The VA program known as “VA Pension” or “Aid and Attendance” requires active military service during a wartime period. This is a non-service connected disability, that can help pay for costs of care at home or in a care facility.
This active duty wartime service does not need to have been served in a combat zone or even overseas. The service simply must have been during one of the periods Congress has designated as a period of war. The veteran must have served at least 90 consecutive days, and at least one of those days must have been during a wartime period.
The dates of wartime starting with World War II are as follows:
World War II: December 7, 1941 through December 31, 1946.
Korean War: June 27, 1950 through January 31, 1955.
Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 through May 7, 1975. However, this could be as early as February 28, 1961 for a veteran who served in the Republic of Vietnam prior to the official dates of the war. (Note: Vietnam veterans with service in Vietnam also need to understand how the VA’s Compensation program can help if you develop any of the illnesses associated with Agent Orange, including type 2 diabetes, prostate and certain other types of cancers, and certain types of heart disease.)
Persian Gulf War: August 2, 1990 through a date to be prescribed by Presidential proclamation or law. The period is still ongoing until that time.
There are some period of conflicts that Congress has not chosen to designate as wartime. For example, Congress has not made wartime service the periods covered by the 1983-1984 Lebanon conflict or the invasions of Grenada and Panama.
For veterans who served on active duty outside of these wartime periods, there may be other benefits available.