Non-service connected pension + social security


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Asking on behalf of a friend.

He is not rated by the VA for any disability, not even a 10% for tinnitus. He was Vietnam-era and for a few years now has received a non-service connected pension of around $1100/month. For the last couple years he has also received regular social security benefits (neither SSI/SSDI, but old people's social security) which is about $700/month.

Well, I helped him put in for aid and attendance. He was endorsed by all his providers and the decision came back that he was approved. Unfortunately, it appears the VA was unaware that he had been collecting the pension and social security simultaneously and now want a significant amount of money to rectify the overpayment. We have an appointment with our local VSO office in order to file for a waiver, and, failing that, ask for a reasonable payment plan.

I remember the VSO saying over the phone that because my friend is not disabled (he is though, he can barely walk even with a cane and is in his late 60's) social security is considered income. So I am wondering, what if he dropped social security and applied for SSI? He would not have enough work credits for SSDI. Sorry if this is an extremely ignorant question but I'm in my 30's and all my income from the VA is service connected so have basically no experience with the interaction between social security/ssi/non-service connected pension.

Basically I want to see if there's a way for my friend to keep his raise. On the decision letter, it showed that previously his award was $1100 and now is $1800. However, retroactively his award will be $250 or so and going forward his award will have $700 withheld. So it's pretty much the same amount...

Thank you for any help you can provide.


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He can not apply for SSI as I believe he makes too much money from the VA side and I'm not completely sure you can switch between the two programs best option is to hope a waiver goes through typically they grant half of the total to be repaid.


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VA pension is for veterans who are totally disabled with conditions that are not service connected. They may receive Social Security benefits (age) and the pension payments at the same time. Any money you receive from Social Security is counted as income and may reduce the pension amount.

Note: Your pension payment amount is based on the difference between your countable income and a limit that Congress sets (called the Maximum Annual Pension Rate, or MAPR).

VA Pension info LINK<---

Your countable income is how much you earn, including your Social Security benefits, investment and retirement payments, and any income your dependents receive. Some expenses, like non-reimbursable medical expenses (medical expenses not covered by your insurance provider), may reduce your countable income.

Your MAPR amount is the maximum amount of pension payable. Your MAPR is based on how many dependents you have, if you’re married to another Veteran who qualifies for a pension, and if your disabilities qualify you for Housebound or Aid and Attendance benefits. MAPRs are adjusted each year for cost-of-living increases. You can find your current MAPR amount using the tables below.

Example: You’re a qualified Veteran with a dependent, non-Veteran spouse and no children. You also qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits based on your disabilities. You and your spouse have a combined yearly income of $10,000.
Your MAPR amount = $26,766
Your yearly income = $10,000
Your VA pension = $16,766 for the year (or $1,397 paid each month)
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