Periods of War

Military service is classified either as wartime or peacetime service. This distinction is important because there are significant benefits available only to veterans with wartime service. For example, only veterans with wartime service are eligible for non-service-connected disability pension benefits.

The following list identifies the periods of wartime designated by Congress for pension purposes. To be considered by the VA to have served during wartime, a veteran need not have served in a combat zone, but simply during one of these designated periods. All other times are considered peacetime. Even if a majority of a veteran’s service occurred during peacetime, the service member would still meet the wartime service requirement for eligibility for pension benefits if he or she served ninety consecutive days, at least one day of which occurred during a period designated as wartime.

Other service qualifying criteria:

  • Service in the Merchant Marine during World War II counts the same as Naval Service, providing the veteran was at sea for 90 days
  • Women who served in the World War II military, including nurses, qualify as veterans
  • Reserves and National Guard are not qualified unless they served 90 days active Federal duty with 1 day during a period of conflict
  • The 90 days rule is excepted for those who served less than 90 days but were awarded the Purple Heart, suffered a service connected disability, or were killed in the line of duty

Timeliness of ContentBecause of the complexity of applicable VA statutes, regulations, and internal claim development issues, it is impossible to keep this website fully updated at all times. Therefore, we cannot take responsibility for the current accuracy of the information presented here. For the most updated information, please contact a Volunteer Veterans Advocate.

See the dollar amounts for the Aid & Attendance Improved Pension here.

ConflictStart DateEnd Date
Mexican Border Period05/09/191604/05/1917
World War I04/06/191711/11/1918
World War I, Served in Russia04/06/191704/1/1920
World War II12/07/194112/31/1946
World War II Ocean-Going Merchant Marine12/07/194108/15/1946
Korean War06/27/195001/31/1955
Vietnam War (In-Country)02/28/196105/07/1975
Vietnam War (All Service)08/05/196405/07/1975
Lebanon Expeditionary Force08/21/198202/26/1984
Grenada Expeditionary Force10/23/198302/26/1984
Panama Expeditionary Force12/20/19891/31/1990
Persian Gulf War08/02/1990Not determined
Somalia Expeditionary Force09/17/1992Not determined
Operations Joint Endeavor,
Joint Guard & Joint Forge
(Former Yugolsavia)
(Not determined for
Op. Joint Forge)
Global War on Terrorism
(Military Expeditions to Combat Terrorism
as in Afghanistan)
09/11/2001Not determined