I’m a potential adoptive parent. I receive a VA pension in the amount of $1054 per month for a non-service-connected disability. I have no dependents and do not receive any other government benefits. The child I am hoping to adopt receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and will probably receive an enhanced adoption subsidy due to the child’s special needs. I have been told that I will have to count the adoptive child’s SSI and adoption subsidy in my household income, which will make me ineligible for my VA pension. Are there any exceptions that would allow me to keep my pension?


The VA will not count the adopted child’s SSI benefits as part of your household income. The adoption subsidy, however, will be counted. You can request exclusion of the dependent child’s income if it will cause a hardship and the amount excluded is necessary for “reasonable family maintenance.”

VA defines reasonable family maintenance as expenses paid by a veteran and his or her family for basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and other expenses as determined on a case-by-case basis. Medical and education expenses may also be considered.

VA will also consider factors such as whether the child has special needs, whether the adoption payment will go directly to the child, and the veteran’s expenses when deciding whether the hardship exclusion should be granted.

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