We all make judgements every day. Should you respond to the email from a person who says they lost their wallet and need cash to get home? Should you believe the claims of a candidate for public office? Should you buy a product that has been endorsed by a celebrity?
When veterans applied for pension benefits, the pension board had to make a judgement about endorsing a claim. Did ample proof exist that the applicant actually served as stated? Did he desert his command during the war? What did his fellow soldiers say about him?
In most Southern states the pension board had to determine whether the applicant was in the militia or actually enrolled in Confederate service. Home guards and others in state service only were NOT eligible for benefits. Legislators who drafted pension legislation evidently believed that men who had actually left home for military service, slept in the open, ate what the military had to offer and suffered through the war should be able to claim benefits.
At least one angry veteran agreed about home guards. The Alabama State Archives has a letter from a veteran who got it in his head that a home guard could receive the same benefits he received. He was mistaken, but the perceived injustice of the matter made him fighting mad. His address to the pension board included a colorful list of distinctions between the 'service' of a militiaman as compared to what he had to endure as a Confederate soldier.
You would not want to give this man the impression that you regarded militia and Confederate soldiers as all the same. Rest assured, that Confederate veteran had a very firm opinion about who was and wasn't entitled to recognition. I suspect he wasn't alone.