National Guard and Reserves: Things to Know about Deployment

If you or your loved one is a member of the National Guard or reserves, balancing military service and civilian life isn’t always easy — especially when you’re preparing for deployment. Use the information below to help you through the preparation process.

1. Your deployment cycle will be a little different

The phases of deployment for National Guard members and reservists are similar to those of active-duty service members – predeployment, deployment and reunion/reintegration. However, National Guard and reserve members also have to manage activation, mobilization and demobilization stages.

2. Your finances and budget may change during active duty

Once you or your service member are called for active duty, you’ll get active-duty pay (instead of monthly Drill Pay), and your finances may shift for a period of time. Your local installation personal financial management services office can assist in creating a budget that works for your changing income levels throughout the deployment cycle. Learn more in this short article Financial Matters: Five Steps to Take Before Deployment.

3. You’re covered under financial, employment and legal protections

As you prepare for deployment, it’ll be helpful to familiarize yourself with key protections such as:

4. Your family members can access medical benefits during deployment

You may also be able to get health care benefits before deployment starts. To receive medical benefits through TRICARE, you and your family must enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS. Family members will also need Uniformed Services ID cards to access these medical benefits, so make sure this is accomplished before you deploy. Note that the options for family coverage may vary depending on where you live and where you’re being deployed.

5. Once activated, you and your loved ones can access support programs and services

Keep in mind that your family and loved ones may also feel overwhelmed and need assistance leading up to, during and after deployment. Taking the time to identify and connect with these organizations will ensure everyone knows where to go for help during active duty. A few places to start include:

  • The Yellow Ribbon Program hosts events to provide information, services, referrals and outreach opportunities that help minimize the stress of deployment and family separations. Visit the Yellow Ribbon Program’s website to find an event near you.
  • Family Assistance Centers for the National Guard and reserves operate on a limited — and in many cases, virtual — basis depending on the numbers and concentrations of families in a given area. Visit Military OneSource for more information about the National Guard Family Program.
  • Your nearest installation’s Military and Family Support Center support programs are available to immediate family members of active duty National Guard and reserve members. Visit the MilitaryINSTALLATIONS site to find a military and family support center near you.

Learn more about benefits for members of the National Guard and reserves.

For a complete list of pre-deployment resources, visit the Plan My Deployment Pre-Deployment web page and scroll to the bottom.