Veterans’ Corner: Applying for benefits

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By Rick Johnson

 

In order to be eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the veteran must meet minimum active duty service requirements. For most veterans, this means 24 months of continuous active duty. Non-duty periods that are considered excludable are not considered as a break in service for continuity purposes but are to be subtracted from total time served.

Minimum active duty service also includes the full period for which a person was called or ordered to active duty. Except as noted below, a person who does not complete a minimum period of active duty is not eligible for any benefit under any law administered by the VA based on that period of active service.

There are circumstances where the above rule does not apply. One circumstance is when a person who is discharged or released under an early out program or a hardship discharge. Another would be to a person who is discharged or released from active duty for a disability adjudged service connected without presumptive provisions of law, or who at the time of discharge had such a service-connected disability, shown by official service records, which in medical judgment would have justified a discharge for disability. A person with a compensable service-connected disability is also excluded.

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