Yes, you may be eligible for veterans’ disability benefits if you were in the National Guard and you were hurt during active duty. A member of the National Guard is considered to be on active duty if the member is serving:
- During a national emergency
- During an international conflict
- By participating in basic combat training
- By participating in advanced individual training
- By participating in annual training
- By participating in active duty training
- By participating in weekend drills
Recent examples of National Guard members being called into active duty include the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and Hurricane Katrina.
You Must Qualify for Benefits
It is important to note that although those in the National Guard who are injured during active duty can receive veterans’ disability benefits, each individual case is different and each case must also meet the requirements of any other veterans’ disability claim. For example, your claim must prove that your condition was caused by or exacerbated by your active duty and you must not have been dishonorably discharged.
Are National Guard Members Treated Fairly?
According to recent data collected through the Freedom of Information Act, it is significantly harder for National Guard members and reservists to receive veterans’ disability benefits than it is for other service members. The data shows that reservists who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11 were four times more likely to be denied benefits than active duty military members.
Out of approximately 70,000 military men and women who have been denied VA disability payments, 60 percent of denials were issued to National Guard members and reservists, even though this segment makes up only 40 percent of the veteran population.
Talk to a Disability Lawyer About Your Rights
In order to know if you should apply for veterans’ disability benefits, please contact a Texas disability benefits attorney about the details of your case and your history in the National Guard. Morgan & Weisbrod offers all veterans a free, private meeting in which you can discuss your disability and your plan for the future. Call today for more information.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.