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Navigating VA Benefits for National Guard and Reserve

National Guard and Reserve service members face unique challenges balancing their military and civilian lives and managing transitions between them. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides members of the National Guard and Reserve a specific set of benefits and services.

You can receive VA benefits if you are a:

  • National Guard or Reserve members 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 Program 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-help resources on 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 Community Care Program

The new Veteran Community Care program offers greater choice over health care through a VA facility or community provider. Implemented under the VA Mission Act of 2018, this program streamlines eligibility criteria, increases access to care and enhances customer service. For more information, contact the Community Care Call Center at 877-881-7618.

You can also connect with VA Benefits on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date on VA benefits and services.

Reaching Out is a Sign of Strength

If you are coping with psychological health concerns, call the Psychological Health Resource 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:


  1. National Guard, Reserve and Active Duty: What to Expect from the VA. (n.d.). Department of Veterans Affairs.
  2. Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs: Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents and Survivors. (n.d.) Department of Veterans Affairs. 
  3. Veterans Health Administration (n.d.). Department of Veterans Affairs.
  4. What Can VA Do For Me? (n.d.). Department of Veterans Affairs.
Last Updated: May 29, 2024
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