Although many of you are, or can become, eligible for Non-Service Connected Pension Benefits (most commonly, Pension plus Aid & Attendance), there are many who would be better off applying for Service Connected Compensation. However, in order to ascertain which benefit would be best for you, one must fully understand SC compensation benefits.
Unlike NSC pension claims, there is no asset or income limitation for SC compensation (with the exception of a parent’s claim). For this reason, it may be possible to still obtain benefits for those clients with excessive assets who would not qualify for pension.
For veterans who are already receiving SC compensation, one should look at the rating of the disability and the amount that the veteran is receiving.
The general rule of thumb is: If the veteran is rated 85% or more and is receiving close to or more than pension would pay, the veteran should at least consider filing for an increase in SC compensation over pension.
Even in cases where the veteran is rated 100%, it may be possible to get additional VA money in the form of Special Monthly Compensation (SMC).
Veteran compensation claims generally take longer to process than pension claims; therefore, when in doubt, it may be best to apply for pension for those eligible veterans. Once the pension is awarded, the veteran can always submit a second claim for compensation and if approved, the VA will award whichever claim pays the most.