The Army National Guard is a unique part of the United States military that serves both the country and the community. The National Guard responds to all sorts of things, such as domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, and reconstruction missions, to name a few. The state governor or the President of the U.S. can call on the Guard whenever they want, but National Guard members still have civilian jobs and attend college.
Becoming a member of the Army National Guard gives you the best of both worlds when it comes to serving your country, but when you are finished with your service, will you have veterans benefits? Unfortunately, the answer is that it depends.
Are National Guard Service Members Considered Veterans?
Generally speaking, all Army National Guard members discharged under conditions that aren’t dishonorable are eligible for some VA benefits, but it depends on the length of your service, service commitment, and duty status.
A National Guard member will be eligible for VA benefits if they have served full-time duty under Title 10 or Title 32. Title 10 requires full-time duty in the Armed Forces, such as deployment. Title 32 is duty performed that entitles you to be paid by the Federal government, such as responding to national emergencies.
However, state or county governors can also activate the National Guard for State Active Duty. If the state calls the National Guard, this service doesn’t qualify for “active service,” because the pay would come from state funds rather than Federal money.
The short answer is, yes, in some cases, an Army National Guard member qualifies for VA benefits. However, the qualifications depend on the way they served the country and for how long. If you have questions about your veteran status, you can contact the Department of Veterans Affairs.