Returning to civilian life as a veteran is challenging – to say the least. From a loss of identity, to health issues, to financial concerns, veterans need support when integrating back into non-military life.

The Veterans’ Improved Pension Plan is one type of support. The Department of Veterans Affairs runs this pension program, which provides benefits to eligible disabled veterans (whose disabilities were not related to their military service). Originally created in 1979, this program has enjoyed different names, such as Section 306 Pension, Old Law Pension, or, simply, Pension.

veterans plan

Keep reading to learn more about the Veterans’ Improved Pension Plan.

  1. Who may apply for these pension benefits?

Disabled veterans, their surviving spouses, or the children of a deceased veteran may apply for these benefits. All applicants must meet specific requirements under the law to receive these pension benefits.

  1. What are the service requirements for this pension benefit?

Like other veterans’ benefits, pension applicants must meet certain requirements before applying for the Improved Pension Plan.  For instance, the applicant must meet the four following requirements:

  • Have veteran status, meaning the veteran served in the “active military, naval, or air service
  • Have at least ninety (90) days of active duty service if their service occurred before 1980 or twenty-four (24) months for service occurring after 1980
  • Have at least one (1) day of active service during a declared wartime period
  • Have a discharge or release other than dishonorable.

3. What if veterans receive these pension benefits as of December 31, 1978?

For disabled veterans receiving a pension on December 31, 1978, don’t have to reapply for pension benefits under the Improved Pension Plan. 

Instead, they will continue to receive their pension benefits at the given rate that they were receiving on December 31, 1978, as long as their income and net worth remain within the established limits and the beneficiary has the same number of dependents. 

The Veterans Administration (VA) may adjust these rates if eligibility changes or for other reasons, such as a VA-facility hospitalization.

4. How are Improved Pension Plan benefits calculated?

Like other benefits, Veterans’ Improved Pension Plan benefits have maximum annual rates. For example, the monthly benefit payment is reduced by the veteran’s countable income as well as any countable income of the spouse and child(ren). 

Further, if the veteran does not have a spouse or child and is being provided health care services at home or in a nursing home, then the monthly benefit is reduced to an amount (not to exceed $90 per month) after three (3) calendar months of care. 

Understanding these limits and reductions is essential when planning for your and your family’s financial future.  Connecting with an experienced veterans’ benefits attorney can advise you on which limits or reductions may apply to you.

Why Retain Losavio & DeJean, LLC? 

Not all attorneys have experience handling veterans’ benefits and claims, so it is important to retain an attorney who understands this specialized field of law. At your initial office consultation with Losavio & DeJean, LLC, you will be interviewed by one of our attorneys to fully understand your needs. 

Contact us today to learn more.