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Qualified Reservist


A Qualified Reservist is a member of the United States military reserve forces who has been called to active duty or ordered to such duty for a period of at least 180 days or an indefinite period. This status allows the reservist to access certain tax benefits and privileges, including penalty-free early withdrawal from retirement accounts like 401(k) and IRA plans. The purpose of these provisions is to financially assist military reservists during their active duty period and ease the burden on their families.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Qualified Reservist” is: kwal-uh-fahyd rez-er-vist

Key Takeaways

  1. Qualified Reservists are members of the military reserve or National Guard who are called to active duty for a specific period of time. This includes individuals serving in times of war, natural disasters, or other emergencies.
  2. These individuals are eligible for certain tax benefits and financial assistance programs. This includes the ability to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts to cover certain expenses during their active duty period, as well as qualifying for tuition assistance and other education-related benefits.
  3. Employers are required by law to hold a Qualified Reservist’s job position open while the reservist is on active duty, and they must reinstate them to their previous position or provide a similar position with equal pay and benefits upon their return from service.


The term “Qualified Reservist” is important in the business/finance context as it refers to a member of the military reserve forces who may receive certain financial benefits and protections, especially during periods of active duty or extended absence from their regular employment. These benefits can include early access to retirement savings without incurring penalties, preferential treatment for loans, and potential relief from certain contractual obligations. Recognizing and understanding the financial implications for Qualified Reservists not only ensures that these service members receive the support they deserve, but also helps employers, financial institutions, and policymakers create and maintain fair practices that account for the unique challenges faced by these individuals.


The purpose of the Qualified Reservist designation is to support and protect members of the military reserves who are called to active duty, ensuring their financial wellbeing and their ability to meet obligations. A Qualified Reservist is a military reservist or National Guard member who is ordered or called to active duty for a period of more than 179 days, or for an indefinite period, usually in response to a national emergency or a vital military operation. During their active service, these individuals may need to access retirement savings or other financial resources without incurring the usual penalties.

Many provisions are in place to benefit Qualified Reservists, such as the ability to withdraw funds from a retirement account without being subject to the standard early withdrawal penalties. This allows individuals to cover their financial needs while they’re serving their country, without impacting their long-term financial security. Additionally, employers are required by law to provide certain workplace protections and benefits to help maintain job stability and economic wellbeing for reservists and their families. Ultimately, the Qualified Reservist designation is designed to ensure that those who serve their country in times of need can do so without the burden of financial hardship, and with the peace of mind that they’ll be able to return to their civilian lives and work without major disruption.


A Qualified Reservist is an individual who is a member of the military reserve or National Guard and who is called to active duty for a specified period, usually in response to a national emergency or crisis. Here are three real-world examples related to the business/finance term:

1. Military deployment due to national emergency: In response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many Qualified Reservists were called for active duty to support ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. During their deployment, these reservists were entitled to certain financial benefits, such as early withdrawal from their retirement plans without incurring the 10% early withdrawal tax penalty.

2. Natural disaster response: In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Qualified Reservists were activated to support rescue and recovery efforts. During their active duty, they received financial benefits, such as the ability to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts, which could help offset the financial stress of their deployment.

3. COVID-19 pandemic response: In 2020, Qualified Reservists were called to active duty to assist with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These reservists helped in various capacities, such as setting up testing sites and field hospitals, and providing logistical support. They were also eligible for financial benefits, such as deferments on student loan payments and the ability to access retirement funds without penalties, to help alleviate the financial burden caused by deployment.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Qualified Reservist?

A Qualified Reservist refers to a military reservist or National Guard member who is called to active duty for a period of at least 180 days or for an indefinite period due to a war, national emergency, or any other operational mission. This designation allows the individual to access certain benefits and tax deferments related to their financial obligations during their period of active service.

What are the benefits available for Qualified Reservists?

Some of the key benefits available to Qualified Reservists include the ability to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts and flexibility in repaying loans from their retirement plans. Additionally, there may be tax benefits available, such as the exclusion of combat pay from taxable income and extensions to file tax returns or pay taxes.

Can Qualified Reservists withdraw from their retirement accounts without penalty?

Yes, under certain circumstances, Qualified Reservists are allowed to make penalty-free withdrawals from their retirement accounts, such as their individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k)s, and other tax-advantaged plans. The early withdrawal penalty of 10% is waived for qualified reservist distributions; however, the withdrawal may still be subject to federal, state, and local income taxes.

How can Qualified Reservists repay loans from their retirement accounts?

Qualified Reservists who have outstanding loans from their retirement accounts at the time they are called to active duty may be granted extensions on their loan repayment schedules. The repayment period can generally be extended by the period of their active duty service, allowing the reservist to maintain their retirement account’s growth potential and avoid possible tax consequences.

Are there any tax implications for Qualified Reservists?

Qualified Reservists have several tax benefits available to them, including the exclusion of combat pay from their income for tax purposes, extended deadlines for filing tax returns or paying taxes, and the option to receive a tax-free re-contribution of qualified reservist distributions in the case they repay the distributed amount into their retirement account within two years after the end of their active duty period.

How can a reservist become a Qualified Reservist?

To be considered a Qualified Reservist, an individual must be a military reservist or member of the National Guard who is called to active duty for a period of at least 180 days or for an indefinite period, resulting from wars, national emergencies, or other operational missions. Documentation of active duty orders is generally required to access financial benefits and tax provisions available for Qualified Reservists.

Related Finance Terms

  • Reservist Distribution
  • Uniformed Services
  • Retirement Savings Plan
  • Early Withdrawal Penalty
  • Qualified Military Service

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