Ask SO: What are VA pension facts, farces and pitfalls?

Q: Can you provide some VA pension facts, farces and pitfalls?

A: Let’s start with the facts. VA Pension is a needs based benefit for veterans and eligible dependents. In order to gain entitlement you must be a veteran discharged under other than dishonorable conditions, have wartime service*, be either 65 years of age or permanently disabled and meet VA income requirements. Survivors of veterans who meet eligibility requirements may also be eligible for Survivors Pension. Seek assistance and counseling regarding eligibility and proper filing methods from an accredited veteran service officer. American Legion Service Officers provide service, free of charge and can be found by visiting

* "Wartime service" is defined as serving during a period of war as set forth by the U.S. government and the Veterans Administration. See detailed information here.

The farce. VA Pension is a "hidden government benefit" that you need an attorney or elder financial planner to unlock the mystery of before you can realize the full benefit of the program — this is false. Do not let yourself get caught up in a scam to take your money and not provide you the professional assistance you and your dependents have earned through service to this country. A professional accredited service officer can advise you on your entitlement. The service officer will walk you through the process of filing, following up, reviewing and challenging on legal grounds.

The pitfalls. Due to the recession in America, more veterans and survivors are seeking assistance through the VA Pension program. There are many entities surfacing which would have entitled persons believe they will receive more professional and competent service by retaining the services of a "pension specialist" or attorney. It is simple, if anyone proposes that they or their organization should be paid for providing veterans services, they should not be trusted or utilized. Veterans have earned free assistance and The American Legion, with our extensive veterans service officer network, stands ready to provide competent, professional service free of charge to all eligible persons.

Do you have a question about the claims process or veterans benefits in general for Department of North Carolina Service Officer Cajun Comeau? Send it to