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How are pension benefits and disability compensation different?

These VA benefits have different eligibility requirements and criteria for determining payment amounts.

Pension benefits are for Veterans who served during wartime. Eligibility is based on financial need. This is what we consider when determining eligibility:

  • Your and your dependents’ net worth and annual income, and
  • Your age or the severity of any disability you may have (it doesn’t have to be service connected)

Your income determines the amount of your pension payments.

Disability compensation is for Veterans with service-connected disabilities who served during wartime, peacetime, or both. Eligibility is based on the type and severity of disability. It isn’t based on net worth or income level.

Your level of disability (your disability rating) determines the amount of your disability compensation.

Note: You can’t get VA pension payments and disability compensation at the same time. If you apply for and are eligible for both, we’ll pay you whichever benefit is the greater amount.

VA benefits

  • Disability

    File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time.

  • Pension

    Apply for monthly payments for wartime Veterans and survivors with limited or no income who meet certain age and disability requirements.

Need more help?

  • VA benefits hotline:
  • MyVA411 main information line:
  • Telecommunications Relay Services (using TTY) TTY: 711