Military retirement benefits are those received by service members who retire from active duty or from reserve service. This retirement pays a monthly taxable benefits to retired military and their spouses to assist them with cost of retirement.
VA pension is a different program than military retirement. Although it bears the name “pension,” it is not a retirement benefit. Rather, it is a program that pays monthly tax free cash to veterans and their widows. Unlike military retirement, the veteran does not need extended service in the military to qualify. The only service requirements are that the veteran served at least 90 days on active duty, that one of the days on active duty was during a period of war time, and the veteran received a discharge that was other than dishonorable.
It is possible for a veteran or their surviving spouse to receive both military retirement and VA pension. Many veterans and surviving spouses who receive military retirement do not inquire into the availability. In many cases, if the veteran or their surviving spouse needs long term care, they will be able to receive VA Pension to cover some of the cost. An experienced elder law attorney can guide you through the often confusing rules around qualifying for VA pension.