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What is a Veteran? Title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable.” This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. However, with regard to applicable benefits, other considerations are important and will be covered in later sections.

References: For more information on:

  • the definition of the term Veteran for purposes of compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) and death pension, see
    38 CFR 3.1(d), and Paulson v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 466, 470 (1995), and
  • groups approved for Veteran status under Public Law (PL) 95-202 and 106-259, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, 2.K.3.

Understanding the Difference Between Types of Military Service

What is a Veteran

There are a larger variety of services an individual can be a part of than is generally believed. The following are descriptions of each to help you steer your way through:

Full-time

Active-duty service is simply full time. Active-duty members are available for duty 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, with the exclusion of leave (vacation) or pass (authorized time off). Active-duty members fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense and can serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.

Remember:

If an individual served active-duty service, it is credible toward length-of-service requirements when qualifying for veterans benefits.

Part-Time

Performing duties one weekend per month, plus two weeks of training per year, members of the Reserves and National Guard are considered part-time, though, since the Gulf War in 1990, they’ve spent exponentially more time called to full-time active duties. In fact, National Guards and Reserves generally spend two years of their six-year enlistment performing full-time active duty.

Reserves

The objective of the Reserves is to deliver supplementary support to active-duty forces, when obligated. All of the different military services have a Reserve branch under the patronage of the Department of Defense: Army Reserve, Air Force Reserve, Navy Reserve, Marine Corps Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve.

Though it doesn’t count as active-duty time for most veteran’s benefits, when an individual joins the Reserves, they attend basic training and military job school full time. After completion of basic training and military job school, those considered Reserves resume civilian life, except for training called inactive duty training (IDT) which takes place one weekend per month.

Reserves, however, do complete 14 days of full-time training once a year. The training is categorized as active duty for training (ADT). Neither IDT nor ADT counts toward service requirements for veteran’s benefits.

The president and secretary of defense can request those in the Reserves to active duty at any time in order to increase efforts on certain military projects. Approximately 65,000 Reserves are performing active duty in support of military contingency operations at any given moment.

This type of active duty counts toward veterans benefits.

National Guard

The principal difference between the National Guard and the Reserves is that the federal government is in charge of the Reserves, while the National Guard units predominately belong to individual states.

There are two National Guard types: the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. National Guard members attend basic training and military job school full time under ADT (active duty for training), similar to the Reserves.

They resume daily civilian life but train one weekend per month (IDT) in addition to 15 full-time training days per year. This type of IDT/ADT time doesn’t count toward veteran’s benefits.

State governors can call National Guard members to active duty if a state emergency arises. Such emergencies include relief or protection of property and people outside the authority of local law enforcement. This form of state duty is known officially as “Title 38 Call-up” and doesn’t count toward veteran’s benefits either.

Like the Reserves, the president and secretary of defense can call upon the National Guard in provision of military contingency operations, known as “Title 10 Call-ups” or federal duty. This type of duty counts toward service requirements for veteran’s benefits.

In a given month, an estimated 40,000 members of the Air and Army National Guard are performing federal duty overseas.

Active Guard/Reserves

A program called the Active Guard/Reserves (AGR) includes members of the Reserves and National Guard that take part in full-time active duty. To make sure that National Guard and Reserve units are ready to mobilize at all times, AGR members provide daily operational support.

For veteran’s benefit service requirements, AGR duty is similar to full-time active-duty service.

Individual Ready Reserve

A military service contract spans a minimum of eight years total and the time that isn’t spent on active duty or in the Guard/Reserves must be spent in inactive reserves, known as the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR).

Generally, after serving four years, a member is transferred to the IRR for their remaining four years. IRR members don’t take part in weekend drills or annual training, but unfortunately, they don’t get paid either.IRR members can be recalled into active duty when necessary, in order to support military projects.

During IRR status, the time spent inactive doesn’t count toward veteran’s benefits unless the member is recalled into active duty.

Roughly 15,000 IRR members have been recalled to active duty, largely for the Army and Marine Corps, every year since 2004.

See Reference here.

2017-12-04T18:53:01+00:00 September 10th, 2015|Categories: VA Benefits, Who is a Veteran|Tags: , , , , |137 Comments

137 Comments

  1. alburt smith October 16, 2015 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    why local veteran party of local block clubs in Michigan other states now and the future

    • Veteran Assistance October 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Not certain what your question is?

  2. Pierre November 26, 2015 at 11:48 am - Reply

    Most of the time when you separate from svcriee you have to turn in your ID, will you also accept DD214 s or other proof of svcriee? Thanks, I think this is great you guys are doing this!

  3. Ed Zimmerman Jr December 7, 2015 at 5:34 am - Reply

    I served in the PA Army National Guard and the USAR from 1974 to 1991 and discharged with 2 honorable discharges. I put in 186 days of Basic and AIT. I served two Infantry units, two Field Artillery units, one field Combat Support Hospital and one Military Intelligence unit. Minimum of 13+ years of service. I also have a Distinguished Service Award from the United Veterans’ Council and Veterans’ Advisory Commission of Philadelphia. I have also represented the frigate USS UNITED STATES, First Ship of the United States Navy since Sept 1978. According to the above because I was not active I am not entitled to benefits for all that I have done. Is this true? I am requesting verification of benefits. I was not entitled to a DD214.

    • G April 13, 2016 at 4:01 am - Reply

      To help you understand your benefits (if applicable), type the question,”what is a veteran?”. this guide will give you 98% of definite answer to help. make sure to choose the va.org site. or va.gov/benefits

      • G April 13, 2016 at 4:02 am - Reply

        nerd moment, sorry. use the site you were on.

      • Steve September 26, 2017 at 10:58 pm - Reply

        What is meant by “COMPLETED a service?” Does completing only basic and AIT considered “completing a service?”

        • Adam September 27, 2017 at 6:11 pm - Reply

          It appears that you must have served in active military service. From the Veteran’s Eligibility page on the VA page:

          “For the purposes of VA health benefits and services, a person who served in the active military service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable is a Veteran…. Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.”

          https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

    • Randy September 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      I have the same question. 13 years in USAR – captain.

    • Robert T Gilliam June 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      I was in the Army reserve for four years, I understand that I do not qualify for va benefits but I’m I considered a veteran? I can’t seem to fine that written any place. Thanks

      • John Lane June 26, 2017 at 12:46 pm - Reply

        The Federal Government does not consider Reservist to be Veteran’s unless you had prior Active Duty Service in the full time Military, were called up to Active Duty and served in war time or served 20 year’s in the Reserve. I too was in the Reserve. I was in the Marine Corps Reserve for 4 year’s. I went to the same Boot Camp and have 2 MOS. We did our 1 weekend per month and our 2 week’s a year. My Dad talked me out of going Active Duty in case I didn’t like it. I signed up Delay entry at 17. By the time I got in I had decided to go to EMT school and work on an Ambulance Service. If I had not done that I would have gone active. I realize that their is a difference between Active Duty and Reserve but to me I went through the same Boot Camp and school’s so even though I am not considered a Veteran by the Government’s standard I will continue to call myself one until I die. I have never been to war nor lived the 24/7 active life I am still a Marine !! Obama signed into Law that all Reserve and National Guard Member’s that fought in War Time for went in Country are considered Veteran’s. Before you were not !

        • Daryl Reed June 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm - Reply

          i submitted this so everyone who was concerned if they were a veteran of not can read what is on the VA website, it was nit to say you are a veteran or not, but thank you for your service and dedication to our great country.

        • Ryan Armstrong March 21, 2018 at 5:46 pm - Reply

          John you are absolutely right. The U.S. Government didn’t invent the word “veteran”. A “veteran” is an individual who served in the Armed Forces. Folks confuse “veteran” with the U.S. Government’s extension of “benefits”. I too served as a traditional Reservist for 11 years. I drilled the full 8 years in the Coast Guard Reserve, and then did a 3 year enlistment in the Navy Reserve. I went to Coast Guard Basic Training in 1990 and then 10 weeks to learn my rate of Yeoman the following year. In the Navy Reserve I was a Legalman and completed a 6 week course at the Naval Justice School. I qualify for a VA Home Loan, and I still have VGLI. I now shop online with the Coast Guard and Navy Exchanges by way of that new benefit for “veterans” granted last November. I earned 14 medals and awards in both services. If I can’t wear a ball cap that says “veteran” on it, then something is seriously wrong. I don’t qualify for VA Healthcare, and I won’t get a VA Headstone for my grave, BUT I am entitled to Graveside Military Honors and a US Flag for my family. I never received a DD-214, but have 2 DD-256s. I took 2 Oaths of Enlistment and have 2 seabags full of uniforms. It’s all about controlling the flow of $$$-that’s the bottom line for the Government use of the term “Veteran”. Otherwise, if I’ve served and earned as I did above, if I’m not a “veteran”, then what the Hell am I? By the way, I’ve been a member of the American Legion for 26 years-they say that “a veteran is a veteran is a veteran”, and obviously admitted me based on my military service record. I’m also a member of the FRA (Fleet Reserve Association). If I’m not a “veteran” then how could I join a “veterans organization”?

          • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:26 am

            Some of those “clubs” will take anybody just to get the dues, and or qualify for group benefits.

        • An Army Reserve veteran May 21, 2018 at 8:41 am - Reply

          Just an FYI……

          The Veterans Identification Card Act 2015 has officially given legal veteran status to all who served in the Reserves and National Guard, even if they weren’t mobilized.

          It doesn’t grant additional benefits, but before this law, only service personnel that fit certain criteria could call themselves “Veterans” under VA guidelines.

          That’s all changed with this new ID law.

          The new rules from the VA are that anyone who completed their enlistment with the National Guard or Reserves under honorable conditions, and received an NGB-22, NGB-55, or DD-214 proving their service, will received an ID card with the VA Logo stating that they are a “Veteran.”

          Cheers,

          An Army Reserve veteran

    • George Pope October 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm - Reply

      The Information I Found Above Is This: There are two National Guard types: the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. National Guard members attend basic training and military job school full time under ADT (active duty for training), similar to the Reserves.

      They resume daily civilian life but train one weekend per month (IDT) in addition to 15 full-time training days per year. This type of IDT/ADT time doesn’t count toward veteran’s benefits., If You Need Further Assistance Check With Your Local VA Representative Or You Can Go To Your Local American Legion, They Should Have A Representative There That Can Help You Find The Answer’s You Have If Not They Should Be Able To Point You In The Right Direction.

  4. Domenic A Laurenza Jr August 11, 2016 at 9:27 pm - Reply

    can u tell me what part of my disability and compensation. . am 100%. my rent is based on income and my management company says that my D&C

    is income. would appreciate a explanation. thank you

  5. Domenic A Laurenza Jr August 11, 2016 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    what part if, if any, of my disability and compensation is income. Iam rated at 100%

    • Veterans Authority August 12, 2016 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Veterans’ benefits are also excluded from Federal taxable income. The following amounts paid to Veterans or their Families are not taxable:

      Education, training, and subsistence allowances.
      Disability compensation and pension payments for disabilities paid either to Veterans or their Families.
      Grants for homes designed for wheelchair living.
      Grants for motor vehicles for Veterans who lose their sight or use of their limbs.
      Veterans’ insurance proceeds and dividends paid either to Veterans or their beneficiaries, including the proceeds of a Veteran’s endowment policy paid before death.
      Interest on insurance dividends left on deposit with the VA.
      Benefits under a dependent-care assistance program.
      The death gratuity paid to a survivor of a member of the Armed Forces who died after September 10, 2001.
      Payments made under the compensated work therapy program.
      Any bonus payment by a state or political subdivision because of service in a combat zone.

  6. fred wagner millhouse September 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Army national Guard why no health benefits I served from 1970 to 1976

    • Veterans Authority September 12, 2016 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Basic Eligibility
      If you served in the active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health benefits as well.

      Reserves or National Guard members with active duty for training purposes only do not meet the basic eligibility requirement.

      Check here for more information: http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

      • Ralph Broeils November 2, 2016 at 1:04 am - Reply

        You are eligible for disability benefits if your disability event occurred while on duty and there was a Line of Duty Report issued with that event. National Guard.

        • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:28 am - Reply

          He didn’t say anything about disability.

  7. DS B September 19, 2016 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    Served in USAF. May 1981 – Sep 1982. Discharged general under Honorable with PPD – later formally diagnosed with Autism/Aspergers. Issue is I was in just short of 180 days. 172 days to be exact. According to what I was told on separation was that I was entitled to nothing, to get nothing and could never get it amended. I am thoroughly embarrassed and break down any time I try to go to find out if I a even entitled to a flag on my coffin.

    Because it was short of 180 days, I am not technically a veteran correct? I am going back to school and don’t want to lie on my forms. I also don’t wish to say that I am if I am not – which is why I rarely talk about that part of my life.

    • David Highley December 8, 2016 at 11:50 pm - Reply

      You are a veteran if you were discharged honorably. VA benefit eligibility has more requirements so just because you may not qualify for VA benefits, you are entitled to military honors regarding funeral and certainly check the veteran box unless it specifically calls out combat veteran.

      • Megan December 21, 2016 at 3:51 pm - Reply

        Thank you for your feedback!

      • Jim July 1, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

        I know of a person who served less than four months and was discharged because he could not handle it. He had no medical condition, he just wanted out. (There is also an entry-level separation given usually within the first 180 days for medical or other reasons.) They are usually not considered a veteran.
        He claims he is a veteran and uses it in his business which I think is a sham. His was not an dishonorable discharge but he is hardly a veteran in my opinion. With all of the people trying to claim this honor there should be a CLEAR definition of what it requires to be a Veteran!
        DS B must have his dates wrong as May, 1981 to Sept 1982 is much longer than 180 days. I respect that he wants to be sure before stating he is a veteran, shows integrity.

        • Rob May 15, 2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

          I was discharged(separated) with a week left in basic, I had issues with my back. Was told I would not be able to get any type of benefits but I believe I’m still considered a veteran according to the definition. Personally, I don’t like to answer that I’m a veteran. I don’t want or need benefits, their are plenty of soldiers that need it already who don’t get it. Am I wrong in the assumption that I’m a veteran? Basic training is technically active duty, correct?

    • Rodriguez September 15, 2017 at 11:41 pm - Reply

      If you have never reached the 180 days , you are not a veteran, why because you discharge will say other than, instead for those even for training purposes did 180 days the DD214 says Honorable discharge , go check your DD@!$ if your discharge says other than then you are not a veteran , I did 8 years as reservist and I am considered by some states a veteran , even my driver licence says veteran, I still get discounts even points in city jobs specially in Pennsylvania. I hope NY Honor that too like in Pennsylvania. I hope that our new President will recognized all reservist and national guard who did 8 years first term the status of veteran, that is fair . all who got the balls to join the armed forces we are first class citizens , meanwhile the rest of the citizens do not do nothing do not serve. I am a Puertorican for served my Nation , all the men in my father’s side served since WWI and the rest, We speak Spanish but we are and feel americans, it is the responsibility of any US citizen regardles what commonwealth states or place in US defend and protect the constitution

      • Terry September 20, 2017 at 6:37 am - Reply

        I am glad to see someone else feels as I do. I served with an Army Reserve Unit from 1969 to 1975 and was honorably discharged. I am told by Veterans who served in Vietnam that if I signed the papers and was willing to be called up that I deserve the title Veteran. The State of Texas recognizes me as a Veteran why doesn’t the Federal Government. They make us out to be second class citizens and that isn’t right. I am eligible to join the American Legion so what is the Federal Government’s problem.

        • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:35 am - Reply

          American Legion will take anybody, doesn’t count. Just because YOU consider yourself to be something, doesn’t mean it is true by law or qualification. Rachel Dolezal “considers” herself to be black, but she isn’t.

  8. Dave October 13, 2016 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    “Full-time

    Active-duty service is simply full time. Active-duty members are available for duty 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, with the exclusion of leave (vacation) or pass (authorized time off). Active-duty members fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Defense and can serve in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.”

    Doesn’t the U.S. Coast Guard work for the Department of Homeland Security unless in time of war???

    • hannah November 8, 2016 at 12:25 am - Reply

      hi i want to take this min to say thank u veterans for serving the country u mean a lot to me and other people. Thanks u so much

      _hannah

  9. Colby October 26, 2016 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Just to be clear. I served in the Army National Guard. Went through Basic Training, AIT did my 6 years going to drill once a month and 2 weeks a year in the summer and then 2 years inactive and was discharged after completion of service. Am I a Veteran?

    • Rodriguez September 15, 2017 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      Depends, on Your Basic Training and AIT did you reached the magic number of days of 180 days? If so then you DD214 should say honorable discharge , otherwise will say other than. I am like you but I did not take the 2 years non active reserve , I did my whole 8 years, my licence says veteran, in the State of Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico give me 5 point for state exams I hope in NY honor the same, I get discount. If you want to now check if you were active for 180 and have a DD214 as honorable discharge

  10. makia October 30, 2016 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    what is a veteran

    • Veterans Authority November 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      For the purposes of VA health benefits and services, a person who served in the active military service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable is a Veteran.

      • Robert Redfern May 24, 2017 at 7:26 pm - Reply

        This question about “Am I a vet or am I not? ” is very troubling for a lot of us. I was in the Air Force Reserve did my 6 years and then served 2 more. I would have stayed for 20 if it wasn’t for my job. But from what I read, I could have served 20+ in the Reserves and I would not be eligible for any benefits at all, correct? I too feel unsure about my status so much so that when I am at an event and someone asks if all the vets in the room would please stand in order to be recognized, I am slow getting out of my seat because I still have a question in my mind and it has been 40 years since I was in uniform. Very sad for all of us, especially those of us that reenlisted when we could have walked away.

        • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:38 am - Reply

          The title of ‘Veteran’ , and benefit eligibility are two completely different things.

  11. Richard F Merrick November 11, 2016 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    I was member of the National Guard Army Reserve for eight and half years and discharged a SSG E -6.A member Aug 5 1952 discharged Mar 6 1961 can i say i am a veteran.
    Thanks very much Richard Merrick

    • James May 29, 2018 at 12:14 am - Reply

      Yes you can but if you never put in any active duty them your not eligible for federal veterans benifits.

  12. John November 15, 2016 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Before I ask a question I would like to thank all those who have served and who are serving our country May the lord bless you and your families,, I have had this question on my mind for years now, and when I have asked it in the past I get so many different answers I don’t what to think…. Back in Early Nov 1976 I enlisted in the USMC during Boot camp training I developed a hernia. They sent me to a doctor that could hardly speech English and it scared the crap out of me haha… They wanted to operate etc… I was really spooked about this being away from home and no speak thee English doctor.. so I decided to ask if I could have my own personal doctor take care of this.. they said yes but we have to discharge you.. I said well OK.. ( one of the biggest mistake of my life I regret it till this day 40 years later, I even have dreams re-enlisting to this day wish I could.) I was young immature at the time. So I was giving an Honorable discharge, DD 256 certificate, DD 214 showing NET Active service, total active service and total service for pay. So here is my question… Mind you back in 1976 things were a little bit different then they are today, I was wondering if I qualify for VA BENEFITS like health care. with this Obama care coverage its killing my wallet, and I was wonder if I would qualify… I was reading all the VA rules and according to this rule I will post here ….. QUOTE: (Length of Service Prior to September 8, 1980, there was no minimum length of service necessary to be considered a veteran for most VA benefits. However, for an individual who enlisted after September 8, 1980, there are now certain minimum length of service requirements. The general requirement is either 24 months of continuous active duty or the “full period” for which the service member was called or ordered to active duty.14) END QUOTE: With this being said I’m just wondering if my service in boot camp was ACTIVE DUTY or ACTIVE DUTY IN TRAINING, because it only states ACTIVE duty on my DD 214 plus the honorable discharge along with it… would they give me an honorable discharge with a DD214 if it was considered (active duty for training)? or wouldn’t they stay it was ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING ON THE DD 214? I appreciate those who took the time to read my lengthy question. Im not trying to promote myself as a seasoned veteran so please this question is not about me being a veteran but only being able to get VA health care if I qualify. So my understanding is if your in the service full time 24/7 your active duty starts from day one, but if your reservist your not considered full time your considered ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING is this correct? . Thanks and God be with all of you daily.

    • Paul leonard November 28, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

      Please reply toquestion

      • Paul leonard November 28, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

        I’m looking for answer toKlm,s and John,s question

  13. Kim Adragna November 15, 2016 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    My father was in the National Guard for 8 years around 1956 to 1964. His he considered a veteran?

    • John November 17, 2016 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      National Guard and Reserve
      Two particular elements of the criteria to be a veteran—“active duty” and “length of service”— are often difficult for members of the National Guard and the reserve components to meet. As a result, these servicemembers, having not met the statutory threshold criteria for “veteran,” are often not eligible for VA benefits. In many cases, members of the Guard and the reserves may not have fulfilled the “active duty” requirement. Members of the Guard and reserves who have never been activated for federal active duty military service, and consequently have not served on regular federal active duty, do not meet the active duty requirement for the definition of a veteran for VA benefits. For other National Guard and reserve members, the two requirements may be met at the same time. An example of this situation would be a Guard or reserve member who was activated for federal military service and served in the Persian Gulf for 12 months. At the end of the activation period, the servicemember would be considered to have served on active duty for that period of

  14. Jimmy W Stiglets December 7, 2016 at 11:14 pm - Reply

    A friend who served 18 years in the Army Reserve and later in the IRR, asked if he was considered to be a veteran. He simply wants to know if, for his service, none of which was on active duty, qualified him to be called a veteran.

    I told him that my personal opinion is that he is a veteran, even though he never served on Active, he did enlist and swore an oath to our country. This oath made him subject to being called to serve, and die if necessary, to protect and defend our Nation. That’s why I feel that he is entitled to be called a veteran, even with veteran benefits.

    I have looked several places online but I haven’t found any sites that speak specifically to this question. They talk about Active Duty, National Guard and Army Reserve Service, but don’t speak to whether a person who was a member of the National Guard or Army Reserve never serving on Active Duty is considered a veteran or not.

    Any information that you could provide that I might pass on to my friend would be sincerely appreciated.

    Thank you.

    • Jimmy W Stiglets December 7, 2016 at 11:18 pm - Reply

      This is Jimmy Stiglets. iN REREADING my comment above, I need to correct the last sentence in the 2nd paragraph. I meant to say ” That’s why I feel that he is entitled to be called a veteran, even WITHOUT veteran benefits.”

      • Megan December 21, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

        Thank you for this correction!

    • Megan December 21, 2016 at 3:53 pm - Reply

      For information about veteran eligibility see:

      http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

  15. Chuck December 30, 2016 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    My question is the same as others that do not seem to have been answered. I served a total of 12 years, in the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserves, as determined by available bases when moving to different states. I am not looking for VA benefits, but simply need to know if I am considered a Veteran, or not. Never activated by state or fed. gov’t, but did “weekend warrior” and two-weeks in the summers, as required. During funerals, Veterans can salute the flag and the processions while civilians put their hand on their heart. I need to know which I am entitled to. Plus, I don’t want to dishonor actual Veterans by calling myself one if I am not.

    • Megan January 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      Here is the definition of a US Veteran:

      Under federal law, a veteran is any person who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Discharges marked “general and under honorable conditions” also qualify.

      • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:44 am - Reply

        This is a VERY limited criteria! You have to be ACTIVE, 24/7, This is why most reservist that were never called to ACTIVE duty are NOT “veterans”, but they should be respected for their commitment.

    • Ken Cyrus July 7, 2017 at 2:23 pm - Reply

      I have the same issue and concern. I am not interested in VA benefits, just in knowing whether I would be an imposter if I stand when they ask veterans to stand. Did you ever get a direct answer to your question?

      • Adam July 8, 2017 at 5:40 am - Reply

        According to USC 38 4211 the term veteran is reserved for those who served on active duty for at least 180 days.

        https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title38/html/USCODE-2011-title38-partIII-chap42-sec4211.htm
        (4) The term “eligible veteran” means a person who—
        (A) served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonorable discharge;
        (B) was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability;
        (C) as a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty pursuant to section 12301(a), (d), or (g), 12302, or 12304 of title 10, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and was discharged or released from such duty with other than a dishonorable discharge; or
        (D) was discharged or released from active duty by reason of a sole survivorship discharge (as that term is defined in section 1174(i) of title 10).

  16. Darla January 18, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I know I don’t qualify for veteran benefits but wanted to confirm if I am still considered a veteran.
    I served in the South Dakota National Guard and was honorably discharged. I did Basic and AIT training and was in for only 2-3 years total. I was never sent anywhere so I’m not sure if I’m considered a veteran or not.

    • Megan January 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Here is the definition of a US Veteran:

      Under federal law, a veteran is any person who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Discharges marked “general and under honorable conditions” also qualify.

      • Bobby Liles September 24, 2017 at 11:48 pm - Reply

        Question is a person a vet if they didn’t pass the medical physical. Only there for 30 days discharged honorable.

        • Adam September 27, 2017 at 6:37 pm - Reply

          Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.

          More information here: https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

        • Charlie Fisk May 15, 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

          Nope.

  17. Wendy January 20, 2017 at 1:52 am - Reply

    My question is for anyone… If someone does not finish boot camp and is discharged due mental distress.. Is that person still considered a Veteran?

    • Megan January 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm - Reply

      Here is the definition of a US Veteran:

      Under federal law, a veteran is any person who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Discharges marked “general and under honorable conditions” also qualify.

      • Ken Cyrus July 7, 2017 at 2:25 pm - Reply

        Is this “either/or?” in other words, is someone who did not serve on active duty, but who receives a discharge marked “general and under honorable conditions” considered a veteran? I’m not interested in veterans’ benefits, I just don’t want to misrepresent myself. But I have not seen a direct answer to this question.

    • Rodriguez September 15, 2017 at 11:55 pm - Reply

      the answer is NO because first you id not meet the 180 days secondly you discharge will say medical or other than, so the answer is no

    • Charlie Fisk May 15, 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

      No.

    • Charlie Fisk May 15, 2018 at 5:59 am - Reply

      No.

    • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:46 am - Reply

      NO.

  18. Ronald Blanchette February 11, 2017 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I was in the Coiast Guard Reserve for six years, I am not looking for benefite of any kind, I am just asking if I can classify myself as a veteran.

    • Gregg Housh November 2, 2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      Yes. Members of the Coast Guard are considered veterans.

    • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

      NO.

  19. Craig March 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    Although not armed forces, are other uniformed services like the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service considered veterans? Some of those Officers are attached to military units. Would that be a case by case exception?

  20. Grace April 24, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I am the mother of a young man who was enlisted in the National Guard. My son graduated from boot camp and then was enrolled in AIT during his short time there he was discharge and sent home because of failure to adapt in the military which was in July 2013. Is he considered a veteran?

    • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

      NO.

  21. stephen j kuk May 30, 2017 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    my service dates jan 1960 to oct 1962

    I want to join va medical plan.

    pls advise

  22. richard May 31, 2017 at 12:33 am - Reply

    People often get confused about the term Veteran:
    The VA generally defines a Veteran only in regards to eligibility for VA benefits…
    For example a Reservist or Guardsman may not qualify for VA health benefits because he/she did not serve a qualifying Active duty period for that particular benefit but he/she may qualify for another VA benefit like a VA home loan or VA educational benefits (GI bill)…..
    In short the VA basically says if you did full-time traditional active duty you qualify for most benefits if you did Active Duty Training-ADT in the reserves (weekend drills are not considered ADT)) it is also considered qualifying active duty for some Veterans benefits like educational benefits and not for others like VA health Care. Reserve Hon discharge may also qualify someone VA benefits other than Health Care
    The American Legion and the VFW both have slightly different definitions of a qualified Veteran for entry into their organization. Many Reservist may qualify for the American Legion and short take a stroll to their membership web-site.
    Finally, don’t equate getting VA health care as the only thing that qualifies someone as a veteran…it does not. If you served in any military branch and were discharged Honorably you are a Veteran…qualifying for certain VA benefits is an entirely different issue.

    • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:49 am - Reply

      ACTIVE DUTY qualifications make the difference.

  23. MH June 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    I have an employee who served as an inactive Marine reservist for 10 years. Would he still not be considered a Veteran?

    • Mark June 6, 2018 at 11:50 am - Reply

      No, he is not a “Veteran”. ‘Inactive’ is the key word.

  24. Gene June 13, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    Is a person that served for 20 plus years in the Army National Guard (No active duty except ADT) who is collecting retirement benefits considered a veteran?

    • Daryl Reed June 23, 2017 at 4:39 am - Reply

      The best way I can explain the question that most have ” Am i considered a Veteran” is this. Only the Veterans Administration can answer that question. I encourage everyone who served Active Duty, Ready Reserve , IRR and National Guard is to visit a veteran service officer once you are discharged and no longer have an obligation to one of the services, apply for VA health care by going to your local VA clinic or VA Hospital. they will tell you if you meet the requirements as a veteran. It helps to bring with you your discharge papers, or DD214. If the National Guard doesn’t give you a DD214 then you have your answer. Speak to your unit personnel before you leave the service . Ask those questions before you get out, once you are out you are basically on your own. “Nobody will take care of you better than you”.

  25. Joe July 3, 2017 at 12:05 am - Reply

    The website clarified the definition of a veteran. I served in the Air National Guard from 1956 to 1962, during the cold war and our unit came close to being activated during the Berlin wall crisis. However, since I never participated in any war, I don’t consider myself a “veteran” so I can’t include myself with those brave men and women who served in wars.

  26. Andrea Fox July 5, 2017 at 8:48 pm - Reply

    If I was active duty Army, but discharged medically in basic does that count as being a veteran? I have a DD214

    • Adam July 8, 2017 at 5:37 am - Reply

      Andrea, according to USC 38 4211 the term veteran is reserved for those who served on active duty for at least 180 days.

      https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title38/html/USCODE-2011-title38-partIII-chap42-sec4211.htm
      (4) The term “eligible veteran” means a person who—
      (A) served on active duty for a period of more than 180 days and was discharged or released therefrom with other than a dishonorable discharge;
      (B) was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability;
      (C) as a member of a reserve component under an order to active duty pursuant to section 12301(a), (d), or (g), 12302, or 12304 of title 10, served on active duty during a period of war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge is authorized and was discharged or released from such duty with other than a dishonorable discharge; or
      (D) was discharged or released from active duty by reason of a sole survivorship discharge (as that term is defined in section 1174(i) of title 10).

  27. Bob July 17, 2017 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    My dad served 2 years in the 1950’s, 4 years reserve. What is he is eligible for when it comes to benefits?

    • Adam July 27, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      You can find out more information on this by calling the VA Benefits help line at 1-800-827-1000

  28. Bob July 17, 2017 at 8:34 pm - Reply

    two years was active duty in the Army

  29. Robert Plourde August 10, 2017 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Adam…
    Not always easy… and decisions not always fair.
    situation
    4 yrs ROTC which doesn’t count, Understood. Began Sept 1954.
    From 22 Sep 1958 to 21 Mar 1959… 181 days
    Active duty… 8 weeks IOLC Inf Off leadership Course (abbreviated OCS @ Benning) and balance, assigned to Ft Devens Mass. (This is shown on DD214.
    Transferred to active reserves on March 21st due to a one time, little known “for the benefit of the government” release, because of the oversupply of 2nd Lt’s when noncoms were coming back from Korea and wanted promotions… Short term… one time offer.
    I served in the reserves until 4 Feb 1969 when I was honorably discharged as Captain, US Army.
    No benefits at all. Benefit denial cited ACDUTRA, but the active duty time totaled 181 days.

    According to the rules, I guess I’m just not a veteran @ age 81. Would sure like to have that time back, or at least be allowed to be called a veteran.

  30. Brenda Wilson August 15, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    Hubby served during Vietnam era in Airforce. He was stationed in Ak as c130 mechanic and was never overseas. So no boots on ground but still served during war time.
    Question: why can’t he be service connected?

    • Adam August 15, 2017 at 9:18 pm - Reply

      Brenda, you’ll have to contact the VA benefits office for more information at 1-800-827-1000

  31. Prisco E Entines August 17, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    My father – Pfc. Enrique Hape Entines – VA File # XCSS-06-380-570 – an alleged U.S. National, by compulsory military service for all 21 year olds, got enlisted with the August 1901 US-organized “Philippine Constabulary” (PC) on July 14, 1927 that was under the Department of the Interior till 1934. Before his Honorable Discharge (on July 17, 1930) for the required minimum three (3) year Military Service with the US Army, he got operated with “appendicitis” while still in service in Kingking, Davao of Mindanao – the southernmost part of the Philippine Islands, that was then the first and only U.S. Colony. He had then a service-connected disability, thus entitled to the life-long pension of $30.00/month. So with both his parents. For he was still single that time. On November of 1934 when the Philippines became a US Commonwealth by virtue of the Tydings-McDuffie Act a.k.a. 1934 Philippine Independence Act, Pfc. Entines was integrated with the US-Philippine Commonwealth Army (US-PCA) as trainor of the PCA trainees. But on July 26, 1941, U.S. President Roosevelt subjected him to the death penalty of Articles of War #58 for desertion by his World WAR II (WW2)-Conscription. Thus he was forced to leave his wife with SEVEN (7) children to fight for the US WAR against Japan. Very extremely tragic and definitely deeply traumatic, on March 25, 1945 as a US National WAR-Conscriptee, he died-in-line-of-duty (DILOD) leaving behind his WAR-widow with 7 Orphaned children. And what is very unconscionably egregious, if not preposterous, his service of some 18 years was reduced to FIVE (5) months only – from Nov. 1944 to March 25, 1945. And what is the most deeply traumatic was by an “Ex Post Facto” law – SECTION 107, 38 US Code of February 18, 1946 (almost a year after Pfc. Entines death) was ‘RETROACTIVELY applied to him, rendering his WW2 death-in-service NOT considered “ACTIVE”. For purposes of full and equal VA and SSA concurrent benefits. But somehow the Death Indemnity Compensation (DIC) was prejudicially approved from 1947 only. Instead of 1945. Making matters worse, by virtue of SECTION 107, 38 US Code by double jeopardy war-slavery, massive fraud and heartless treachery, his WAR pay was never paid fully and equally; the NSLI of $5,000.00 was never granted; and the DIC was reduced to 50% only of what Anglo-American widows fully and equally enjoyed. For me, after more than 30 years trying to persuade US Congress, the USVA and SSA to finally and permanently correct this very criminally-conspired and “historical” ‘injustice’, this would constitute the “Cruelest WAR and Hate-CRIME of the Century. And probably its final and permanent correction would demand a very strict scrutiny by either a “Grand Jury” and/or International WAR-Crime inquiry.
    May, i therefore, beg for an opinion. For the latest issue of RACISM, BIGOTRY, WHITE SUPREMACY-Violence-related at Charlotesville, Virginia, undoubtedly reveal all these years that the legalized SECTION 2169 Revised Statutes, judicially-sanctioned in some 31 Racist US Federal Supreme Court decisions (with DRED Scott v. Sanford (1857) decision as the core of the Apartheid. WithOUT mentioning the different SEVEN (7) Racist Court
    decisions versus the US National-demoted “FILIPINO NEGRO” (from 1912 till 1941) v.g. Javier v. US and De Cano v. Washington State (1940), respectively. Thanks for vindicating a true WW2 Heroes’ families’ equal human dignity, justice, honor and respect. More power to truly and unbiasedly recognize US WAR Veterans of all WARS and of all country-origins, collar, culture and races. God bless us all with true and lasting Peace rooted only in real JUSTICE for all.

  32. Pam September 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm - Reply

    My cousin who was in the reserve Army national guard, got out after 20 years, got out in 1999, did his required weekends, gets base previlages to the PX, has a military ID card. Deployed 1 month (I don’t know where, to help cover the job) and he said he was told he is not a veteran. Would this be true? I have encouraged him to speak to the vey trans service rep here in town.
    Thank you everyone for your service!

    • Adam September 4, 2017 at 9:48 pm - Reply

      You can find out more information about veteran status by calling the VA Benefits help line at 1-800-827-1000

  33. Pok Tel September 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    Admin discharge under chapter 5-17 with 16 months of military service. Am I considered to be a veteran? Also, I got injured in the military, do i still get VA medical benefits for my injury?

    • Adam September 15, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

      Pok, you can find out more information about your veteran status by calling the VA Benefits help line at 1-800-827-1000.

  34. Frank September 15, 2017 at 7:35 pm - Reply

    I enlisted Sept 27, 1990 with the Army National Guard, I left for Ft McClellan on Oct 18, 1990, I returned back March 6, 1991. I served a total of 3 years, and 5 years IRR, President Bush stated at that time that anyone who had served active duty during the Persian Gulf War was considered a veteran. After my ETS I had a DD214 and a NGB 22.

    Fast forward to today, I never used any benefits because I didn’t need them. My wife and I were looking to refinance our house and a friend told me that I could get a VA loan, I just had to apply for the COE. I checked a bunch of websites to see if I qualified for a VA loan, and there it was, Yes I do, I had served more than 90 days during a time of war. I applied for the COE, attached my DD214 and NGB22, and started my long wait.

    Yesterday I got a nice email, it stated that with the information provided that I do not qualify for a VA COE or Home Loan. I called them and asked why, I checked the qualifiers and it has it right there, I qualify. A very nice person on the phone looked into it and stated that my active time was during training and that does not qualify towards the time requirements.

    I have to say that I feel like half of a veteran, I did my time during wartime, I was discharged honorably, I have a veteran licence plate, but I’m not good enough to get any benefits from the VA.

    That is all.

    • Rodriguez September 16, 2017 at 12:01 am - Reply

      The same is happen to me, I have my licence saying I am a veteran, I have a veteran licence plate as well too,in the state of Pennsylvania they gave me 5 point for state jobs, also I take state exam and use my D214 as a waive of the fee, I hope NY honor the 5 points for my current pass exams.

  35. Anthony Rickey September 27, 2017 at 1:22 am - Reply

    Are active duty members considered veterans?

    • Adam September 27, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      From the Veteran’s Eligibility page on the VA page:

      “For the purposes of VA health benefits and services, a person who served in the active military service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable is a Veteran…. Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.”

      https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

  36. Alan October 1, 2017 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    19D Cavalry Scout, didn’t complete Basic Training but was in the Army for more than 180 days and was given Honorable Discharge, am i considered a Veteran?

    • Adam October 2, 2017 at 7:57 pm - Reply

      Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980 “must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible.”

      However, this minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.

      More information here: https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

  37. Mike October 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    First – let me clarify – I have never used nor will I ever use my DD214 for benefits or preference for jobs – nor have I ever claimed to be a vet out of respect for the men and women who are —– that being said .

    I have a DD214 – never served active duty as i was dismissed during bootcamp due to EPTS conditions – EXISTED PRIOR TO SERVICE(EPTS) – at any rate I wanted to stay in but they dismissed me – under the law with my DD214 am I considered a vet or not.

    Thank you to all who served honorably and who were willing to give the ultimate price

    • Adam November 7, 2017 at 2:35 am - Reply

      If you did not serve active duty I do not believe you would qualify as a veteran for the purposes of VA benefits.

  38. Kevin November 7, 2017 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Yes, the legal amount of days is 90 to be considered a veteran,thank you for your service

  39. Reuben November 8, 2017 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    My father in law who is 81, served in the U.S. Army between the Korea and Vietnam wars. I think he served for about 2 years. He sadly says his not a veteran, though he still has his platoon cap. I don’t know if he is or not a veteran.

    • Adam November 10, 2017 at 6:37 am - Reply

      Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980 “must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible.”

      However, this minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, for a hardship or “early out,” or those who served prior to September 7, 1980. Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply so that we may determine their enrollment eligibility.

      More information here: https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply/veterans.asp

  40. Scott Foust January 6, 2018 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    I served six years in the US Army Reserves (1980-1986), never was called to active duty, and received an honorable discharge . It was a standard, uneventful service. I realize that does not qualify me as a veteran for government-offered “veteran benefits”. However, occasions arise whereby civilian businesses offer discounts and perks to “veterans” or “those who have served”. I believe that a person who served honorably – regardless of the government’s definition of veteran – should be able to take advantage of these perks. For this purpose, it would be nice if the government could at least offer a wallet-sized military certification card which identifies us as individuals who served in the military. Does such a thing exist? Perhaps my “Honorable Discharge” certificate would be sufficient, but it is a full-sized sheet of paper. A wallet-sized card would be best, because you never know when you’ll be in those situations where you could use something on the fly that identifies you as a person who served.
    Please advise if possible. Thank you.

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Scott,

      This does exist! You can fill out a requisite online or at your nearest VA Medical Center.

      -Matt

  41. Tom January 8, 2018 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Having served my country for six years (1968-1974) as a Medic in the U.S.Army Reserves, I consider myself a Veteran. Adding my duty days together (basic, AIT, two weeks per year two plus days each month) I was in uniform approximately 380 days and stood ready to be called up for the entire six years.

    I have never sought nor needed any VA benefits but it would be nice to have a VA card acknowledging my service.

  42. Jim Stinson January 12, 2018 at 1:50 am - Reply

    To answer the 20 year guard and reserve question. It used to be you had to have 180 days of active duty to be considered a Veteran. Under the new Law Guard and Reserve members who served more than 20 years and who are eligible for retired pay at age 60 are now considered Veterans… This is a recent law change so there is a lot of confusion from the old timers with 180 days on the brain. Here is some reference…https://www.army.mil/article/180159/guard_and_reserve_members_receive_veteran_status ,https://www.ngaus.org/newsroom/news/all-guard-reserve-retirees-now-veterans-under-new-law ,http://ameriforce.net/reserve-national-guard-finally-get-veteran-status/ … Thank you to all who served, my favorite definition still remains “A veteran – whether active duty, retired, or national guard or reserve – is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The United States of America,” for an amount of “up to and including THEIR LIFE.”
    Author: ~Unknown Author

  43. Daniel Sanchez January 23, 2018 at 3:09 am - Reply

    Under the basic definition, a soldier who was ADT for basic training, and was discharged honorably would be considered a “Veteran”. However, he/she would not be eligible for benefits. Essentially, a veteran without benefits? Is this correct?

  44. Cal February 5, 2018 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    Eligibility for being buried in a VA National Cemetery can bring a rude awakening to veterans who served in the National Guard. Last year I stopped at the Seville, Ohio cemetery. After saying I was retired from the National Guard the instant response was I wasn’t eligible. I realized that my four years AD and 20 plus years pension eligibility made me eligible. You may have to ask more than one person to get the correct answer to your questions.
    I went to the local VA and as soon as I said “National Guard” I was told I wasn’t eligible for VA benefits. The easy answer for me has been the 4 years AD.
    Going to the VA or American Legion may not give you the right answer to your questions on benefits.
    You may have to be persistent.

  45. Confused February 21, 2018 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    My dad went to Marines boot camp in 1958, was in Marines Platoon Leaders Class, which seems like NROTC…?
    Got sick after about 6 weeks, went to VA Hospital for 4 weeks with mono, got sent home.
    Was supposed to report for 6 more weeks in 1961, instead resigned and became private in USMC reserves.
    In 1963 went for 6-8 weeks combat training.
    That’s it.
    No other reserve time, no other service.
    Is he a Marine? Is he a veteran?

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Once a Marine, always a Marine. I personally call him a fellow Veteran. Hope that helps!

      -Matt

  46. paul March 21, 2018 at 3:47 am - Reply

    I served 4 years of active duty in the AF. I have a DD214 with honorable discharge. I’ve used many GI benefits including the GI Bill, VA home loan program and initially always was able to x the box of being a Veteran. Recently, I changed jobs, and in completing the questionnaires for being a Veteran, the choice given do not include the time of my service – and there are no other options available for being a Veteran in a non-conflict era. I delayed enlisted approx 15 days after the Viet Nam period and discharged in 1979.

    I am miffed each time the questions arise on applications and do not provide recognition for non conflict related time periods. However, I received another graduate degree 2 years ago, and was again recognized as a Vet from the University.

    Recently, I attended a conference, and the speaker was not Military, but only used the war time periods to define what a Veteran is. Can anyone help me understand when and why the changes were made toward war time periods only?

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 6:42 pm - Reply

      Paul,

      You are a Veteran in our eyes. Different organizations and companies have different factors they require for services they provide. We would recommend contacting the company’s Human Resources with your comment about including all Veterans in their questionnaire, but note they may be searching for tax information when hiring certain individuals.

      -Matt

  47. Kym March 23, 2018 at 3:54 am - Reply

    Sorry, but I’ve read over and over the definitions of protected veteran and still don’t understand if I qualify.

    I served 24 continuous months active duty, from 1984- 1986, and received an honorable discharge upon my scheduled ETS date. My DD214 states I received the Army Service Ribbon.

    The US was not engaged in warfare during the time of my service, I am not disabled nor recently separated.

    Since the Armed Forces Service Medal was instituted with a retroactive start date of 1 June 1992, I am excluded.

    We did go TDY for four months on what I recall was a police action, but cannot remember how it was officially classified. I’d think my DD214 would have it all.

    So, am I not a protected veteran even though I served honorably? I understand that those who did serve during war time or participated in a campaign should have a special status, but when I fill out a job application and I’m asked about protected/non-protected status, I want them to know I served honorably. Thank you!

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      “Any other veteran who served on active duty in the U.S. military ground, naval, or air
      service during a war or in a campaign or expedition for which a campaign badge has
      been authorized, other than a special disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, or
      recently separated veteran.” Department of Labor

      Hope this helps clarify.

      -Matt

  48. Ashley March 26, 2018 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    Question for any that may point us in right direction. My grandfather served in the marines between 1956 to 1959 he never saw any combat. He served is time and was discharged. At his current age his health is poor and we have had some tell us to look to the va to possibly help? Question is without him being in service during active war will they help him?

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Ashley,

      Walk into your nearest VA Medical Center and go to the Benefits Application location. They will be able to determine his eligibility.

      -Matt

  49. Ronnie Barton April 7, 2018 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    I was in the Army from Dec.12 1975 to March 22 1976. I was Honorably Discharged.Could anyone tell me if i qualify for VA Benefits? I cannot get a straight answer from anyone.I would appreciate any feedback! Thank You For your Service!! Ron Barton

    • Matt Terry April 23, 2018 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Ron,

      Walk into your nearest VA Medical Center and go to the Benefits Application location. They will be able to determine your eligibility.

      -Matt

  50. Thomas Martell April 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    National Guardsmen and Reservists that were honorably discharged are considered veterans by the Government in the most basic sense.. However, they are not entitled to any type of benefits unless they meet the criteria in the above article.

  51. Robert Ward April 24, 2018 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Regarding this definition from Megan:

    “Megan January 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm – Reply

    Here is the definition of a US Veteran:

    Under federal law, a veteran is any person who served honorably on active duty in the armed forces of the United States. Discharges marked “general and under honorable conditions” also qualify.”

    Megan’s response seems to suggest that one can be a Veteran without qualifying for VA benefits, but there appears to be some confusion on this point. Is there a controversy in the Pentagon concerning this issue? Is there resistance from career active duty personnel? Other definitions provided above are precise with respect to benefits but vague regarding status otherwise. Criteria seem to include 1. Active Duty status; 2.time of active service -(is 6 months a requirement just for benefits? Megan’s definition above does not require any active duty time span; and 3.whether one has an Honorable Discharge designation on certain official documents. Perhaps others. This matter could likely be cleared up if Congress simply defined a Veteran as anyone who served honorably in any capacity under any US military status. It may be that Congress has not passed such a statute because of concern over additional claims to VA and, perhaps, some resistance from active duty personnel.

    I am like many other reservists, served in Coast Guard then Naval Reserve for six years. All service was non-active duty reserve, ( but two week duty may have been active?) yet I was Honorably Discharged. Not concerned about benefits, just protocol. When attending a Navy Ship Commissioning or other official ceremony, and the Master of Ceremonies asks all Veterans to stand, should non-active duty reservists stand? Many have asked variants of this question. Could Veterans Anonymous experts provide a definitive answer? Either, “yes” you can stand as a Veteran or “no” you can not. Thanks for the efforts by Veterans Anonymous. I thought I was one of the few who had this concern but apparently many are not sure on this point.

  52. MICHAEL P RICKMAN May 7, 2018 at 7:42 am - Reply

    I enlisted in the DEP 15 December 1979, and reported for active duty 14 October 1980, I served from 14 October 1980 until 05 October 1982.
    I was on WesPac deployment when US President Ronald Reagan came aboard in 1981. My photo is in the 1981-’82 USS Constellation Cruisebook. When I signed the papers, the requirements for veteran status was 180 days consecutive active duty. Now the VA, headed by some Navy veteran who never served a day on a ship tells me that I need 24 months consecutive service. Are they truly going to be this anal over 8 days?

  53. Laurence Kevin O'Connor May 16, 2018 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    I’d like to know if I qualify as a. Veteran . I spent 4 years in the USAF Reserve ( 1967 to 1971) and was discharged for migraine headaches. I believe I was offered a 4% disability but I declined it. I was 2 years with a TAG at Willow Grove Naval Air Station and 2 years at Maguire AFB working the flight line. After having some issues with the headaches I received an Honorable Discharge and the requisite paper work including the Honorable Discharge.

    As I approach 71 this becomes more and more important to me. Can I claim Veteran Status and get a grave marker?

    Thank you.

  54. Leslie May 17, 2018 at 3:36 am - Reply

    I was in the Army for 5 1/2 months, but could not pass my run. Do I qualify for veteran status?

  55. Laurence Kevin OConnor May 25, 2018 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    I was in the AFRE from 1967 to 1971. TAG and MAC. I developed problems with migraine headaches and received an Honorable Discharge and DD214. I was offered a small disability but declined it.

    I have been told I qualify as a veteran and as per the 2008 changes can salute the flag even being in civilian clothes.

    Is this correct?

    Thank you.

  56. Eddie Roberts June 8, 2018 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    Are persons that were honorably discharged from the Army National Guard eligible for any benefits?

  57. Kevin Payne June 13, 2018 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    Would you be considered a Veteran if completed Tech School in the Air Force then discharged with General Under Honorable Conditions?

  58. […] Veterans Anonymous (2017). What is a veteran? The legal definition [website article]. Retrieved from https://va.org/what-is-a-veteran-the-legal-definition/ […]

  59. Larry Schmidt June 19, 2018 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    Great website.

    I believe I see an error in the fourth para of section “National Guard” (excerpt below). The state duty referred to is actually State Active Duty (SAD) and is authorized under Title 32 of the United States Code, rather than Title 38.

    “State governors can call National Guard members to active duty if a state emergency arises. Such emergencies include relief or protection of property and people outside the authority of local law enforcement. This form of state duty is known officially as “Title 38 Call-up” and doesn’t count toward veteran’s benefits either.”

  60. Richard Chappell July 5, 2018 at 6:16 am - Reply

    Are those that attended one of the Service Academies (ie West Point) (less that=n 2 years) and did not serve in the military, considered veterans?

  61. Guadlupe H. Briseno July 17, 2018 at 9:06 pm - Reply

    Question: I served in the Texas Air National Guard from April 1963 to December 1970. I served as a full time Air Technician for over 3 years. I wore my Air Force uniform to duty everyday, upon being released from the unit I received a DD214 with an Honorable Discharge and a DD217 indicating the number of days I served a full time member of the unit. I wonder if I am eligible for a Military Honors funeral. I purchased a burial plot next to my daughter and wish to be interred there. Simple question; because I served fulltime, wore my military uniform everyday, and received a DD214 and DD217, am I entitled to at a Military Honors funeral? Thanks for any help you can afford me regarding my situation.

  62. veterans day quotes July 22, 2018 at 6:41 pm - Reply

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