Eligibility for Mesothelioma VA Pension Benefits
VA pensions are considered supplemental income. They are tax-free financial benefits that disabled vets may be eligible for above other regular income sources. But, there are restrictions on qualifying for mesothelioma VA pension benefits.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Countable Income: This refers to a veteran’s current financial situation. Applicants must disclose all income sources such as other pension monies, earnings from employment, and any interest or dividends from savings or investments. How much money a veteran makes affects their pension rate (how much money the pension will pay). Low-income veterans receive more pension.
- Net Worth: Disability pension applicants also have to disclose their entire net worth including stocks, bonds, and mutual fund annuities. Real estate holdings are also assessed, however, personal residences are excluded from a net worth calculation.
- Honorably Discharged: Military veterans must be honorably discharged from their military branch to qualify for pension benefits. The length of service is not the main factor. It’s the performance level that matters. Veterans who were dishonorably discharged are not eligible to apply for any VA compensation or healthcare benefits under any circumstances. That includes disability pensions.
- Service Documents: Veterans must have documented support that they were employed by a military department. This can be discharged papers, service certificates, or government-issued identification. It’s helpful to have records showing service occupations and posting locations that coincide with how the disability developed.
- Medical Proof: Applicants for supplementary pension benefits must prove they have a medically-diagnosed disability. Normally, this support comes from a primary physician providing VA with a report outlining their patient’s medical history and diagnostic assessment. It should include a summary of how the disability developed, how it currently affects the claimant, and what the long-term prognosis is.
- Age Requirement: Veterans who apply for the VA pension benefit program must be 65 or older. There are exceptional cases for younger veterans who are totally and permanently disabled, are in nursing care homes, blind, or already receive insufficient Social Security or Supplementary income.
- Wartime Service: This is a fine-print condition in the Veterans Affairs eligibility guidelines. This clause is complex and states that veterans applying for certain disability pension benefits must have served at least 90 days of active duty with a minimum of one inclusive day being during a designated wartime period. This regulation also makes a date reference to before and after September 7, 1980. Non-wartime veterans who are considering applying for disability pension benefits should get independent advice about how this wartime service clause can impact their pension plans.
- Disability Degree: VA administration considers a veteran applicant’s degree of disability in assessing pension benefit eligibility. This includes a veteran’s mobility restrictions such as being housebound or bedridden. Vets who require personal home care may be eligible for Aid & Attendance compensation on top of supplementary pension payments.
- Length of Service: Monthly pensions are paid to honorably discharged military service members who completed a minimum specified service length. These veterans earn monthly compensation amounts based on how long they spent in the service and what their annual income amounted to.
Veterans should speak to a VA-accredited claims agent to learn more about these requirements and how they impact VA pensions.
VA Survivors Pension & Mesothelioma
If a veteran with mesothelioma passes away, their dependents may be entitled to receive what is called the VA survivors pension.
The veteran must not have been dishonorably discharged for their dependents to receive this payment.
The dependents must also meet certain criteria based on their:
- Marital status
- Income/net worth
This monthly payment is calculated based on the difference between the dependents’ income, their overall net worth, and the MAPR.
The most important qualifying factor for receiving the VA survivors pension dictates that spouses and children must not be remarried or married after the veteran has passed.
Dependent children must also be under the age of 18 unless attending school — in this case, they may be eligible to continue to receive benefits until the age of 23.
If the spouse of a deceased veteran has no children dependents, they are eligible to receive an MAPR of $9,344. If the spouse has one dependent child the MAPR changes to $12,229.
Other benefit entitlements may also affect pension rates.