Most Veterans know that they are eligible for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, even if they served in the reserves instead of active duty. In fact, Berry Law has represented many reservists who were injured while serving. However, most Veterans don’t realize the VA treats these claims differently.
The VA treats claims by Veterans with service in the reserves differently than Veteran with active duty service. The primary reason for this is simple. While on active duty the Veteran is 100% covered by military health care and the servicemember is 100% under DoD obligation to follow orders, report to work, move locations, change occupations, etc.
A Reservist is under a different contractual obligation with the government. A Reservist is eligible for a different type of health care than active duty and a reservist is only under DoD obligations while on orders. A reservist has the option to drop to the IRR at any time, and a reservist will not be given orders to move their family to another state on a “rotation” or other similar type obligations that an active duty service member would not be able to refuse.
The bottom line is simply that active duty member are government property and responsibility 24/7, 365 days a year. On the other hand, reservists are only in service 2 days a month with a 2 week period in the summer.
Since reservists are not always on duty, the government does not accept responsibility for injuries not medically documented as occurring while on orders to drill or annual training. Additionally, the Veterans argument that the reservist performs “marches” or “push-up” is not given the same weight as their active duty counterparts because the government states that those occurrences only happen two days out of the month vice. The reservist has 28 days out the month when not on orders. This leads the VA to assume the injuries occurred while not on orders.
Reservists need to show medical treatment when injuries occur while on orders and sustained care for that injury from the time of the event on orders to be eligible for compensation. As with any VA claim documentation of an injury is key to service connection; however, it is even more critical for Reservists to show the event happened on orders. They must also show that they had to seek continued medical treatment after the drill period that did not resolve the issue and later turned into a disability.
The team at Berry Law is dedicated to helping Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. If you served in the Reserves and you were denied disability benefits by the VA or given a lower than expected rating, Berry Law can help you appeal. Contact Berry Law today at 888-883-2483 to schedule a free case evaluation and take the next steps to get the VA disability compensation you deserve.
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