You don’t have to be a combat veteran to be eligible for VA disability. Here are the cases where reservists are also qualified to get VA disability.
Veterans can recover significant benefits from the VA if they suffer from service-related medical conditions. These benefits help the former military members support themselves and their families.
Reservists sometimes wonder whether they qualify for the same benefits as other service members. Unlike military members who may spend many years of their lives in service as part of their full-time careers, reservists train less frequently and only serve in specific circumstances. Reservists, therefore, often have other careers apart from the military.
When it comes time to serve, though, reservists are on call and will make many of the same sacrifices as full-time soldiers. Reservists must leave their loved ones to work in dangerous conditions during wartime, riots, or other crises. For example, in 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait, tens of thousands of Reserves served as liberating forces. Those soldiers were some of the first on-site as well as the last to leave at the end of the mission.
Fortunately, many of those reservists are eligible to receive VA disability benefits. However, there are extra conditions for reservists. Taking the time to understand these conditions will help prevent you from missing out on VA benefits.
If you are a former reservist and have suffered injuries related to your time serving in the military, you may be eligible to recover VA disability benefits. If you have questions about your rights and benefits, call an experienced VA disability benefits lawyer.
In This Article About Reservists and VA Disability Benefits:
- Who Does the Military Consider a Veteran for VA Disability Purposes?
- Differences Between the National Guard and the Reserves
- When Can Reservists Get VA Disability Benefits?
- Technician Service Benefits Eligibility
- What is VA Disability Compensation?
- VA Disability Payment Amounts
- VA Disability and Joining the Reserves
- VA Disability and Reserve Pay
- Are There Other VA Benefits Available to Reservists?
Who Does the Military Consider a Veteran for VA Disability Purposes?
When it comes to veteran status, Title 38 United States Code states that anyone who engaged in active military service is a veteran as long as they did not receive a dishonorable discharge. The most basic form of veteran status includes individuals who served full-time in the military.
Anyone who has completed active service of at least two years in any of the following branches will fall under the legal definition of a veteran:
- Air Force
- Coast Guard
- Marine Corps
Although these individuals will automatically qualify if they complete their service and receive an honorable discharge, other individuals can also benefit from veteran status. Under certain circumstances, members of the National Guard and the Reserves can also qualify as veterans for VA disability benefits.
Differences Between the National Guard and the Reserves
The National Guard does not serve under the federal government. Instead, individual states control the National Guard within their territories. As such, members of the Air National Guard and Army National Guard are not technically serving in the United States military branches.
Members of the National Guard attend training on the weekend each month and another 15 days of full-time training each year. In the event of an emergency, state governors can call National Guard members to duty. The President or Secretary of Defense can also call National Guard members under Title 38 Call-Ups and require them to serve Federal duty.
Members of the reserves serve under the federal Department of Defense. There are reserves for each military branch, including the Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps. Individuals serving in the reserves attend similar training as members of the National Guard. These individuals must appear for training one weekend a month and once each year for full-time, 14-day training periods.
When the president or the Secretary of Defense requires additional service members, they can call on the reserve members to serve active duty.
What Makes You A Veteran?
It’s easy to think you shouldn’t get Veteran’s benefits because you didn’t get hurt real bad or didn’t serve long, but that won’t stop the VA.
When Can Reservists Get VA Disability Benefits?
When reservists serve active duty after the President or Secretary of Defense calls on them, that time will count toward veterans’ benefits and VA disability benefits. If you are a former reservist, you might be wondering if marine or army reservists qualify for VA benefits. The answer in both cases is sometimes. The same is true when National Guard members serve full-time under Title 32.
If one of these service members suffers an injury, disease, or other disability while in the line of duty or on active duty, or active duty for training, those injuries will qualify that person for VA disability benefits. Additionally, injuries for ailments aggravated during active duty, active-duty training, or service will qualify for these benefits.
In the case of inactive duty training, only specific injuries will qualify for benefits. For instance, if you suffer a heart attack, stroke, or injury because of an accident that occurred during inactive duty training, you may qualify for VA disability benefits even without performing active duty.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Technician Service Benefits Eligibility
Military technicians perform jobs for the army or the Air Force. To qualify as a military technician, you must also be a member of the National Guard or reserves. These individuals have similar training schedules as other members of the reserves and the National Guard. After being called to active service, technicians may also qualify for VA disability benefits or other military veteran benefits.
What is VA Disability Compensation?
VA disability compensation is just one of the benefits veterans can receive because of their time serving their country. If you qualify for disability compensation, you will receive monthly tax-free benefits. The VA rates injuries and ailments in terms of percentages. You must be a minimum of ten percent disabled based on VA standards to receive any of these benefits.
The amount of money a veteran will recover will depend mainly on their disability percentage, according to the VA Disability Ratings Table. The VA rounds to the 10 percent for each disability or combination of injuries and other conditions. The related condition must occur or worsen when the veteran served in active duty or active-duty training.
VA Disability Payment Amounts
Understanding the payment amounts can become complicated. The VA uses equations to provide a disability percentage when a person has more than one condition. Additionally, veterans who have spouses, children, or parents whom they support can recover additional benefits. The additional benefits only apply when you have a disability rating of 30 percent or more.
One complication is when a veteran has two or more disabilities. Two disabilities that the VA would rate at 50 percent will not add up to a 100 percent rating. Instead, the first disability will mean that the veteran is 50 percent abled and 50 percent disabled. The VA will then look at a second 50 percent disability and take that 50 percent from the 50 percent abled the veteran is after accounting for the first disability.
For example, let’s use a scenario where the VA will add 50 percent to 25 percent for a 75 percent disability rating. Next, the VA will round that number up to the nearest ten percent, for a total of 80 percent disability. If you have this rating, you currently qualify for $1,778.43 a month of tax-free benefits as a single person without dependents. These calculations can be complex, so we offer a free VA disability calculator to understand your potential benefits.
Here is a video of one of our Veterans Disability Lawyers teaching you how to use our VA Disability Combined Ratings Calculator.
VA Disability and Joining the Reserves
Some former service members still wish to serve in the military even after receiving a VA disability rating. The VA disability rating itself will not prevent a person from joining the military. However, severe injuries will limit a person’s ability to perform their military-related job functions in some cases.
Similarly, you can also join the National Guard or the reserves even if you have a disability rating from prior military service. Many disabled veterans do join the reserves, but they must meet requirements, including age and weight restrictions, to qualify. The process might involve the need for a medical exam to prove their ability to serve.
VA Disability and Reserve Pay
Although disabled veterans can join the reserves, they will not receive pay or compensation through VA disability, and pay for joining the reserves. The military would call such dual payments a concurrent receipt. Any overlapping payments would lead to the military requiring you to reimburse them. If you choose to receive disability payment, you will have to waive the regular military pay. Alternatively, you could receive military pay and not collect disability benefits. Your option is to choose one form of payment, whichever one provides you better compensation.
This firm has been excellent at obtaining my disability claim. I now am 100% service connected. No complaints. Thanks to Woods and Woods. I will recommend them for anyone trying to obtain service connected disability.L.T. — review on Google Reviews
Are There Other VA Benefits Available to Reservists?
Military veterans with limited net worth and income might qualify for a VA pension. These benefits are tax-free and available to those who served during wartime periods only. Typically, individuals must have served for a minimum of anywhere from 90 days to 24 months, depending on the timing of their service. For example, individuals enlisted in or before 1980 will need to serve for at least 90 days during wartime. After 1980, enlisted individuals would need to serve 24 consecutive months during wartime to qualify for this pension.
In both cases, individuals discharged because of service-connected disabilities may still qualify even if they did not serve the required minimum time. To qualify for VA pensions, veterans must:
- Be age 65 and up
- Have permanent or total disabilities
- Be patients in nursing homes
- Receiving Social Security disability insurance, or
- Receiving Supplemental Security Income
Can Reservists get VA Home Loans?
VA home loans offer a guaranteed program for National Guard and reserve members. The loans also provide better interest rates and other benefits such as a lack of a down payment requirement. Reservists and National Guard members can qualify for this benefit if they served 90 days or more on active duty during wartime.
Individuals discharged because of a service-related disability or with six years of service in the selected reserve or National Guard with honorable discharges may qualify. If you were placed on a retirement list or transferred to standby reserve following honorable service or continue to serve in the selected reserve, you might qualify as well.
The VA provides certain educational funding and training for National Guard and reserve members. Whether you are applying for an undergraduate program, graduate degree, technical training, vocational training, certification tests, or licensing, you might benefit from VA education funding.
Again, only specific individuals qualify, including those who have 90 aggregate days in active service. Examples of active service would include those individuals called under Title 32 to respond to national emergencies and full-time National Guard members who served as organizers, recruiters, trainers, instructors, or administrators under Title 32.
Members of the selective reserve may qualify separately under the Montgomery GI bill or the Reserve Educational Assistance Program.
The VA offers life insurance for certain service members. Members of the National Guard and Reserves are scheduled for twelve periods of inactive training per year, and individuals volunteering for the mobilized category in the individual ready reserve may qualify. There is also part-time coverage for other members who do not meet the inactive training requirements but do serve at other times.
The VA also offers certain health care benefits, including outpatient and inpatient services for veterans. Individuals who served active duty in combat operations following November 11th of 1988 can receive these benefits for up to five years after discharge and are released from service. Other individuals may also qualify. Detailed information on health benefits is available on the VA website.
Some reserve and National Guard members with service-connected disabilities may qualify for a vocational rehabilitation and employment program. These programs educate and train veterans so that they may obtain a new career.
Certain veterans may also qualify for VA burial benefits, including partial reimbursement for funeral costs and the ability to be buried in a VA National Cemetery. Only those who served on active duty or who died because of a disease or injury they suffered during active duty for training or inactive duty for training will qualify.
Applying for VA Disability Benefits
Veterans applying for disability benefits will need to provide detailed documents, including medical and hospital records and supporting statements related to their disability. Applying for VA disability benefits can be confusing and complicated. If the VA denies your claim, you do have the right to file an appeal. Some denials are improper or incorrect, while other times, you may not have provided enough or the correct information to support your claim.
A behind-the-scenes look at who works for you at Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm.
Speak to a Dedicated VA Disability Lawyer
If you are a reservist and want to know more about filing a claim for disability benefits, you should speak to a dedicated VA disability lawyer. Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is a family-owned firm with a dedicated team of lawyers and support staff who work with veterans to assist with their VA disability benefits claims.
At Woods and Woods, the Veteran’s Firm, we’ve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. We’ve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to serve disabled veterans better in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we won’t charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, as long as you can pass the physical. If you are trying to get TDIU, of course, it might not be a good idea to show Uncle Sam how capable you are. You can’t get double paychecks from the VA and from the State Department, though.
We’d be happy to go over your case to see if your conditions and service requirements help you qualify for VA disability. Every call you make to us is free and if you do have a case, we won’t charge you a dime until we win.