You may have many questions about the medical, dental and educational benefits available to you and your family based on whether you’re on active duty or whether you’re in the Reserves. The great news is that VA benefits typically don’t vary drastically by state, and that once you have an understanding of your coverage (as well as how that applies to your family), that shouldn’t change very much if you move. The main difference comes into play when you consider whether your active duty has been summoned by the State or the Federal government. If it’s been assigned by the State (say, in response to a local disaster), then Federal funding (including benefits) are not delegated to those on duty. If you’ve been summoned to duty by the Federal Government, however, VA benefits for medical, dental and education do apply. The exception lies in minor differences in benefits from state to state.

Educational Benefits

The VA does provide the benefit of educational training to Guard and Reserve members by way of financial support toward undergraduate degrees, vocational training, technical training, licensing and certification and other helpful pre-employment ventures. There are certain requirements to be eligible for these benefits that should be thoroughly researched before application.

Healthcare Benefits

Medical and dental benefits are also covered under the federally mandated VA program, for those who served on Federally ordered active duty in the Guard or Reserves. These benefits include inpatient  and outpatient care for an unlimited number of circumstances, as long as circumstances prove to promote, maintain or revive your health. Non-combat veterans have different requirements to be eligible for such benefits, and those should be reviewed thoroughly before applying.

Essentially, understanding your VA healthcare coverage for Guard and Reserves boils down to whether or not you qualify based on the origination of the order (State or Federal), and beyond that, length of service, type of service, wartime service and disability are all factors that go into determining the extent of coverage.

Exceptions and “Extras”

Extra or exception benefits vary across every state, and include specified resources and exclusions on the general federal benefits that apply everywhere. For example, in North Carolina, there are added in-state educational scholarships specifically for the children of the disabled, MIA, POW or KIA veterans. This is a State mandated benefit, not included in every state, and thereby not a Federal benefit of the VA. Each state has a variety of benefits along these lines, and can be evaluated with a quick search online.

Lastly, it should be of note that if you’re called to duty by the State and not the Federal government, though you won’t receive Federal VA benefits, different state-specific healthcare and educational benefits will apply.

It’s easy to drown in the wealth of information when it comes to VA benefits pertaining to healthcare and education. If you break it down to the origination of your order, and length and type of service, you should be able to determine fairly quickly what your benefits will look like.

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