The VA has introduced a pension program that is available to all veterans who served during a period of war, regardless if they served 20 years or more. Wartime includes:
Mexican Border period (May 9, 1916, to April 5, 1917, for Veterans who served in Mexico, on its borders, or in adjacent waters)
World War I (April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918)
World War II (December 7, 1941, to December 31, 1946)
Korean conflict (June 27, 1950, to January 31, 1955)
Vietnam War era (February 28, 1961, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period. August 5, 1964, to May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served outside the Republic of Vietnam.)
Gulf War (August 2, 1990, through a future date to be set by law or presidential proclamation)
This pretty much covers a majority of veterans, excepting those who served exclusively in the 1980s (I know, this decade is jinxed). As long as you are a veteran with an honorable discharge, and meet the VA’s income eligibility, at the age of 65 a veteran (or his surviving spouse) can receive a small monthly pension, depending on dependent size and yearly income. There are many variable involved with the payment amounts, but it looks like a married veteran who meets the eligibility requirements can receive around $1200 monthly.
This may not seem to be much in payment, but I remember a time when there were almost no benefits for veterans who did not actually serve in a war zone. They were like the military’s forgotten children. I would hope that the VA would do more for non-combat veterans, especially those who are struggling with employment and housing.
To find out if you qualify, and for more information, please go to the Veteran Administration’s website for pension information at https://www.va.gov/pension/eligibility/