VETERANS AFFAIRS: Wartime service top factor for non-service disability pension
Veterans must have served at least one day during a period of war to be eligible for benefits.

By Paul Hiott, correspondent
October 5, 2002

One of the most common benefits veterans apply for is non-service connected disability pension. There are several eligibility factors, but one of the most crucial is the veteran must have served at least one day of active duty during a period of war.

For benefit purposes, wartime service is specified by law as:

Mexican Border Period: May 9, 1916-April 5, 1917, for veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders or in adjacent waters.

World War I: April 6, 1917-Nov. 11, 1918; for veterans who served in Russia, April 6, 1917-April 1, 1920.

World War II: Dec. 7, 1941-Dec. 31, 1946.

Korean War: June 27, 1950-Jan. 31, 1955.

Vietnam: Those who served in country, Feb. 28, 1961-1964; and those who served in any post, Aug. 5, 1964-May 7, 1975.

Persian Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation.

Benefit Description: Non-service connected disability pension provides financial support to wartime veterans who have a limited income.

The payment amount depends on the type and amount of income you and your spouse receive from other sources.

Payments are made to you to bring your total annual income, including other retirement and Social Security income, to an established support level. Countable income can be reduced by unreimbursed medical expenses.

Eligibility: Veterans must have 90 days or more of active duty service under honorable conditions, of which at least one day must have occurred during a period of war. Veterans can qualify with less than 90 days if discharged for a disability in the line of duty.

You must have a disability that VA evaluates as permanent and total. For VA pension purposes, permanent and total means it is not likely that you will be able to maintain a substantially gainful job. Unemployability and age are factors also considered in VA's eligibility decision.

How to apply


Visit your local county veteran service office. Together with a veteran service officer, you will complete the necessary forms. The following supporting evidence and/or documents should be submitted with your application:

Medical records: Medical records to provide a diagnosis and prognosis of your medical condition and to substantiate any and all treatment by private doctors and hospitals.

Dependency documents: Original or copies of birth and marriage certificates and copies of relevant divorce or death records.

Military Discharge/DD Form 214: Applicants who have a copy of their DD-214 are encouraged to provide a copy with their claim to expedite processing.

Otherwise, VA will attempt to obtain verification from the service department. Copies of missing DD-214s can be obtained from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis.



VA Benefits Seminar: Are you receiving all the benefits you are entitled to as a veteran? This seminar is designed to help you, the veteran or surviving spouse with information regarding federal benefits. Two dates are set for Wednesday, Oct. 16, and Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Location is Brighton Gardens, 1699 S.E. Lyngate Drive, Port St. Lucie.

There is no charge, but seating is limited. Reservations should be made by Oct. 11. For more information, call 335-9990 as seating is limited for both seminars.



Martin County Veterans Council meetings take place the second Wednesday of the month in the commission chambers at the Martin County Administrative Center, 2401 Monterey Road, Stuart.



St. Lucie County Veterans Advisory Council meetings are conducted the second Friday of the month in Conference Room 3, 3rd floor of the Roger Poitras Administration Annex Building, 2300 Virginia Ave., Fort Pierce.



Numbers to call for transportation and other veteran services are: St. Lucie County, 871-5416; Martin County, 288-5450 for transportation or 288-5448 for benefit information; Indian River County, 567-8000, ext. 499.


Paul J. Hiott is the veterans services director for St. Lucie County. Staff members are Jim Magee, Mike Seniuk, Helen Simpson, Donna Carlsen, Eileen Hagerhorst and Patti Klar.

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