Formed in 1903 as part of the Militia Act, the United States Army National Guard has 53 units stationed across America and its territories. Currently, over 350,000 Americans serve in the National Guard – many of whom have come to the country’s assistance during a national emergency or in a time of war.
While it is clear that those who take the time and energy to be in the National Guard are patriots and often heroes, it can sometimes be unclear which benefits a veteran of the National Guard should receive and whether an injured member of the Army National Guard qualifies for VA disability compensation following a service-related injury or illness.
Can I receive veterans’ disability benefits if I am in the Army National Guard?
It doesn’t matter if you are in the Army, the Navy, the Marines, or the Air Force – in all cases, you can qualify for VA disability benefits as long as your disability developed or was made worse during active duty. A member of the National Guard may be called up for active duty during:
- A national emergency, a rebellion, or a national disaster
- An international conflict or war
- A situation in which the President asks for National Guard assistance
- Basic combat training (BCT)
- Advanced individual training (AIT)
- Annual training
- Active duty training
- Weekend drills
National Guard service members may not be on active duty if they are on their way to or from training, if they have not officially been called up for active duty, or if they are participating in a battle assembly.
Can I serve in the National Guard if I am collecting veterans’ disability benefits or have a disability rating?
Yes, you can both serve in the Army National Guard and receive veterans’ disability payments. You can’t receive pay for both being a veteran and serving on the same day, so you will not be paid for your disability during the days you are on active duty (for example, annual training and weekend drills). Your disability rating does not matter, but you may not be eligible for continued service in the National Guard if you do not successfully pass your fitness for duty exam.
Texas veterans’ disability attorney
Understanding whether or not you may qualify for veterans’ disability benefits can be more confusing and complicated than you may think, especially if you served in the Army National Guard. Speak with a Dallas disability benefits attorney at Morgan & Weisbold if you have questions about your case or your continued service by calling 800-800-6353today.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.