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Guard, Reserve Members Up to 20% Less Likely to Get VA Disability Applications Approved, Watchdog Finds

October 31, 2023

Patricia Kime

U.S. Army Reserve staff sergeant gives weapons safety instructions to a reservist before he fires a Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, July 20, 2023. (U.S. Army Reserve Photo by Spc. Britton Spencer)

By Patricia Kime, / October 31, 2023

Department of Veterans Affairs disability claims filed by reservists and members of the National Guard were approved at rates 11% to 20% lower across a 10-year period than those submitted by active-duty personnel across the services -- a reflection of the challenges those troops face proving that an injury or illness is related to military service, a federal watchdog agency has found.

In 2022, more than 706,000 troops were serving in the reserves or National Guard -- one-third of all members of the U.S. armed forces. As a result of their unique status, only those injured or sickened while serving on federal orders for periods of 30 days or more or reservists harmed during annual training are eligible to apply for disability compensation.

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