Yes. President Barack Obama signed into law the Miller-Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Act, a bill aimed at improving veterans’ access to health care, disability benefits, education, and homelessness assistance, among other important benefits for U.S. veterans. One measure included in the bill changed the guidelines for who could be officially called a “veteran,” expanding the government’s definition to include Guard and Reservists who have honorably served for at least 20 years.
While there is no financial benefit associated with this change – retired Guard members would already be collecting their reserve component retirement benefits after 20 years of service – many feel this change exhibits the government’s understanding of and appreciation for the role that National Guard members and reservists play in supporting the larger infrastructure of the U.S. armed forces. Additionally, long-serving reservists and Guard members no longer have to worry about whether or not they can officially call themselves “veterans,” but instead accept this gesture as confirmation of how important their roles have been in global conflicts for decades.