Qualified veterans and their spouses could be getting a small monthly pension through The Department of Veterans Affairs and thousands don't even know about it. The pension is different from VA disability compensation and offers a monthly cash payment to low-income, disabled veterans and spouses.

"We do a lot of meetings and orientations with the social workers at nursing home and assisted living facilities," explained Susan Krawchyk, Executive Director with the Mahoning County Veteran's Service Commission. "So, they're very familiar with it. This program is trying to reach the people who may not be in a facility."

The program is income based, where the department evaluates your gross household income per year and your assets.

The Department of Veterans Affairs takes a look at the veteran's nature of discharge, assets and income, dates and length of service, wartime service, including at least one day during wartime and personal eligibility.

"Sometimes we'll get calls, for example, "My husband didn't serve in Vietnam or in Korea.' They didn't have to. They just had to have served during that particular time period," Krawchyk explained. 

The pension is determined by a veteran's maximum annual pension rate minus the amount of income they have. 

The recipient must meet one of these criteria:

  1. Age 65 or older
  2. Have a permanent and total disability
  3. Be a patient in a nursing home for long-term care because of a disability
  4. Be receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

"It could be a change in their life situation to have a little bit more money in their pocket or if someone is struggling deciding should I put mom or dad into an assisted living facility, at least they'll know there is some help out there," Krawchyk said. 

If you or someone you know is eligible for these funds, visit The Department of Veterans Affairs website or give them a call. All of that information is also listed on our 21 News App.