Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Can You Receive Va Disability While In The Reserves

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Qualifying For Va Health Care

Can National Guard and Armed Forces Reserves Receive VA Veterans Disability Benefits?

Under the Combat Veteran authority, Combat Veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after Jan. 28, 2003, are eligible for enrollment in Priority Group 6, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group. This authority provides a 5-year enrollment period, which begins on the discharge or separation date. These Combat Veterans are eligible for health care services and community living care for conditions possibly related to their military service, and are not required to disclose their income information unless they would like to be considered for a higher priority status, beneficiary travel benefits, or exemption of co-pays for care unrelated to their military service.

Activated Reservists and members of the National Guard are eligible if they served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after Nov. 11, 1998, and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

Veterans who enroll with VA under this authority will continue to be enrolled even after their enhanced eligibility period ends. At the end of their enhanced eligibility period, Veterans enrolled in Priority Group 6 may be shifted to a lower priority group depending on their income level. For additional information, call 1-877-222-VETS .

Va Home Loan Benefits For Guard And Reserve

VA Home Loan Benefits, aka Home Loan Guaranty, allows National Guard and Reserve members to get home loans with more favorable terms.

Private lenders provide the loan, but VA guarantees a portion of it, allowing lenders to provide benefits such as no down payment or mortgage insurance premiums.

To qualify for a VA home loan as a National Guard or Reserve member, you must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Served for 90 days or more on active duty during a wartime period, OR
  • Were discharged or released from active duty for a service-connected disability, OR
  • Have six years of service in the Selected Reserve or National Guard, AND
  • Were discharged honorably, OR
  • Were placed on the retired list, OR
  • Were transferred to the Standby Reserve or an element of the Ready Reserve other than the Selected Reserve after honorable service, OR
  • Continue to serve in the Selected Reserve.

Dont forget if you have a VA disability rating of 10% or higher, you qualify for the VA Funding Fee Waiver, which could potentially save you thousands of dollars or more on your home.

Make sure to get a copy of your VA COE Form during the VA loan application process.

What If There Are Errors On Your Form 21

If there are errors on your form 21-8951, you need to get the correct information from your unit personnel or finance department. Then you will need to write in the corrected information in the section on the back.

Important: If there are errors on your form, you will need to get your Unit Commander or Designee to verify the correct number of training days, and sign your form.

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Can A Reservists And National Guard Members Receive Va Disability Compensation

Yes, Reservists and National Guard Members can and do receive VA Disability Compensation with no regard to the percentage of their disability rating.

Reservists and National Guard Members normally serve 63 drill days per military calendar year: 48 drill days total for weekends and 15 drill days of training. For the 63 days, you can only collect compensation from one source, either the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration. Unless deployed, each year you will have to submit a VA Form 21-8951-2 to waive compensation from either the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration for the 63 drill days served as either a Reserve or National Guard. Most Reservists and National Guard Members chose to waive the VA Disability Monthly Compensation and choose to select the Department of Defense income for the 63 drill days. In the majority of cases, the Department of Defense payment rate for the 63 drill days is far better than 63 days of VA Disability Monthly Compensation pay rate.

Eligibility For Va Benefits


Generally, all Reserve and National Guard members discharged or released under conditions that are not dishonorable are eligible for some VA benefits. The length of your service, service commitment and/or your duty status may determine your eligibility for specific benefits.

Eligibility requirements for several VA benefits include a certain length of active service. Active service in the National Guard or Reserve includes:

Active duty – full-time duty in the Armed Forces, such as unit deployment during war, including travel to and from such duty, except active duty for training, OR Full-time National Guard duty duty performed for which you are entitled to receive pay from the federal government, such as responding to a national emergency or performing duties as an Active Guard Reserve member.

Note: A state or territorys governor may activate National Guard members for State Active Duty, such as in response to a natural or man-made disaster. State Active Duty is based on state law and does not qualify as active service for VA benefits. Unlike full-time National Guard duty, National Guard members on State Active Duty are paid with state funds as opposed to federal funds.

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Will Crsc Reimburse The Full Amount Of Va Waiver

It is important to note that CRSC may not reimburse the full amount of the VA waiver if only some of the veterans service-connected conditions are combat-related. For example, the veterans branch of service may determine that only 40 percent out of their 60 percent combined disability rating is considered combat-related, in which case the branch would reimburse only the amount of VA compensation you would receive for a 40 percent disability rating.

Va Healthcare Benefits For National Guard And Reserve Members

VA healthcare benefits may include all the necessary inpatient hospital care and outpatient services to promote, preserve, or restore your health for eligible National Guard and Reserve Members

Eligibility for VA healthcare requires that you served on active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which you were called or ordered.

If you served on active duty in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998, you are eligible for free VA health care benefits for up to 5 years from the date of discharge or release.

Additional factors determine health care benefit eligibility for non-combat Veterans, or those with combat service prior to November 11, 1998.

Learn more about VA healthcare benefits HERE.

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Let Us Answer Your Va Disability Questions

At Woods and Woods, the Veterans Firm, weve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. Weve 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 wont 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.

Talk to Us About Your Claim:

Are You Getting Va Compensation And National Guard Pay

VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Members

Here’s what you need to know about the hazards of dual compensation.

You can be a traditional National Guard member and receive VA disability compensation. However, you cannot receive VA compensation for the same time period that you receive military pay. This does not mean you have to choose between drill pay and compensation. You only lose the amount of comp equal to the amount of days paid drill. Lets say you receive $300 per month for compensation. You divide that amount by 30 days and it equals $10 per day. If you perform a MUTA-4, then your offset is $40 for the month. If you set this amount into a savings account, when the VA turns off your compensation for the overpayment, you can pay yourself out of savings. There is a worksheet to help you calculate this amount at the end of this sheet.

Normally, the VA Regional office in Seattle will send you a notice at the end of the fiscal year usually in Nov. to Dec., asking you to verify how many days you collected military pay for the previous year. If you do not receive this notice, you can complete the form and send it to your regional office to ensure it is being processed correctly. You can verify which regional office services your account by looking at your rating decision letter. You can also send your form to my office and we will hand carry to the VA Building 3, Camp Murray, Tacoma, WA 98430. The form can be found at the following link.

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Eligibility Requirements For Concurrent Retirement And Disability Pay

In order to qualify for CRDP, veterans must be eligible for retired pay. If veterans were placed on a disability retirement but would be eligible for military retired pay in the absence of the disability, they may be entitled to receive CRDP. According to VA, veterans may be entitled to CRDP if:

  • They are a regular retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher
  • They are a reserve retiree with 20 qualifying years of service, who have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, and who have reached retirement age*
  • They are retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent of higher
  • They are a disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay under any provision of law other than solely by disability, and they have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher

*Note: In most cases the retirement age for reservists is 60, but certain reserve retirees may be eligible before they turn 60. If a veteran is a member of the Ready Reserve, their retirement age can be reduced below age 60 by three months for each 90 days of active service they have performed during a fiscal year.

  • A veterans retirement date or
  • When the veteran first increased to at least a 50 percent disability rating

*Note: No CRDP is payable for any month prior to January 2004. Prior to 2004, existing laws and regulations prohibited military retirees with service-connected disabilities from receiving both payments.

Outreach For Oef/oif/ond Veterans

VAs OEF/OIF/OND Outreach Teams focus on improving outreach to members of the National Guard and Reserve by engaging them throughout the deployment cycle with targeted messages and face- to-face encounters with VA staff. These outreach teams are located at VAMCs to help ease the transition from military to civilian life.

To learn more, visit www.oefoif.va.gov. Veterans can also call the toll-free OEF/OIF/OND Help Line at 1-866-606-8216 for answers to questions about VA benefits, health care, and enrollment procedures.

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You May Qualify For Veterans Disability Benefits When:

  • An injury, disease or death occurs while traveling to and from training duty
  • A traumatic event during a training accident causes a disabling chronic disease
  • A cerebral vascular accident, cardiac arrest, or an acute myocardial infarction occurs while training

If you think you have a disability related to your service training while in the National Guard or Reserves, the Alpha team can help you obtain the highest level of disability compensation possible from the VA.

Contact us to get started on your claim.

Check Your Service Record

Should I Hire A VA Disability Lawyer

When you reach 18 years, your should verify that your services personnel system also has the correct data to show that. If the first reader hasnt already done so, they should check their Reserve point count and good years to make sure that theyve been given credit for reaching the 18-year mark. If theres a medical board then its better to fix any service record errors or omissions now instead of after the process starts.

For the second and third readers, until they reach 18 years, separation is still a possibility. However, all three servicemembers have at least 15 good years and would be eligible for a Temporary Early Retirement Authority pension if their services offered it.

If they wanted to reach 20 good years, and were physically able to do so, then they would probably be given that choice. If they were not physically able to reach 20 years then they would be eligible for a medical retirement.

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Character Of The Discharge

The requirement that a discharge from service must be other than dishonorable in order to qualify for VA benefits seems rather simple on the surface. In reality, there are a variety of different discharges that are characterized between an Honorable discharge and a discharge that uses the word dishonorable. In some cases, VA will consider these other than Honorable discharges as dishonorable even though the word dishonorable is not used. In other cases these discharges are considered as Honorable. As a general rule, discharges that are classified as “General Discharges” are considered as Honorable.

Some discharges are characterized as other than Honorable with the reason for separation based on a pattern of behavior that constitutes a significant departure from conduct expected of members of military services. Such discharges may be based on absent without leave, drug use, the use of force or violence to produce serious bodily injury or death, abuse of a special position of trust, disregard by a superior of customary superior subordinate relationships, acts or omissions that endanger the security of the United States or the health and welfare of other members of the military services and deliberate acts or omissions that seriously endanger the health and safety of other persons. Depending on the facts of the history of such behavior, VA can choose whether to classify such a discharge as other than dishonorable or dishonorable.

Information Found On Form 21

Your form 21-8951 will show the fiscal year and the number of training days you performed during the year. A normal drill year would be approximately 63 military training days: 48 drill days , and 15 active training days.

Your form 21-8951 will also include information on:

  • Instructions on how to complete the form,
  • your VA File number & Social Security Number,
  • a check box to verify the information is correct, or
  • a check box to mark that the information is incorrect and a space to mark the correct number of days served.
  • a section to elect which pay to waive ,
  • a section to verify the information and sign it,
  • a section for your unit Commander to sign the form.

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What Can Affect Your Va Rating

Does serving on active duty affect your VA disability rating?

Maybe. Some VA disability ratings are permanent, while others are temporary. When returning to active duty, your first step is to notify the VA of payment suspension. This keeps you in compliance with the law. However, when it comes to your VA disability rating, there are several possibilities.

VA disability ratings may change over time, depending on how your condition improves or worsens over time. If your condition continues to get worse, your VA disability rating may increase. However, if your condition betters over time, your VA disability rating may decrease. Still, some VA ratings may enter into a protected state after a certain time period has passed and the VA will cease any decreases to your disability rating.

Since there are many possibilities, its important you consider that return to active duty may mean an improved condition, which could then decrease your VA disability rating. However, if your VA disability rating has already entered into a protected state, then you will not see any changes to your rating.

Upon returning from active duty, you may contact the VA to request reactivation of payments and determine your ratings after a reexamination.

What Do Stabilized VA Rating, Permanent VA Rating, and Protected VA Rating Mean?

How Does The Government Collect What You Owe

Army Reserves and VA Disability Pay Explained

Great question. In most cases, the VA will not ask for the money back. They will simply withhold your future payments until they have collected the funds you owe. So if you had a standard year with 63 paid days, the VA would withhold your future earnings at a rate equal to 63 days of compensation pay. Keep in mind this equals just over two months, so you can expect to miss those payments after you submit your form. Be sure to verify the total number of paid military days you had in the previous year so you will know how long you will be without your disability compensation payments. You will want this information so you can work it into your budget so you dont cause yourself any financial hardship!

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Can You Join The Guard Or Reserves If You Have A Va Disability Rating

Its certainly possible. Youll want to start by contacting a recruiter and letting them know you would like to join the Guard or Reserves. Disabled vets join reserves all the time but remember, you are still required to meet the standard criteria, including appropriate weight and age. Your recruiter will take care of processing your application and will submit it to MEPS for a medical review. If your application is denied, you may need to take additional steps, which your recruiter will explain to you.

Although its possible for you to be able to transition seamlessly into the Guard or Reserves, you may require a medical waiver, so be ready for all possibilities throughout this process. You can still get VA disability while enlisted in reserves. More on that in the next paragraph.

Here are some tips on your C& P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.

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