Eligibility for most VA benefits is based upon discharge from active duty military service under other that dishonorable conditions. Active service means full-time service, other than active duty for training, as a member of the Army, Navy, air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard. Also, those Merchant Marines with discharge papers are eligible for benefits.
Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA Health care benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty. They cannot however collect both VA Comp or Pension Benefits and Guard or Reserve pay.
Minimum Duty Requirements
For veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
Dishonorable and bad conduct discharges issued by General Courts- Martial may bar benefits. Veterans in prison and parolees must contact a VA regional Office to determine eligibility. VA benefits will not be provided to any veteran or dependent wanted for an outstanding felony warrant.