Skip to Content
Your browser is out of date. To use this website, please update your browser or use a different device.
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

2020 VA protected disability and death pension rates

You may be eligible for protected rates if you began receiving VA disability or death pension payments before December 31, 1978, and you haven’t elected to change to the current, improved pension program. This means you’ll be able to continue receiving payments at the rates under the old program as well as a cost-of-living increase. Find out if you’re eligible, and view 2020 rates.

On this page

How we determine if you’re eligible for protected rates

Section 306 disability pension rates

Section 306 death pension rates

Section 306 survivor benefit plan annuity limitation

Old law disability pension rates

Old law death pension rates

Old law survivor benefit plan annuity limitation

Historic rates

How we determine if you’re eligible for protected rates

To qualify for protected rates, your yearly income for 2019 must be at or below a certain amount. This is called the income limit. We count as income any money you earn in a year, including your salary, investment and retirement payments, and any income from your dependents. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (paid medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may work in your favor to reduce your countable income.

We base your income limit on:

  • The specific pension benefits you’re eligible to receive (including added amounts for Aid and Attendance), and
  • Whether or not you have eligible dependents, and
  • Your yearly income

Eligible dependents

Eligible dependents may include your spouse. We recognize same-sex and common-law marriages.

Dependents may also include any biological, step, or adopted children you may have who are unmarried and meet at least one of the requirements listed below.

At least one of these must be true for a dependent child. The child is unmarried and:

  • Is under 18 years old, or
  • Is between 18 and 23 years old and enrolled in a qualifying school full time, or
  • Was seriously disabled before age 18 and is unable to care for themselves

Section 306 disability pension rates 

Effective December 1, 2019

This non-service-connected pension program was available from July 1, 1960, through December 31, 1978.  

Section 306 disability pension yearly income limits for Veterans with dependents
Pension benefit 2019 yearly income limit
Basic monthly payment for a Veteran only (no spouse or dependent children) Your yearly income must be $15,641 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Special Aid and Attendance allowance, if your income is more than $15,641 Your yearly income must be $16,204 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Hospital reduction rate for Special Aid and Attendance, if you’re hospitalized on or after January 1, 2019 Your yearly income must be $16,204 or less to continue receiving this benefit.

Note: The hospital reduction rate is a reduced rate of Special Aid and Attendance that we pay if you’re hospitalized and meet certain requirements. 
Read the full Title 38 regulations for hospital reduction rates

Section 306 disability pension yearly income limits for Veterans without dependents
Pension benefit 2019 yearly income limit
Basic monthly payment for a Veteran with a spouse or one or more dependent children Your yearly income must be $21,024 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Special Aid and Attendance allowance, if your income is more than $21,024 Your yearly income must be $21,585 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Hospital reduction rates for Special Aid and Attendance, if you’re hospitalized on or after January 1, 2019 Your yearly income must be $21,585 or less to continue receiving this benefit.

Notes:

  • The hospital reduction rate is a reduced rate of Special Aid and Attendance that we pay if you’re hospitalized and meet certain requirements. 
    Read the full Title 38 regulations for hospital reduction rates
  • If you’re married, we also include some of your spouse’s income when we determine if your yearly income is at or below the income limit. The current Section 306 disability pension spouse income exclusion limit is $4,995. This means that we won’t include the first $4,995 of your spouse’s yearly income, but we’ll include any amount above this unless you provide evidence that you don’t have access to this income or that including it would cause you financial hardship. 
    Read the full Title 38 regulations for the spouse income exclusion

Section 306 disability pension monthly payments

If you qualify for a protected rate, we’ll pay you the monthly payment amount you were entitled to on December 31, 1978, plus a cost-of-living increase each year. The cost-of-living increase for this year is 1.6%.

Section 306 death pension rates

Effective December 1, 2019

This non-service-connected pension program was available from July 1, 1960, through December 31, 1978.  

Section 306 death pension yearly income limits
Survivor status 2019 yearly income limit
Surviving spouse alone (no dependent children) Your yearly income must be $15,641 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Surviving spouse with one or more dependent children Your yearly income must be $21,024 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Each surviving dependent child, if the Veteran has no surviving spouse Your yearly income must be $12,789 or less to continue receiving this benefit.

Section 306 death pension monthly payments

If you qualify for a protected rate, we’ll pay you the monthly payment amount you were entitled to on December 31, 1978, plus a cost-of-living increase each year. The cost-of-living increase for this year is 1.6%.

Section 306 survivor benefit plan annuity limitation

Effective December 1, 2019

An annuity is a fixed sum of money paid to the plan’s beneficiary each year. If you’re part of a Section 306 survivor benefit plan (also called the “minimum income widow” provision), we’ll pay you up to $9,224 this year. This rate includes a 1.6% cost-of-living increase.


Old law disability pension rates 

Effective December 1, 2019

This non-service-connected pension program was available before July 1, 1960. 

Old law disability pension yearly income limits
Veteran status 2019 yearly income limit
Veteran alone (no spouse or dependent children) Your yearly income must be $13,696 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Veteran with a spouse or one or more dependent children Your yearly income must be $19,740 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Old law disability pension monthly payments
Pension benefit Monthly payment
(in U.S. $)
Basic Veteran pension 66.15
Pension for Veteran with 10 years of service or who is at least 65 years old 78.75
Aid and Attendance (if entitled) 135.45
Housebound allowance (if entitled) 100.00

Note: The rates listed above include a 1.6% cost-of-living increase for this year.

Old law death pension rates

Effective December 1, 2019

This non-service-connected pension program was available before July 1, 1960. 

Old law death pension yearly income limits
Survivor status 2019 income limit
Surviving spouse alone (no children) Your yearly income must be $13,696 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Each surviving dependent child, when the Veteran has no surviving spouse Your yearly income must be $13,696 or less to continue receiving this benefit.
Surviving spouse with one or more children Your yearly income must be $19,740 or less to continue receiving this benefit.

Old law death pension monthly payments

If you’re eligible for the protected rate for the old law death pension, we’ll pay the rate you were entitled to on December 31, 1978, plus a cost-of-living increase each year. The cost-of-living increase for this year is 1.6%.

Old law survivor benefit plan annuity limitation

Effective December 1, 2019

An annuity is a fixed sum of money paid to the plan’s beneficiary each year. If you’re the beneficiary of an old law death pension survivor benefit plan (also called the “minimum income widow” provision), we’ll pay you up to $9,224 for the year. This includes a 1.6% cost-of-living increase for this year.


Historic rates

Review protected pension rates from past years:

2019 rates (effective December 1, 2018) 
2018 rates (effective December 1, 2017)
2017 rates (effective December 1, 2016)

Last updated: