Pension vs Compensation - How to file claims

Posted on: Wednesday, December 01, 2010
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Pension vs Compensation - How to file claims


I am presently applying for a VA pension via VA Form 21-4138; are there any samples of successful letters to the VA Adjudicator that one might use as a guide for layout or perhaps a template of some type?

Perhaps a list of what the VA Adjudicator looks for when reviewing a veterans application? Anything that might point me in the right direction; I simply have no idea what information is pertinent to this application.


The 2148 is used for a statement to support a claim, not a form used to make a claim.

If you are applying for a pension, you must first file a VA Form 21-526. That same form may be used to file for disability compensation. The 2148 may then be used to make your statement to support the goal of the 21-526.

There is a difference between pension and compensation. Let's be sure you understand which you are seeking. Pension applies to low income veterans who are 100% disabled by non-service connected conditions and compensation is for veterans who have service connected conditions.

All the information requested is pertinent to the application. Nothing is particularly more important than something else. If you're seeking pension, your accurate reporting of the requested financial details is critical. If you are applying for disability compensation, the presentation of evidence that an event occurred in service is an important detail.

Information is available to assist you in a variety of places around the Internet. Click these links to learn more about how to file claims.

I use a standard format to write all letters to our VA.

01/01/2011 VIA Certified Mail, RRR

Department of Veterans Affairs
VA Regional Office
1234 Anywhere Street
PO Box 12345-9876
VA City, VA State
ZIP 09876-4321

Reference: Your Name

Your Relevant Numbers

Dear Sir/Madame;

I am writing you to (request an increase in my existing benefit, tell you that this is my Notice of Disagreement with a decision, advise you that I have added a dependent through marriage or childbirth, wish to make an additional claim, ask for a personal hearing, request a copy of my folder, or whatever you want to resolve with the VA.)

Thank you for your kind consideration of my request.

Respectfully submitted,


Your Name
Email Address
Telephone Number(s)

The keys to a successful letter are few and easy; Keep it short, keep it simple and keep it courteous.

You’ll find more hints about getting your claim done correctly here;

Complete Mailbag


Submitted by kcaldwell on Wed, 2010-12-08 16:08

Thanks, Jim. The sample letter form is very useful.