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How to apply for a VA pension as a Veteran

Find out how to apply for tax-free VA pension benefits as a Veteran.

How do I prepare before starting my application?

You’ll need this information

  • Social Security number or VA file number (required)
  • Military history (required)
  • Your financial information and the financial information of your dependents (required)
  • Work history
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • Medical information

Note: In 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis destroyed records held for Veterans who were discharged from the Army and Air Force during certain periods of time. Your records may have been destroyed in the fire if you were discharged from the Army between November 1, 1912, and January 1, 1960, or if you were discharged from the Air Force between September 25, 1947, and January 1, 1964. If you think your records may have been involved in this fire, find out how to get help filing a claim

Checking your application status.

You can also apply:

By mail

Fill out an Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
Download VA Form 21P-527EZ (PDF)

Mail the completed form to the pension management center (PMC):

Department of Veterans Affairs
Pension Intake Center
PO Box 5365
Janesville, WI 53547-5365

In person

Bring your application to a VA regional office near you.
Find your nearest VA regional office

With the help of a trained professional

You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA pension benefits.
Get help filing your claim

Find out how to apply for a Survivors Pension

How long does it take VA to make a decision?

It depends. We process claims in the order we receive them, unless a claim requires priority processing.

If I start my pension application, does VA consider this “intent to file”?

No. Simply starting your VA pension application doesn’t show your intent to file. You’ll need to submit an intent to file form, which sets the effective date (the day you can start getting your benefits). Then you can focus on gathering supporting documents to turn in with your pension application. If you submit an intent to file before you file your claim, you may be able to get retroactive payments (money you’ll get starting from your effective date).

Note: If you apply online for pension benefits, you still need to separately submit an intent to file. 

How do I submit an intent to file?

You can submit your intent to file by phone or by written form. 

By phone

Call 800-827-1000, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET.   

By submitting a form

Download, fill out, and submit an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966).
Download VA Form 21-0966 (PDF)

Turn in your form in any of these ways:

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