Big Boosts for the National Guard and Reserves

National Guard and Reserves Benefits

There is a possible change coming for members of the National Guard and the Reserves. Elected officials want to ensure that even part-time service members are receiving full credit for the work that they do.

In February, a group of both Republican and Democratic senators introduced a measure that would do just that. Called, the “Guard and Reserve Hazard Duty Pay Equality Act,” this would mandate Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay for members of the National Guard and the Reserves that is equal to what active duty service members receive.

Right now, they only receive a small part of what an active duty service member does. The pay can total up to $250 a month.

According to Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-ND, a cosponsor of the bill, “The Guard members who qualify for hazard-duty incentive pay are doing work just as dangerous as their active duty counterparts, and they deserve to be compensated as such.”

Introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin III, D-WV, other cosponsors include Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-IL, and Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, making this a bipartisan effort.

There was another similar plan to ensure that the National Guard and members of the Reserves receive time in service equality to their active duty counterparts. Even if the part-time service members are serving right beside active duty members, doing the exact same thing, their time in service is counted differently. This new measure would change that and mandate that every day a guardsman or reservist is paid and in uniform, it would count towards their educational benefits.

Full GI Bill benefits do include 36 months of in-state college tuition, a monthly living allowance, and other payments toward their education. In order to receive these benefits, service members need to have at least three years of active duty service. After 90 days on active duty, they are eligible for 40% of the educational benefit.

Hopefully, both of these measures will go through as they are important ways to help our part-time service members. More and more they are getting called upon and will probably continue to do so in the future.

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.