FEMA official: Trump is pulling National Guard off emergency duties one day before their benefits kick in
A senior FEMA official is blowing the whistle on the Trump administration's plan to pull more than 40,000 National Guard members from their Covid-19 deployments - and how they will be doing it just one day before many will be eligible for key federal benefits.
Normally there is a 90-day qualifying term of service, and if you hit this number you can get early retirement and education benefits like the post-9/11 GI bill. It's why many people join the National Guard, other than the desire to serve a higher purpose. But, the official stated to Politico that the administration is putting a "hard stop" to deployments on June 24, giving many only 89 days of service.
Retired Brig. Gen. J. Roy Robinson, president of the National Guard Association, weighed in on the allegation, “It seemed kind of weird to me. It’s a Wednesday. And it also coincides with 89 days of deployment for any soldiers who went on federal status at the beginning. I was getting all kind of calls about it and I said, ‘It’s probably just a coincidence.’ But in the back of my mind, I know better. They’re screwing the National Guard members out of the status they should have.”
While the White House has yet to comment on this publicly, the National Guard's Hall is defending the move, saying Guardsman can be called up for service in the future thereby entitling them to benefits then.
“If someone’s new in the Guard, they won’t be able to make that 90 days in one shot,” Hall acknowledged. “But if two months from now they’re called up for a hurricane or flood, they can make it then. The goal here is not to hurt Guardsmen.”
But, that's only if they're called up. In the meantime, they won't be able to qualify. Federal deployments don't happen very much.