Chapter Determining Veteran Status and Eligibility for Benefits



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3. Duty Status and Eligibility of Personnel in the National Guard Service




Introduction

This topic contains information on the duty status and eligibility of personnel in the National Guard, including


  • National Guard service in ACDUTRA does not qualify as active duty

  • qualifying service under 10 U.S.C.

  • qualifying service under 32 U.S.C.

  • verification of National Guard Service, and

  • National Guard personnel discharged for a disability.



Change Date

September 30, 2010



a. National Guard Service in ACDUTRA Does Not Qualify as Active Duty

The Army National Guard (ARNG) and the Air National Guard (ANG) operate full-time operational and support programs similar to the Ready Reserves. However, 38 U.S.C. § 101(22) provides separate definitions of “active duty for training” for Guard personnel and Reservists.
While the definition for Reservists permits the interpretation that full-time duty for purposes other than training is active military, naval or air service, the definition for Guard personnel does not permit this interpretation.
Therefore, full-time operational/support service performed by Guard personnel in ACDUTRA status does not qualify as “active duty” for purposes of establishing eligibility for VA benefits unless the member or former member has a service-connected (SC) disease or injury that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty during the ACDUTRA period.
Exception: For special provisions as to basic eligibility for Loan Guaranty benefits, see M21-1MR, Part IX, Subpart i, 5.
References: For more information on

  • active duty for training, see 38 CFR § 3.6(c)

  • inactive duty for training, see 38 CFR § 3.6(d), and

  • active/inactive duty for training for National Guard personnel, see 38 CFR § 3.7(m).

Continued on next page

3. Duty Status and Eligibility of Personnel in the National Guard Service, Continued

b. Qualifying Service Under 10 U.S.C.

If a Guard unit, or an individual member, is activated under the authority of 10 U.S.C., the members who report for active duty, which is characterized as Federal Active Duty, have qualifying service for 38 U.S.C. purposes until deactivated.
In some cases, a member may be ordered to active duty for training under the authority of 10 U.S.C. § 672(d). This does constitute active duty for training for 38 U.S.C. purposes. If an individual’s orders specify activation to temporary duty under 10 U.S.C., further development regarding the purpose of the activation is not needed unless there is evidence in the file showing that the purpose of the activation was to train the individual.
The order to active duty must state that service is under 10 U.S.C. This fact is frequently reflected on the DD Form 214.



c. Qualifying Service Under 32 U.S.C.

Full-time National Guard service is considered active duty for training under 38 U.S.C. § 101(22)(C) if performed under 32 U.S.C. § 316, or 32 U.S.C. § 502, 503, 504, or 505. This is true regardless of whether the member is


  • performing operational duty, or

  • undergoing training.

National Guard service does not meet the definition of active military, naval, or air service under 38 U.S.C. § 101(22) unless the member or former member is disabled during service and, therefore, subject to an exception outlined in 38 U.S.C. § 101(24) or 38 U.S.C. § 106(b)(3).


Notes:

  • Operational duty includes Active Guard Reserve (AGR) and Active Duty Support (ADS), which apply to Guard personnel as well as to Reservists serving in these capacities.

  • Since 1964, there has been authority, under 32 U.S.C. § 502(f), to assign to full-time operational duty National Guard members who provide full-time support to the Guard components, even though they are not activated.

Continued on next page

3. Duty Status and Eligibility of Personnel in the National Guard Service, Continued

d. Verification of National Guard Service

The type of National Guard service should be identified on the DD Form 214. If the information is not indicated on the DD Form 214, develop with the appropriate component listed in M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.J.
Note: If the DD Form 214, or the response to development with the service department, indicates that service was under both 10 U.S.C. and 32 U.S.C., consider the service to be under 10 U.S.C.



e. National Guard Personnel Discharged for a Disability

An individual meets the definition of “Veteran” if


  • the individual was injured while performing active service in the National Guard,

  • the injury is compensable, and

  • the individual was discharged or released from active service.


Note: The term “released” means that the individual was returned to civilian status even though he/she was not relieved of the obligation to serve at a future time under 38 U.S.C. § 101(2). The individual does not have to be discharged or otherwise separated from the National Guard.
References: For information on what constitutes active military, naval, or air service, see

  • M21-1MR, Part III, Subpart ii, 6.1.b, and

  • 38 CFR § 3.6(a).



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