Sen. Moran joins effort to improve access to benefits for National Guardsmen, Reservists

Kansas National Guard airmen and soldiers
Kansas National Guard airmen and soldiers(Kansas National Guard / Facebook)
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 4:08 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Senator Jerry Moran has joined an effort to introduce a bill that would improve access to benefits for National Guard members and Reservists.

Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) says he has joined Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) to introduce legislation that would help members of the Reserve and National Guard to get the benefits they earned following retirement or completion of service by ensuring they get the same DD-214 form as other military members.

“Over the past year, the men and women of our National Guard have been called to action numerous times and are still working to keep our country safe,” said Sen. Moran. “Unlike active-duty members of the military, these guardsmen are not provided the same comprehensive report documenting their service when they leave the military. This legislative change would provide members of the National Guard and Reserve components a comprehensive service document that they can utilize to more accurately reflect their entire service. This will help them receive the benefits and health care they are entitled to from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.”

According to Sen. Moran, the DD-214 form is often required by the VA and other private sector institutions to certify qualification for benefits after completion of service. He said the Record of Military Service for Members of the Armed Forces Act of 2021 would establish one comprehensive document system so all service members get the same all-purpose document and to ensure there is no difference between the active and reserve components.

“Particularly throughout the past year, National Guardsmen in Michigan and across the country have stepped up to respond to unprecedented crises,” said Sen. Peters. “Reservists and National Guardsmen should be able to access the benefits that are owed to them after they complete their service without having to jump through hoops. This legislation will ensure that all members of the United States military receive full and proper recognition for their service and can receive the benefits that they have earned.”

Nationally, Sen. Moran said there are about 800,000 Guardsmen and Reservists and 6,000 Guardsmen in Kansas.

“The DD214 is the document the VA, state agencies and private businesses almost always request to confirm military service,” said retired Brig. Gen. J. Robinson, the president of the National Guard Association of the United States. “Active-component service members get DD214s when they leave military service, but Guardsmen and Reservists do not. They receive other documents that are not well known. This legislation will provide all service members, regardless of component, with the same proof of military service. It should also align cross-component personnel management. It’s long overdue. We applaud Senator Peters, Senator Lankford, Senator Tester, and Senator Moran for their initiative on this.”

Additionally, Moran said the Record of Military Service for Members of the Armed Forces Act of 2021 updates the form to show all periods of service to include annual training and inactive training periods and total inactive service time for a member’s current service period. He said the bill will bring similarity to discharge forms for all components of the military, streamlines administrative requirements on the National Guard by lowering the number of separation documents administrative support specialists must be trained and proficient in completing. He said it gives all service members proof of service that will consolidate all periods allowing them to apply for benefits while eliminating confusion at federal, state and local agencies.

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