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September 6, 2023

Can Reservists Get VA Disability?

Last updated on February 22, 2024

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Many veterans join the Reserves or National Guard following active-duty service. 

One commonly asked question is, “Can I collect VA disability while in the Reserves?”

This post will answer the question of can Reservists get VA disability.

We’ll also take a look at VA disability for National Guard Members.

Let’s begin.



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Can Reservists Get VA Disability?

Yes, but only for certain VA benefits. 

For example, you can’t get VA compensation and drill pay at the same time. You have to waive one or the other. Whichever you choose to waive will be reduced by the amount of the other. 

For example, if you get $500 for a drill weekend, and your monthly VA compensation is $400, you’ll only receive $100 of your drill pay for a total of $500. This is due to the dual compensation rule, also known as the VA offset

Only select veterans (those who receive CRDP and CRSC) can get pay from both the DoD and the VA. 

However, you can receive monthly VA compensation as a retiree of the Reserves and National Guard (as long as you’re not also receiving military retirement pay. The VA offset rule applies here, too). 

Also, you can certainly receive VA benefits other than monthly compensation while on drilling status. 

Can I Collect VA Disability While in the National Guard?

Yes, but only certain VA benefits. Like Reservists, Guard Members can’t get VA compensation and drill pay at the same time. In other words, you must waive one or the other. 

Eligibility for VA Disability Benefits: Reserves and Guard

To be eligible for VA disability benefits while on drilling status or as a retiree of the Reserves or National Guard, you must have served on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training and have a service-connected disability. 

Your disability is considered service-connected if you can prove that your military service caused your disability or made it worse. 


VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve Members

National Guard and Reserve members have access to many of the same VA benefits as active duty veterans. 

For example:

  1. Monthly Compensation: If your service-connected disability is rated at 10% or higher, you’ll receive monthly compensation from the VA. You can see the entire 2024 pay chart on our blog.
  2. Home Loan Guarantee: To be eligible for the VA’s Home Loan Guarantee program, you must have served at least 90 days on active duty or served at least 6 years in the Reserves or NG, or still be in the Reserves or NG.
  3. Education Benefits: Reserve and National Guard members are eligible for the Post 9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills if they meet the service requirements.
  4. Health Care and Medication: All veterans can get free health care and prescribed medication for treatment of their service-connected disability. 

If your disability is rated at 10% or higher, you could also be eligible for enrollment in VA priority group 3 or higher, which means you won’t have any inpatient, outpatient, or medication copays either. 

Can Active Guard Reserve (AGR) Get VA Benefits?

Yes! As long as you meet the service requirements, you can get VA benefits on AGR status.


Can You Join the Guard or Reserves with a VA Disability Rating?

Yes. Having a VA disability rating doesn’t always prevent you from joining the Reserves or National Guard. Sometimes, it does, but that’s because of your injury, not because you have a VA rating. 

You may need a medical waiver for your condition to join the Reserves or Guard. 

Talking to a recruiter is a good place to start. They’ll know the specifics of getting you back into the military.



Just because you haven’t served on active duty doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to VA benefits! 

The fact is that more than 1 million National Guard and Reservists have been activated in support of OIF, OEF, OIR, and other operations. So you’ve earned it! 

Most veterans are underrated for their disabilities and, therefore, not getting their due compensation. At VA Claims Insider, we help you understand and take control of the claims process, so you can get the rating and compensation you’re owed by law.

If you’ve filed your VA disability claim and have been denied or have received a low rating—or you’re unsure how to get started—reach out to us! Take advantage of a FREE VA Claim Discovery Call. Learn what you’ve been missing—so you can FINALLY get the disability rating and compensation you deserve!

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