Discharge, Active Duty and Service Requirements

In addition to asset and income limits, to be eligible for VA Pension a veteran must also have been discharged from service under conditions other than dishonorable. The veteran must be permanently and totally disabled or must be age 65 or older. The veteran must have served 90 days or more of active duty, and at least one day of the veteran’s service must have been during a specific period of war.  Under current law, VA recognizes the following wartime periods to determine eligibility for VA Pension benefits:

  • Mexican Border Period (May 9, 1916 – April 5, 1917 for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or adjacent waters)
  • World War I (April 6, 1917 – November 11, 1918)
  • World War II (December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946)
  • Korean conflict (June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955)
  • Vietnam era (February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975 for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period; otherwise August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975)
  • Gulf War (August 2, 1990 – through a future date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation)

Even if you or your loved one didn’t serve during these specified periods, you should submit an application for VA benefits.  There are a number of unpublished “exceptions” before or after these exact dates that will still allow benefits to be granted.


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