Chapter Determining Veteran Status and Eligibility for Benefits



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2. Duty Status and Eligibility of Reservists




Introduction

This topic contains information on Reservist eligibility, including


  • initial duty of a Reservist

  • eligibility of Reservists for compensation and pension

  • Reserve service programs that constitute active duty

  • types of Reserve duty that do not constitute full-time active duty, and

  • developing a claim submitted by a Reservist.



Change Date

September 30, 2010



a. Initial Duty of a Reservist

Generally, Reserve and Guard members without prior active service undergo a period of active duty for training (ACDUTRA), lasting from four to seven months. This training may be taken in a single period or as two separate periods.
Reference: For information on National Guard Service, see M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart ii, 6.3.



b. Eligibility of Reservists for Compensation and Pension

A Reservist may meet the criteria for establishing Veteran status for compensation and pension purposes if he/she


  • dies or becomes disabled from

  • a disease or injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during a period of active duty for training, or

  • 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

  • dies or becomes disabled from an

  • injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during a period of inactive duty for training, or

  • 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, or

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2. Duty Status and Eligibility of Reservists, Continued

c. Reserve Service Programs That Constitute Active Duty

Since the 1960’s, the Reserve components have had several programs in which members serve full-time in operational or support positions but are never formally called to active duty. This type of service, whether it lasts one day or three years, is classified by the service departments as active duty for training. Such programs include the


  • Active Guard Reserve (AGR), and

  • Active Duty Support (ADS) Program.

The term “full-time duty in the uniformed services” is not defined in 38 U.S.C. or 38 CFR, Part B. However, an opinion issued by the General Counsel on November 9, 1988, makes it clear that




  • despite the military’s ACDUTRA classification, VA has the authority to declare certain types of service performed by Reservists to be active duty for the purposes of establishing eligibility for VA benefits, and

  • service in the Reserves meets the definition of active duty if the facts of record establish that the service was

  • full-time, and

  • for operational or support purposes, as opposed to training.



d Types of Reserve Duty That Do Not Constitute Full-Time Duty

Certain types of Reserve duty are not considered full-time duty in the uniformed service:


  • Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT)

  • Annual Training (AT), and

  • Active Duty Training (ADT).

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2. Duty Status and Eligibility of Reservists, Continued

e. Developing for a Claim Submitted by a Reservist

Follow the steps in the table below to develop a claim submitted by a Reservist.




Step

Action

1

Unless it is clear from the DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, that the Reservist’s service is not full-time duty in the uniformed services, develop with the service department from the appropriate component listed in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.J.

2

  • Request the

  • type of duty, and

  • full-time status, and

  • operational or support duty, or

  • for training purposes.

3

If verification


  • is received showing that the Veteran’s service was

  • for operational or support services, go to Step 4, or

  • for training purposes, go to Step 5, or

  • is not received from the service department and all development is completed, go to Step 6.

4

If it can be verified that the Veteran’s service was for operational or support services, then the service qualifies as active duty.

5

If it is verified that the Veteran’s service was for training purposes, then the service does not qualify as active duty.

6

If the information needed cannot be obtained from the service department, contact the Compensation and Pension Service Procedures Development staff (212A) for further assistance.



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