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Differences Between VA Compensation and Pension

Differences Between VA Compensation and Pension

Compensation and pension are two words that get used frequently in the VA disability space. However, many Veterans fail to recognize the difference between the two. This article will examine what compensation and pension are, and how the differ from each other.

A Veteran can apply for Compensation or Pension because both are based on disability.  This is the reason the examination is called a Compensation and Pension Examination (C&P) or a Comp & Pen Exam.

What is Pension?

Pension is a needs-based program similar to supplemental Social Security Income (SSI). To be eligible for Pension benefits, a Veteran must have wartime service, low income, and total and permanent disability. It is important to note that the total and permanent disability does not need to be service connected.

This is where some Veterans get confused. Many Veterans believe that because they are receiving Pension for a disability that they should be service connected for the condition as well. This is not the case.

What is the Purpose of Pension?

The purpose of pension is to help a disabled, low income, war-time Veteran.  For example, if a Veteran served in Vietnam and is now homeless and is completely disabled due to his back, his back does not have to be service connected. The Basic Eligibility requirements for pension are as follows:

  • Veteran must have a character of discharge higher than dishonorable
  • The Veteran must have 90 days of wartime service; however, this does not mean in a combat zone
  • The Veteran must have limited income, a net worth that does not provide adequate maintenance of care
  • The Veteran must be permanently disabled at the time of the claim, but the disability cannot be due to willful misconduct
  • The Veteran must be 65 or older

A better way to think about pension is to think of it as a program to provide a small amount of financial assistance to older Veterans whose service was during a time of war.  Pension is not a direct relation to their injuries, but an assistance for Veterans

What is Compensation?

Compensation is a monetary payment used to offset the injuries that a Veteran suffered because of their service.  Compensation is directly tied to events, treatment, complaints of, or diagnosis of disabilities that the Veteran would otherwise not have had they not been in the military. Compensation is not based on age, or wartime service, or income.

So, while both compensation and pension are disability related, the function and purpose for both is completely different.

Berry Law – Veterans Disability Lawyers

Berry Law is dedicated to serving fellow Veterans. The team features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and they are well equipped to handle your Veterans disability needs. If you filed a claim for VA disability and were denied or given a lower than expected rating, Berry Law can help you appeal. Contact Berry Law to schedule a free case evaluation with a member of their team today.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law Firm are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

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