a war-time period. For those entering active duty after Sept. 7, 1980, at least 24 months
of service is necessary unless the full period for which the servicemember was called to active duty was shorter. In addition,
at least one day must have been during a war-time period. In addition, the veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged.
Eligible family members include the surviving spouse,
but benefits end if the surviving spouse remarries. In addition, children of wartime veterans can receive benefits if they
are under 18, under 23 and attending an approved educational institution, or incapable of self-support due to a disability
before reaching age 18.