United States veterans are entitled to many benefits. So complex are these benefits that even the VA fails to communicate all the available options to the veterans. The least accessed public benefit in our Federal Government today is the veteran pension benefit. This benefit is available to veterans who served at least one day during a defined period of war with a total of 90 consecutive days of active duty and were discharged with other than a dishonorable discharge. The pension is not a "service connected” disability benefit. The benefit is to support "disabled” veterans or their widows/widowers who have low income and resources. Conveniently, once a veteran reaches age 65, they are automatically classified as "disabled.” This benefit can be a basic pension or may be enhanced if the veteran is home bound or requires aid and attendance for personal support at home, in assisted living or for nursing care.
"Service Connected disability” payments are due to veterans who were injured while on active duty or affected by their service causing disability. Today, there are many "presumptive” conditions classified by the VA which automatically qualify vets for disability payments. Some examples are hearing problems from firing rifles or heavy arms. Hearing loss may be compensated by hearing aid awards. Agent Orange presumptions result from "in country” service in Viet Nam that manifests as Parkinson’s tremors or heart disease. There are many such uncompensated claims waiting to be addressed if only applied for.
Spousal benefits should also be considered.