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Navigating VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve

Soldier with Family

Source: National Guard

National Guardsman and reservists have unique challenges balancing their military service with civilian life and managing transitions between them. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides members of the National Guard and reserve a specific set of benefits and services.

You can receive VA benefits if you are a:

  • Member of the National Guard or reserve called to active duty by federal order
  • Veteran
  • Veteran's dependent
  • Surviving spouse, child or parent of a deceased veteran

During your demobilization briefing, you will learn about VA programs available to you and have the chance to enroll in VA health care. In addition, you can attend Yellow Ribbon reintegration events, which will include information on how to connect with local resources.

VA Offers Psychological Health Support  

VA offers five years of free health care to National Guard and Reserve members who served in Iraq or Afghanistan. It includes access to all VA hospitals and services. The heath care plan offers psychological health resources and programs including access to Vet Centers and self-assessments for psychological health concerns. For more programs offered for specific concerns such as posttraumatic stress disorder and substance misuse, visit the VA Mental Health page.

More on VA Health Care

The Veterans Health Administration manages the VA’s 1,700 health care facilities across the country that provide care to more than 8.7 million veterans each year. The facilities include clinics, community living centers, hospitals and residential rehabilitation centers. For an overview of VA health benefits, read the Real Warriors Campaign article “Veterans Affairs Health Benefits Overview.”

In addition, the VA offers resources and support for women’s health, housing, monetary benefits, employment assistance, education and training programs and service-connected disabilities.

When changing your health care from TRICARE to VA, there may be different benefits. Click here to compare the two plans. Learn more about how to apply for VA health care.

Veterans Choice Program

Starting Nov. 5, 2014, VA will cover non-VA health care for veterans enrolled in VA health care. Non-VA health care provides care to veterans outside of the VA. Call 866-606-8198 for more information on eligibility or visit the Veterans Choice Program website.

You can also connect with VA on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on VA benefits and services, and for peer support.

If you are coping with psychological health concerns, call the DCoE Outreach Center at 866-966-1020 or log on to Real Warriors Live Chat 24/7 to speak confidentially with a trained health resource consultant.

Additional Resources

Last Reviewed: 07/21/15
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