Veterans, Retirees, Reservists and Guard

WHO IS A SOLDIER, VETERAN, RESERVIST, RETIREE?

Following definitions are derived from the Veterans Benefits Administration Manual: M21_1 Part IV Chapter 10.

ACTIVE DUTY

  • Active duty in the military, naval or air service,
  • Any period of active duty for training during which a person is disabled or dies from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty, or is disabled or dies from an acute myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident while proceeding directly to or returning directly from a period of active duty for training,
  • Any period of inactive duty training during which a person is disabled or dies from an injury incurred or aggravated in line of duty, or is disabled or dies from an acute myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident that occurred during such training, or that occurred while proceeding directly to or returning directly from such training.

VETERAN

A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable. The primary factor in determining basic eligibility to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits is veteran status. Live benefits are based on the claimant's veteran status. Death benefits are based on the claimant's spouse, parent or child being a veteran.

RESERVIST

At the beginning of an enlistment in the Reserves, an individual is required to perform active duty for training for a period of not less than 4 months. The remainder of the enlistment is spent as a member of the Ready Reserves.

Reservist's Eligibility for Compensation and Pension. There are basically three ways a Reservist can meet the definition of "Veteran" for Compensation and Pension purposes:

  1. Die or become disabled from a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during a period of active duty for training, or from an acute myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident that occurred while the person was proceeding directly to or returning directly from a period of active duty for training.
  2. Die or become disabled from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during a period of inactive duty for training, or from an acute myocardial infarction, a cardiac arrest, or a cerebrovascular accident that occurred during such training, or while the person was proceeding directly to or returning directly from a period of active duty for training.
  3. Perform full-time duty in the Armed Forces other than active duty for training.

NATIONAL GUARD

The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard operate full-time operational and support programs similar to the Ready Reserves. However, section 101(22) of Title 38, United States Code, provides separate definitions of "active duty for training" for Guard personnel and Reservists. While the definition for Reservists permits the interpretation that full-time duty for purposes other than training is active military, naval or air service, the definition for Guard personnel does NOT permit this interpretation. Therefore, full-time operational/support service performed by Guard personnel in ACDUTRA status does NOT qualify as active duty for purposes of VA benefits UNLESS the member or former member has a service-connected disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated during the ACDUTRA period.

RETIREE

A military retiree is any member or former member of the uniformed services who is entitled, under statue, to retired, retirement, or retainer pay on account of service as a member, or who receives military retired or retainer pay.

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