Can the VA Take Away Your Disability Pension?

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The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the administration that the government denoted to take care of the affairs of veterans. One of the services they provide is assistance to disabled veterans. Some veterans acquired their disabilities after their military service, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t eligible to receive VA disability benefits. They can receive a pension, which is for veterans who have a non-service-connected disability and a low income.

Incarceration

If a veteran becomes incarcerated for more than 61 days, then he will lose his pension. The VA will not continue to pay a veteran who is incarcerated for a longer length of time because a pension’s purpose is to assist low-income disabled veterans with their living expenses. If he is incarcerated, then he has no living expenses and, therefore, no need for a pension. Upon release of incarceration, a veteran can apply to have his pension reinstated although the length of time it may take the VA to do so may vary.

Death

A veteran’s benefits stop upon her death. She may have family remaining, but because the benefits were in her name, her family cannot continue to draw her pension. Instead the family can notify the VA of the veteran’s death, provide a copy of her birth certificate and then apply for survivor’s benefits.

Re-entrance into Active-Duty Military

Veterans cannot draw a pension while they are serving in active-duty military. The VA determines that if a veteran’s disabilities are not so severe as to keep him from serving in the military, then he has no need of a pension. Alternatively, even if the veteran has a mental disability and chooses to serve in the military physically, his pension will stop.

Overpayment of Pension

A veteran’s pension is based upon her family’s countable income. Her spouse’s income and dependents’ income factor into what is considered her family’s countable income. Any change in any member of her family’s income should be reported to the VA immediately. If she continues to receive her pension benefits at the same rate when her family’s countable income has increased, then she will be overpaid. In some cases, the VA will simply reduce her monthly benefits until the debt is paid back, but in others they may choose to simply stop the benefits altogether.

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