Skip to Content
Your browser is out of date. To use this website, please update your browser or use a different device.
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Pension Benefits Application Process

You can apply online, by mail, or in person for a Veterans pension. Follow these steps to apply for this tax-free benefit.


  • Find out if you qualify. Check your eligibility.
  • Gather the information listed below that you’ll need to fill out your pension application.

What information do I need to apply?

  • Social Security number or VA file number (required)
  • Military history (required)
  • Your financial information and the financial information of your dependents (required)
  • Work history
  • Bank account direct deposit information
  • Medical information

Other ways to apply

By mail
Apply by mail using an Application for Pension (VA Form 21P-527EZ).
Download VA Form 21P-527EZ.

In person
Bring your application to a regional benefit office near you.
Find a regional benefit office.

With the help of a trained professional
You can work with a trained professional called an accredited representative to get help applying for VA pension benefits.
Get help filing a claim.

Find out how to apply for a survivors pension.

How long does it take VA to make a decision?

It depends. We process claims in the order we receive them, unless a claim requires priority processing.

If I start my pension application, does VA consider this “intent to file”?

No. Simply starting your pension application doesn’t show your intent to file. You’ll need to submit an intent to file form, which sets the effective date (the day you can start getting your benefits). Then you can focus on gathering supporting documents to turn in with your pension application. If you submit an intent to file before you file your claim, you may be able to get retroactive payments (money you’ll get starting from your effective date).

How do I submit an intent to file form?

Download, fill out, and submit an Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC (VA Form 21-0966).
Download VA Form 21-0966.

Turn in your form in any of these ways: