Are You Eligible for VA Benefits to Begin With?

Title 38 of the United States Code identifies a veteran as a “person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.” The information from the service records that veterans will present to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should satisfy these requirements.

One hurdle veterans may encounter deals with the term ‘active service,” in which the veteran must have served full-time before he or she was discharged or released from service. Enlisted personnel who were “active duty for training” may or may not be considered veterans, depending on certain circumstances. For example, if a full-time officer who was authorized to travel for training suddenly gets hurt in an accident, he is said to be injured on active duty for training.

The length of the veteran’s active service is also a point of contention. Since September 1980, all service personnel are required to have a minimum service length of 24 months of continuous active duty or the “full period’ of service” as requested by his or her branch of service. The latter can be satisfied if the veteran can prove that he or she served a full tour of duty.

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