National Guard & Reserve Benefits

Types of Benefits
  • Burial Benefits
  • Dependent and Survivor Benefits
  • Disability Benefits
  • Education & Training Benefits
  • Home Loans
  • Life Insurance
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
Eligibility for Reservists/National Guard Members
  • The primary factor in determining basic eligibility to VA benefits is veteran status, which is established by active military, naval, or air service and a discharge or release from active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Reservists who served on active duty establish veterans status and may therefore be eligible for VA benefits, depending on the length of active service under conditions other than dishonorable.
  • Reservists who served on active duty establish veteran status and may therefore be eligible for VA benefits, depending on the length of active military service and the character of discharge or release. In addition, reservists who are never called to active duty may qualify for some VA benefits.
  • National Guard members can establish eligibility for VA benefits only if the President activated them for federal duty.
Health Care
Generally, veterans must be enrolled to receive heath care services. Reservists and National Guard members activated for federal duty can qualify for a number of health care services provided by VA:
  • Hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy, and prosthetic services
  • Domiciliary, nursing home, and community-based residential care
  • Sexual trauma counseling
  • Specialized health care for women veterans
  • Health and rehabilitation programs for homeless veterans
  • Readjustment counseling
  • Alcohol and drug dependency treatment
  • Medical evaluation for military service exposure, including Gulf War, Agent Orange, Ionizing Radiation, and certain other environmental hazards.
Health Care for Combat Veterans
VA has extended health care benefits for combat veterans. In 1998, VA was authorized to provide a broad range of health care services to U.S. veterans who served on active duty in a theater of combat operations during a period of war after the Persian Gulf War or in combat against a hostile force during a period of hostilities after November 11, 1998.

Such veterans are eligible for 2 years after leaving the military for VA hospital care, medical services, and nursing home care for any illness, even if there is insufficient medical evidence to conclude that their illness was a result of their combat service.

Disability Benefits
VA administers 2 disability programs. Both benefit programs are tax free:
  • Compensation - VA pays monthly benefits for disabilities incurred or aggravated during active duty and active duty for training.
  • Pension - This income-based benefit is paid to veterans with honorable war-time service who are permanently and totally disabled (or age 65 or older).
Education & Training
Selected Reserve and National Guard members may be entitled to up to 36 months of benefits under the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606). To qualify, the participant must:
  • Have a 6-year obligation to serve in the Selected Reserve or National Guard (officers must agree to serve 6 years in addition to the original obligation
  • Have completed initial active duty for training
  • Meet the requirements to receive a high school diploma or equivalency certificate before applying for benefits, and
  • Remain in good standing while serving in a Selected Reserve or National Guard unit.
Benefit entitlement ends 10 years from the date of eligibility for the program, or on the date of separation from service. Members whose eligibility began on or after October 1, 1992, have 14 years. If activated under Title 10, the eligibility period is extended by the time on active duty plus 4 months. A separate extension applies for each activation. An extension is not available if activated under U.S.C. Title 32.

Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment
Service-disabled veterans may qualify for rehabilitation and employment assistance including: job search, vocational evaluation, career exploration, vocational training, education, and rehabilitation services. If enrolled in an education or training program, VA will pay for the participant's tuition, fees, books, tools, and other program expenses as well as provide a monthly living allowance.

VA Life Insurance

National Guard and Reserve Personnel are eligible to receive Service members' Group Life Insurance (SGLI), Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI), and Family Group Life Insurance (FGLI).

Home Loan Guaranty
VA guarantees loans to purchase a home, manufactured home, certain types of condominiums OR to build, repair, and improve homes. This benefit may be used to refinance an existing home loan. Certain disabled veterans can receive grants to have their home specially adapted to their needs. Basic eligibility requirements are as follows.

Selected Reserve or National Guard
When eligibility is based on reserve service, the individual must have completed 6 years of honorable service. If he/she was discharged due to service-connected disability, the required service time could be less.

Active Duty
When eligibility is based on current active duty service, eligibility begins after 181 days of active service (or 90 days during the Gulf War) unless discharged or separated from a previous qualifying period of active duty service.

Burial Benefits
Burial benefits for veterans may include a grave site in any of our 120 national cemeteries with available space, opening and closing of the grave, perpetual care, a Government headstone or marker, a grave liner for casketed remains, a burial flag, and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, at no cost to the family.

A U.S. flag for burial purposes is issued for individuals who complete at least one enlistment in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, or who was discharged due to service-connected disability or whose death was the result of service. A flag can also be issued for individuals who at the time of death were eligible for retirement pay based on Selected Reserve or National Guard Service, or would have been entitled had the member attained age 60.