Having the status of a protected veteran means you are protected by the federal government from discrimination when re-entering the civilian workforce. It means that veterans can’t be discriminated against based on their military service. It also means that if the veteran has suffered a disability during service, then reasonable requirements should be made to allow them to continue working.
In terms of VA benefits, a lot of people are confused by this question. It is confusing because a reservist can be a veteran, and a veteran can be a reservist. However, a reservist doesn't have to be a veteran.