Tricare Changes in 2018

Like any new year, there are a lot of changes coming for us all.  While I know we could have a great deal of fun identifying them all, I’ll keep the list short and only talk about one thing: Tricare.

 

Right away we know this can get complicated and there will be a lot of terms which sound alike   Brace yourselves.  I’ll do my best to make this easy.  If you would like to double check what I’m about to describe or just want more information, I’m going to include a LOT of references from the Tricare website.  Don’t be overwhelmed by the number of them.  Like anything, take them one bite at a time and they will be understandable.  Hopefully, my summary of these topics will help, as well.

 

For anyone who may not know, Tricare is the health care program for military members and their families.  There is a separate purchase option for dental coverage called Tricare Dental (there is also a retiree version called the Tricare Retiree Dental Program).  There are several different versions of Tricare available to service members.  Which type is used is often based on the member’s duty status and personal choice.

Continue reading


Podcast Episode 0047 – Tricare Changes in 2018

http://www.rcretirement.com/podcasts/2017/RCRetirement-Episode_0047-Tricare-Changes-in-2018-Graphics.pdf

Here’s a sneak peak at the Tricare changes for next year.
Continue reading


YouTube Episode 0049 – Tricare Changes in 2018

http://www.rcretirement.com/podcasts/2017/RCRetirement-Episode_0047-Tricare-Changes-in-2018-Graphics.pdf

Here’s a sneak peak at the Tricare changes for next year.

 

Continue reading


Episode 003 – Testing a Digital Recorder and Plans for the Future

Earlier today I was testing a digital recorder while driving to a friend’s house. I started talking about the origins of my retirement education project and some of my plans for the future. I thought you would find it interesting. Enjoy.


The Physical Disability Board of Review

Welcome to the last article in my medical retirement series.  I will post additional information in the future, of course, but this is the end of the official series.  Congratulations on making it to this point.

 

Finally, you’re at the end of it all.  The medical board are over.  You have a rating…or you don’t.  Either way, you’ve been separated from service as a result of your disabilities.  There’s one problem, though.  You either did not have enough of a disability rating to be medically retired or you think your rating should have been higher.

 

What do you do?  Well, there is an option for you.  There is a group of people called the Physical Disability Board of Review whose sole purpose is to examine cases submitted by people in your situation.  This obviously is not something you should do simply for grievances sake, but only if you think there are legitimate reasons to appeal.

 

Who can apply for consideration by this board?

 

Each branch of service has their own version of this review board.  I have posted some information about the some of those versions in the references below.  This is by no means all of what you can find about these boards and how to use them.  I advise using what I have posted as a starting point and doing a little homework of your own.

 

In the Army, there are two such boards with separate missions.  The Army Physical Disability Review Board (APDR) examines the results of previous medical boards.  It is for people who were separated or retired without pay for disabilities within the last fifteen years.

 

The APDR does not require a request form (some of the other services want a DD Form 294) in order to start a review.  Whichever way you go to request a board, be sure to include your full name, SSN, contact information, and what you think the result of the previous board should have been.  Write a good story.  You’re trying to sell your point of view.  Don’t just say something like, “I got blowed up and it hurt.”

 

Side note:  Yes, I have actually seen board requests with narratives like what I wrote above.  Some are even worse, like simply listing “foot patrol” as the reason for all of their ailments.  If writing is not your particular strong point, I recommend recording yourself telling someone the story of how you were injured and then transcribing exactly what you said.  I have used this technique successfully with service members in the past.

 

Back to it.  Once you have written the letter (or filled out the form), you should also include any evidence you think the board needs to consider.  This will often be the same documents you provided for the previous medical board.

 

The other board the Army has is called the Army Disability Rating Review Board (ADRRB).  This board only reviews those cases which are seeking a higher rating for disability pay purposes (military, not VA).

 

Except for having modified the opening sentence to make it more understandable, here is a quote from the board’s website about who is eligible to apply.

 

If you have a disability retirement order and seek a higher disability percentage, you may apply if the reason is:

  • Your original retirement order was based on fraud or a mistake of law;
  • You were not granted a full and fair hearing when you made a timely demand for such a hearing; or
  • You have substantial new evidence which, by due diligence, could not have been presented before the retirement decision and which would have warranted a higher percentage of disability.

Source: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/disability-appeals.html

 

In English, this means you have a good reason to believe you were not properly rated during the medical board or you have new information which was unavailable at the time of the board.  This is not the place to present new problems you may have.  You should only send documentation about the injuries you claimed during the board (unless there are disabilities you would have claimed at the time but you did not have records to support the claim).

 

Once you have completed requesting the review and assembling the packet to go with it, you should send the packet up for consideration.  Federal law has directed the Air Force to be the lead agency for all of these types of reviews so you should send your packet to the address below.

 

SAF/MRBR

Attn: PDBR Intake Unit

550 C Street West, Suite 41

Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4743

 

The actual medical evaluation of your case is a joint venture, not just the Air Force so don’t worry about an unfair review of your request.  The Air Force simply has overall responsibility for tracking and reporting disability review cases.

 

There is far too much detail to make a simple explanation of the procedures of these boards possible.  I’m only trying to make you aware of the options available to you.  I recommend talking to a retirement services officer or legal counsel for more information about the board itself and how to make it work for you.  Every branch of service has a specialized group of lawyers available for this purpose.

 

Has this article helped you better understand your rights and options regarding medical evaluations and retirements?  I certainly hope so.  If there are questions looming in your mind then please put them in the comments section below and I will find an answer for you.

 

Don’t forget to forward this article to others who may find this information beneficial.  Understanding your rights and benefits is the whole point of this site after all.  I am sure your buddies will appreciate your willingness to share with them.

 

As always, thanks for joining me today and being part of this audience.  Lastly, but not the least, of course, thank you for your service.  Have a great day.

 

D.J.

 

 

References:
Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) (DODLive.mil)
Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR)
Disability Appeals (Army)
Disability Review Board (Navy)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (Health.mil)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (afpc.af.mil)
DOD Instruction 6040.44 (dated 4 December 2017) – Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR)
Physical Disability Board of Review Charter
DD Form 294 – Application for a Review by the Physical Disability Board of Review


Related YouTube Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Podcast Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Podcast Episode 0046 – The Physical Disability Board of Review

 

So you have a problem with your disability rating? Here is how you might be able to fix it.

Send board request packets here:
SAF/MRBR
Attn: PDBR Intake Unit
550 C Street West, Suite 41
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4743

References:
Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) (DODLive.mil)
Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR)
Disability Appeals (Army)
Disability Review Board (Navy)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (Health.mil)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (afpc.af.mil)
DOD Instruction 6040.44 (dated 4 December 2017) – Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR)
Physical Disability Board of Review Charter
DD Form 294 – Application for a Review by the Physical Disability Board of Review


Related YouTube Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Podcast Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


YouTube Episode 0048 – The Physical Disability Board of Review

 

So you have a problem with your disability rating? Here is how you might be able to fix it.

Send board request packets here:
SAF/MRBR
Attn: PDBR Intake Unit
550 C Street West, Suite 41
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4743

References:
Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) (DODLive.mil)
Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records (BCMR)
Disability Appeals (Army)
Disability Review Board (Navy)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (Health.mil)
Physical Disability Board of Review FAQ (afpc.af.mil)
DOD Instruction 6040.44 (dated 4 December 2017) – Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR)
Physical Disability Board of Review Charter
DD Form 294 – Application for a Review by the Physical Disability Board of Review


Related YouTube Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Podcast Episodes
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve


Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve

We’re almost finished with the medical retirement series. Let’s continue with this question.

“D.J., I have been found medically unfit and I have ratings from the medical boards.  There’s just one thing, though. I don’t want to leave military service.”

 

Well, there is some good news for you.  Your career may not yet be over.  There are two programs which might…and I emphasize MIGHT…be available for you to use.  They, at least in the Army, are called Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) and Continuation on Active Reserve (COAR).

 

I would like to hear from those of you in the other branches about the different names for these programs as well as how they may differ from what I am going to describe today.  I will be talking from an Army perspective regarding this program.

 

If you saw my video / audio episode entitled “Interview With a PEBLO” then you have at least heard the terms COAD and COAR.  Now that I think of it, I really need to make a transcript of that interview and post it.  Anyway, we’re going to go much deeper into this topic of continuing service.  What exactly is the purpose of these programs, then?  Essentially, they are ways to reduce the military’s loss of manpower and critical skills as a result of medical disqualification.

 

This is not a program for everyone.  In fact, for many people going through medical boards, it might not even be the best idea to pursue continuation.  This seems to be a program for people with relatively low disabilities (though I could be wrong here) or those with critical skill types.  You will have to decide if this is right for you.  Remember that this is not an automatic program; you have to apply for it and be approved for continuation by your branch of service.

 

The most preferred subset of service members, though anyone can apply, are:

  • Served 15 to 20 years of active duty service for COAD or 15 to 20 qualifying years of service for non-regular retirement for COAR
  • Is qualified in a critical skill or shortage Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)
  • Has a disability as a result of combat or terrorism

Source: http://wct.army.mil/modules/soldier/s6-coadCOAR.html

 

In order to be considered for COAD or COAR, you must be able to work in a military environment without creating any sort of adverse effect on your current disabilities.  If you’re an enlisted service member, you will have to extend your contract if your agreed upon period of service goes beyond your current enlistment.  If your disability does increase during this period of service and reasonable accommodations still will not allow you to continue performing your duties, you are allowed to apply to be released from your COAD / COAR obligation.

 

When and How to Apply

The first thing that must happen is the IDES (or LDES) medical board (see my articles on those for an explanation of the acronyms) has to find you unfit for continued service and recommend separation or retirement.  Next, you must have at least fifteen but less than twenty years of qualifying service (for reservists) or at least fifteen but less than twenty active duty years (for AGRs and other active duty personnel).  Of course, the critical skill applies here.  Finally, you must complete the application packet (a checklist is in the References section) with the assistance of your PEBLO (don’t try to do it yourself).  This packet must be submitted within ten days of your Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) determination so don’t delay.

 

The packet is relatively simple and is composed primarily of documents produced during your IDES evaluation.  For the Army (it will be different for other branches, but similar), those documents are:

  • The COAD / COAR Checklist
  • DA Form 4187 (Personnel Action)
  • DA Form 7652 – PDES Commander’s Performance and Functional Statement
  • Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) Proceedings (DA Form 199, 199-1, 199-2)
  • Retirement Points Statement (for COAR only)
  • Memorandum from the treating physician outlining the member’s medical ability to continue to serve

 

In the Army, this packet is then sent to the Physical Disability Agency for consideration.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

For this section, I will copy from the Warrior Care and Transition website.  If you have questions which are not answered here, please contact me using the comments section or by email.

When does the COAD/COAR process begin?

A COAD/COAR request will go to the Physical Disability Agency (PDA) after the Soldier receives their unfit rating and indicates that they want to pursue COAD/COAR.

How long can I stay in COAD/COAR?

Once approved for COAD, Soldiers may remain on Active Duty (provided otherwise qualified) until their retention control point (RCP), mandatory removal or retirement date (MRD), or age 60 for Guard and Reserve, whichever comes first. Once approved for COAR, Soldiers may serve to their maximum years of service (MYOS), MRD, or age 60, whichever occurs first. They will be required to reenlist if the period for which their COAD or COAR was approved extends beyond their contractual enlistment.

Am I still competitive for promotion?

Yes, you are eligible for promotion and still competitive. AR 600-8-19 and Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Consolidated Guidance govern promotion rules, policy, and procedure.

Who is the authority for disapproving COAD/COAR requests?

The U.S. Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1.

Will I remain in the same Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) while I am in COAD/COAR?

Most Soldiers remain in their current MOS and are assigned in accordance with their limitations.

Can I revoke/withdraw my COAD/COAR application?

Yes. A Soldier may request to revoke/withdraw their application through their local Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO).

Can I reenlist while in COAD/COAR?

Yes, you are allowed to reenlist. Soldiers are not required to meet medical standards for disabilities for which they were continued. However, they may be denied reenlistment if their disabilities have worsened or if they have new medical impairments which fall below the medical retention standards of AR 40-501, Chapter 3.

Source: http://wct.army.mil/modules/soldier/s6-coadCOAR.html

 

If you have any questions about what I have said today, please post them in the comments section or send me an email.  I will answer your question as soon as possible.

 

 

Thanks for joining me today and, of course, thank you for your service.

 

D.J.

References:
COAD / COAR Packet Checklist.pdf
COAR / COAR Brief – 9 April 2009.pdf
COAD / COAR Information Paper – 9 November 2008
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAD Request
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAR Request
http://wtc.armylive.dodlive.mil/2013/03/the-basics-of-coadcoar-an-interview-with-col-dickinson/
http://wct.army.mil/modules/soldier/s6-coadCOAR.html
Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Consolidated Guidance

 

Related YouTube Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

 

Related Podcast Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt


Podcast Episode 0045 – Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve

Want to continue to serve after being found medically unfit? Here is a way you can do it.

References:
COAD / COAR Packet Checklist.pdf
COAR / COAR Brief – 9 April 2009.pdf
COAD / COAR Information Paper – 9 November 2008
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAD Request
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAR Request
http://wtc.armylive.dodlive.mil/2013/03/the-basics-of-coadcoar-an-interview-with-col-dickinson/
http://wct.army.mil/modules/soldier/s6-coadCOAR.html
Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Consolidated Guidance

 

Related YouTube Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

 

Related Podcast Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

 


YouTube Episode 0047 – Continuation on Active Duty and Continuation on Active Reserve

Want to continue to serve after being found medically unfit? Here is a way you can do it.

References:
COAD / COAR Packet Checklist.pdf
COAR / COAR Brief – 9 April 2009.pdf
COAD / COAR Information Paper – 9 November 2008
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAD Request
DA 4187 (Personnel Action) – COAR Request
http://wtc.armylive.dodlive.mil/2013/03/the-basics-of-coadcoar-an-interview-with-col-dickinson/
http://wct.army.mil/modules/soldier/s6-coadCOAR.html
Warrior Transition Unit (WTU) Consolidated Guidance

 

Related YouTube Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

 

Related Podcast Episodes:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
Change of Plans: New Series on Medical Retirement
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
Interview With a PEBLO
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt


Related Articles
:
Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?
Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?
I’m Medically Unfit for Retention. Now What?
Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?
“Jackpot! I’ve Been Offered a HUGE Severance Payment.”  DJ says, “Don’t Take It.”
“But My PEBLO said…”  The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt