The Army National Guard has existed since 1636, making it the oldest military branch in the United States. Members of this military branch perform various functions including engaging in physical combat during national and international conflicts, helping to extinguish forest fires and working to keep the United States secure from terrorist threats. In recognition of their efforts, the government provides benefits to eligible National Guard members.
Most of the Army National Guard members who are eligible for VA benefits include those who served on active duty during military conflicts or domestic emergencies.
Army National Guard Eligibility
Army National Guard members who serve on active duty during a military conflict or domestic emergency can qualify to receive VA benefits. To receive the benefits, National Guard members must send a copy of their military orders and the executive order declaring the event as a military conflict or domestic emergency to the VA. However, even if National Guard members do not serve on active duty during times of war or domestic emergency, they may still qualify to receive some VA benefits.
Health and Disability Benefits
If Army National Guard members are discharged from serving on active duty during combat that occurred after November 11, 1998, they can enroll to receive health benefits through the VA; they must have an honorable discharge. In addition, members of the Army National Guard who were injured or disabled while serving on active duty can receive disability benefits. Furthermore, they may qualify to receive disability benefits if they were injured or disabled during active or inactive duty training.
Depending on factors, such as the severity of the injury or disability, and the guard member’s length of service, the amount of monthly disability payments qualifying members can receive range from $136 to $2,973.
REAP Educational Benefits
Under the Montgomery GI Bill, Army National Guard members who serve (or commit to serve) at least six years in the military can receive up to 36 months of tuition assistance benefits. In addition to serving in the Army National Guard for at least six years, they must also complete active duty training, have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED) and be in good standing in the military. Furthermore, if persons serving in the Army National Guard serve on active duty during wartime or a national emergency, they can also receive benefits through the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP).
Only veterans who were enrolled in an educational institution on November 24, 2015, or during a school's last semester, quarter or term that ended prior to this date, can continue to receive REAP benefits until November 25, 2019. On this date, the REAP program will be unavailable to all veterans.
For serving 90 days but less than a year during wartime or a national emergency, eligible veterans can receive $797.60 a month in tuition assistance if they attend college as a full-time student. If they serve one year, but less than two years, they can receive $1,196.40 a month. For serving two consecutive years or longer, they can receive $1595.20 a month.
Reservist Family Benefits
Spouses and children of Army National Guard members who die during military combat may be eligible to receive certain benefits, including death benefits, educational assistance, guaranteed home loans, access to military commissaries, medical services and access to recreation facilities. Other benefits they can receive include Service Members Group Life Insurance, a monthly annuity and a death gratuity.
For a husband or wife to receive death benefits, the deceased spouse must have died while serving on a federally activated mission or during inactive duty training. If the National Guard member died after being called to duty by a state governor, the spouse is only eligible to receive life insurance benefits.
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