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Military Disability Compensation Benefits

Military Disability Compensation Benefits

In the past, the VA did not allow veterans to receive both military retirement pay and disability compensation benefits. For some vets, it was necessary either to waive a portion of retirement pay or waive a portion of disability compensation benefits.

In other words, if you had $3,000 in retirement pay and $400 in VA disability benefits, you could opt to receive the full $3,000 in retirement pay and $0 in disability benefits, or you could opt instead to receive $2,600 in retirement pay and $400 in disability benefits; either way, you would still be stuck at $3,000 in the end. The only difference is that VA disability benefits are not taxable, so the latter option would most likely be preferable.

Changes to Medical Retirement and VA Disability Compensation

The rules for concurrent receipt of military disability benefits and retirement pay underwent significant changes in 2002, 2005, and 2008. Through these changes, the VA now allows qualified veterans to receive both VA disability compensation benefits and military retirement pay concurrently in certain situations.

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)

  • Retired veterans with at least 20 years of service who are 100 percent service connected (under a schedular rating or individual unemployability) may receive all of their retirement pay and all of their VA disability compensation benefits concurrently. There is no reduction required.
  • Retired veterans with at least 20 years of service who are 50 percent to 90 percent service-connected are subject to a phase-in process and will eventually receive a full concurrent payment of both VA military disability compensation benefits and military retirement pay.
  • Retired veterans who retire based on years of service and are service-connected with a “combat-related disability” or disabilities rated at 10 percent or more receive full military retirement pay and the amount of VA disability benefits attributable to their combat-related disability.
  • Veterans who were medically retired from the military (regardless of the number of years served) and are service connected with a combat-related disability at 10 percent or more may be able to receive part of their military medical retirement pay and the full amount of VA disability benefits attributable to their disability.

What Qualifies a Veteran for Medical Retirement?

Your disability rating and the number of years you spent on active duty will determine when you become eligible for disability retirement. Depending on how you qualify and what branch of the military you served in, your Branch of Service will place you on either the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) or the Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL).

If the Physical Evaluation Board judges that your condition is not likely to improve (a long-term disability), you will likely be placed on the Permanent Disability Retirement List. If the prognosis of your condition favors recovery or improvement, you’ll likely be placed on the Temporary Disability Retired List. In either case, a Veteran may qualify for retirement upon meeting these conditions:

  • Less than 20 years of active military service and a disability rating of over 30 percent (a rating of less than 30 percent may qualify you for separation.)
  • 20 or more years of active duty will mean that retirement is recommended for you, regardless of your VA disability rating.

If you were discharged involuntarily, you may or may not receive severance pay, which is calculated based on your basic pay and the number of years spent on active duty and inactive service points. Currently, there is no minimum for the amount of time that Veterans are required to serve to be eligible for severance pay.

However, being discharged with severance pay will disqualify you from applying for military retired pay later on. You may still be able to receive compensation and a military disability rating if the VA determines that you meet the criteria for service-connected disabilities.

Can I Receive Combat-Related Special Compensation and CRDP at the Same Time?

If you are currently entitled to or receiving retired pay, have a disability rating of at least 10%, and have your Department of Defense (DoD) benefits reduced in proportion to your disability pay, you may be eligible to receive combat-related special compensation (CRSC). These payments provide tax-free benefits to Veterans who have sustained combat-related disabilities.

It is not possible to receive CRSC benefits and CRDP at the same time. However, it is possible to opt-in or out of either program. Regardless of which you elect to participate in, your VA disability pay will continue.

Contact Our Military Disability Compensation Lawyers Today

The attorneys at Berry Law are Veterans serving Veterans. We have extensive experience helping service members increase their VA compensation and retirement benefits and navigate these claims processes through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

If you have questions about how your military retirement pay and compensation benefits work, please call the Berry Law at (888) 883-2483 or contact us online. Our office specializes in helping qualified veterans get the maximum amount of VA disability compensation benefits available to them.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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