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Are National Guard Members Considered Veterans?

Veterans are eligible for a whole slew of benefits, including the valuable VA home loan. But do National Guard members fall under that umbrella? Or is Veteran status just for members of the main five branches?

Let’s take a look at the issue in more depth.

Published on July 22, 2021

Yes, National Guard members can, indeed, be considered U.S. Veterans as of 2016. The Honor America's Guard-Reserve Retirees Act was passed, giving retired Guardsmen and women the chance to earn Veteran status in the eyes of the law.

To be clear, not all Guard members are considered Veterans — just certain those called to active duty or who qualify for retirement benefits. We’ll break this down more below.

Definition of a Veteran

Legally speaking, a Veteran is someone who served “in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.”

Service technically means full-time active duty — when a member is on-call to report 24/7 for a given period. For most military members, there must be at least 24 months of active duty on record.

Those drafted — or enlisted — before September 8, 1980, or who have a service-related disability don’t need a minimum length of service to be considered a Veteran.

What Service Makes a Guard Member a Veteran?

In order to get Veteran status, National Guard members need to have been called up for active duty, either under Title 10 (by the president) or under Title 32 (by the state governor) of the U.S. Code.

As long as you’re called up and serve the entire period you’ve been summoned for, you’ll qualify for Veteran status, as well as the benefits that come with it.

Another way a Guard member can achieve Veteran status — not to mention retirement benefits — is with at least 20 years of service. That does not need to include any sort of active duty.

The Bottom Line

Are National Guard members considered Veterans? In many cases, yes. There are multiple ways for National Guard members to achieve Veteran status and to enjoy all the perks that status brings.

Are you a National Guardsman or woman interested in using your VA loan benefit? Get in touch today.

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