Pension Act 1887, 1890

Union Sldiers
The Pension Act called for giving a pension to all honorably discharged veterans who had served at least 90 days, and who had depended on manual labor to earn a living. The bill was vetoed by President Cleveland who claimed the pension would become a roll of fraud, rather than a roll of honor.


The issue of Civil War pensions was an ongoing issue. In 1862 the first pension act was passed that granted Civil War soldiers who could show they were disabled a pension. Initially you had to receive apply within one year of the disability or else you only received the pensions from the time you apply. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) made up mostly of Union veterans lobbied to improve the pensions benefits. In 1887 a pension act was passed that granted a pension to any Civil War veteran who was not able to do manual labor. The original bill gave a flat rate of $12 a month to every veteran who qualified, retroactively to when they were entitled to it. That bill was vetoed by Cleveland. In the 1888 election the GAR supported Cleveland’s opponent Benjamin Harrison and their support was critical to his victory. The new bill passed in 1890 and signed by Harrison gave recipients a range of $6 to $12 depending on the amount of disability.