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Are National Guard Members and Reservists Eligible for VA Disability Compensation?

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The short answer to this question is: yes!  Members of the National Guard and reservists may qualify for VA disability compensation.  Qualifying for disability compensation requires some amount of active duty service time, though.

For members of the National Guard or reservists, qualifying service time includes periods of active duty service, which many reservists and National Guard members experience over the course of their careers.  Deployment during war-time is one type of active duty.

National Guard members may also qualify to receive VA disability compensation benefits through full-time National Guard duty, like emergency response to a national emergency.

When members of the National Guard or reservists are activated by a state rather than by the federal government, this period of state service does not count towards active duty benefits available through the VA because it is service to a state rather than to the federal government, and this service is paid out of state funds.

If a member of the National Guard or a reservist has completed an active duty service commitment, he or she may be eligible for VA disability compensation if the disability was the result of an injury or disease incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during active duty or active duty for training.

When a member of the National Guard or a reservist is injured during inactive duty training, he or she may only be eligible for VA disability compensation if the disability is the result of an injury, a heart attack, or a stroke.  So, the types of conditions compensated for injuries experienced during inactive duty training are very specific.

In addition to the above listed requirements, to qualify for VA disability compensation, a National Guard member or reservist must be at least 10% disabled by the condition for which the member is claiming compensation.  The individual’s discharge must also be “under other than dishonorable conditions.”