# Determining the Number of Days of VA Benefits a Veteran Must Waive

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#### 2. Determining the Number of Days of VA Benefits a Veteran Must Waive

##### Introduction

This topic contains information on determining the number of days of VA benefits a Veteran must waive in order to receive drill pay, including

• number of days reservists and members of the National Guard commonly receive drill pay

• how reserve and National Guard units calculate the number of days of drill pay a Veteran receives

• travel time during drills/training

• example of how to determine the number of days of VA benefits a Veteran must waive, and

• Veterans who receive pay for active duty training only.

March 25, 2013

##### a. Number of Days Reservists and Members of the National Guard Commonly Receive Drill Pay

During a single fiscal year, reservists and members of the National Guard commonly receive drill pay for a total of 63 days, which consists of

• 48 armory drills or training sessions, and

• 15 days of active duty training.

Note: Variances in the 63-day total are typically due to

• excused absences from drills, or

• the performance of additional drills for various assignments, such as

• schooling

• planning meetings

• conferences, or

• preparation for inspections.

##### b. How Reserve and National Guard Units Calculate the Number of Days of Drill Pay a Veteran Receives

The table below shows

• the two types of training Veterans in the Reserve or National Guard attend, and

• how reserve and National Guard units calculate the number of days of drill pay to which a Veteran is entitled for each type of training.

 Type of Training Method of Calculation armory drill and training sessions Veterans receive one day of drill pay for each four-hour drill/training session they attend. Units may hold one or two of these sessions per day over a weekend or during a weekday. Example: During one “drill weekend,” a Veteran may receive four days of drill pay for attending two drill/training sessions each day. Notes: Units report the number of days for which a Veteran received drill pay, not the number of calendar days he/she attended drills/training. Request clarification from the Veteran’s unit if questions arise as to how it calculated the number of days of drill pay the Veteran received. active duty training Veterans receive one day of drill pay for each day of the annual, two-week, active duty training or “summer camp” they attend. Important: Do not confuse this period with drill weekends.

##### c. Travel Time During Drills/Training

Include any authorized travel time for which a Veteran received drill pay when computing the number of days of VA benefits he/she must waive.

##### d. Example: Determining the Number of Days of VA Benefits a Veteran Must Waive

Scenario: Sergeant Cummins, a reservist, is currently receiving VA compensation for diabetes. His reserve unit certifies he was present for

• 25 days of armory drills/training, with two drill/training sessions each day, and

• 15 days of active duty training.

Result: Sergeant Cummins must waive a total of 65 days of VA benefits based on his receipt of drill pay for

• 50 days of armory drills/training, and

• 15 days of active duty training.

##### e. Veterans Who Receive Pay for Active Duty Training Only

Occasionally, a Veteran may

• attend armory drill/training in a no-pay status, and

• receive pay only for the annual, active duty training he/she attends.

Under these circumstances, the Veteran must waive VA benefits only for the number of days he/she attended active duty training.

#### 3. Processing VA Form 21-8951 and Handling a Veteran’s Failure to Return the Form

##### Introduction

This topic contains instructions for processing VA Form 21-8951 and handling a Veteran’s failure to return the form, including

• initial review of VA Form 21-8951

• processing VA Form 21-8951

• actions to take when a Veteran chooses to waive military pay, and

• actions to take when a Veteran fails to return VA Form 21-8951.

April 20, 2015

##### a. Initial Review of VA Form 21-8951

Before processing VA Form 21-8951, review the form to make sure it is complete and bears the appropriate signatures:

• The Veteran must always sign VA Form 21-8951.

• The Veteran’s unit commander must sign VA Form 21-8951 only if the Veteran reports fewer training days than the Hines ITC printed on the form.

Return incomplete or unsigned forms to the Veteran and advise him/her that failure to return a completed and signed form may result in a reduction of his/her benefits.

##### b. Processing VA Form 21-8951

Follow the steps in the table below upon receipt of a VA Form 21-8951 that is complete and signed in accordance with M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.a.

 If the Veteran … Then … takes the action(s) described under Option 1 or 2 in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.e, and there is no reason to question the validity of the information the Veteran provided on the form follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.4 for withholding the Veteran’s benefits for the number of training days either the Hines ITC or the Veteran entered on the form. checks the box on VA Form 21-8951 that reads I elect to waive military pay and allowances for the days indicated in order to retain my VA compensation or pension follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.c. checks the box on VA Form 21-8951 that reads I received no military pay and allowances during the fiscal year(s) indicated on the front of this form review the evidence of record to determine whether the Veteran was a reservist or member of the National Guard during the fiscal year in question. If there is reason to question the validity of the Veteran’s assertion, initiate development, to include requesting a field examination, if necessary and appropriate. If the evidence of record confirms the Veteran was not a reservist or member of the National Guard, clear an EP 290, and delete the diary the Hines ITC established in Stage 3 of the process described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.c.

 Important: Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.6.i if VA Form 21-8951 shows training in excess of 179 days, or the evidence of record suggests the Veteran served on active duty during the fiscal year the VA Form 21-8951 covers. Note: Deleting the diary according to the instructions in the table above prevents the events described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.d from occurring. Reference: For information about deleting diaries through Share, see the Share User's Guide VETSNET Awards, see the VETSNET Awards Handbook, or the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), see the VBMS-Awards User Guide.

##### c. Actions to Take When A Veteran Chooses to Waive Military Pay

Follow the instructions in the table below if a Veteran checks the box on VA Form 21-8951 that reads I elect to waive military pay and allowances for the days indicated in order to retain my VA compensation or pension.

 Step Action 1 Clear an end product (EP) 290. 2 Delete the diary the Hines ITC established in Stage 3 of the process described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.c. 3 Prepare an encrypted e-mail addressed to Compensation Service’s Procedures Staff (VAVBAWAS/CO/212A). In the subject line of the e-mail, type VA Form 21-8951-Waiver of Military Pay In the body of the e-mail, provide the Veteran’s name and file number date VA received the VA Form 21-8951, and document identification number assigned to the electronic version of VA Form 21-8951, and type Veteran elects to waive military pay and allowances for the days indicated in order to retain VA compensation or pension. Please forward the form to the appropriate service department finance center. Important: Make one attempt to contact the Veteran by telephone prior to sending the e-mail to Compensation Service to ensure the Veteran understands the effect of the waiver, and the likelihood that he/she is waiving the greater benefit. If telephone contact is made with the Veteran, document the conversation on VA Form 21-0820, Report of General Information. If, during the telephone call, the Veteran reaffirms his/her choice to waive military pay, note this fact in the e-mail to Compensation Service. If the attempt to contact the Veteran by telephone is unsuccessful, document the action as a note in Modern Awards Processing – Development (MAP-D), or the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS). 4 Save a copy of the e-mail as a portable document file (PDF). Reference: For more information about saving e-mails in the PDF format, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart i, Chapter 6. 5 Follow the instructions in the VBMS User Guide for uploading the PDF into the Veteran’s eFolder.

##### d. Actions to Take When A Veteran Fails to Return VA Form 21-8951

If the actions described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.b or M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.4.i are not taken within 60 days of the date the Hines ITC mails VA Form 21-8951 to the Veteran for completion,

• a work item is automatically created under EP 820 to alert the ROJ that the diary established in Stage 3 of the process described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.c expired, and

• the Hines ITC e-mails a copy of VA Form 21-8951 to Compensation Service.

Follow the steps in the table below to process a work item established because a Veteran failed to return VA Form 21-8951.

 Step Actions 1 Open the Veteran’s eFolder and locate a copy of the VA Form 21-8951 that he/she failed to return. 2 Does the file number and/or SSN printed on VA Form 21-8951 belong to the Veteran whose name, address, and contact information are also printed on the form? If yes, proceed to Step 3. If no, determine whether the Veteran’s SSN is correct in the corporate record update the corporate record with the correct SSN, if necessary, and proceed to Step 3. 3 Did the Hines ITC send the VA Form 21-8951 to a Veteran who, according to the evidence of record, did not receive drill pay during the fiscal year(s) in question? If yes, clear an EP 290 and the pending EP 820, and proceed no further. If no, proceed to Step 4. 4 Clear an EP 290 and the pending EP 820. 5 Establish EP 600. 6 Follow the instructions in M21-1, Part I, 2.B for sending notice of proposed adverse action to the Veteran. Enclose a copy of VA Form 21-8951 with the notice. In the notice, inform the Veteran VA will withhold benefits for the same number of training days printed on the VA Form 21-8951 unless the Veteran submits evidence within 60 days showing why VA should not take the proposed action. 7 Did the Veteran respond within 65 days? If yes, follow the instructions in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.b. If no, assume the number of training days shown on VA Form 21-8951 is correct, and adjust the Veteran’s award accordingly, by following the procedures in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.4.

 Reference: For more information about 800-series EPs and their corresponding work items, see the VETSNET 800 Series Work Items Desk Reference.