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Why Don’t I Receive Veteran’s Benefits?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I served in the Colorado National Guard from 1980 to 1986 in the 122nd Med Amb Co (-) and I received an Honorable Discharge on 17 Nov 86. I applied with the Veterans Affairs but have been told since I was in the National Guard that I am not considered a Veteran. Why then did the United States of America issue me an Honorable Discharge, and why am I allowed to have Honorable Discharge License plates issued to me?

A: Different programs have different rules. While the VA may have said to you that you are not a veteran, what they actually meant is you don’t qualify for the Montgomery GI Bill- Active Duty (MGIB-AD) as that would have required at least 24 to 36 months of active duty service plus making the $1,200 contribution. From your question, it sounds as though all your time was in the National Guard.

While you probably did have the Montgomery GI Bill – Selected Reserve (MGIB-SR) GI Bill while you were in the National Guard, which is what most Reservists and National Guardsmen have, it is good only for 10 years while you were still in and the benefits expire once you are discharged.

The honorable discharge status you have is actually a characterization of service, meaning you performed according to standards while you were in the National Guard.  That characterization of service was the basis for your license plates and really doesn’t have anything to do with if you are a veteran or not – only that you served in the Armed Forces honorably.

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