“But My PEBLO said…” The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay

We’ve all heard the confusing comments from barracks lawyers and frustrated people going through medical boards. No one statement seems to match with another and it just annoys us all the more.  What does it all mean?


In fact, what do I mean?  I’m talking specifically about those service members who have received a disability rating and are talking about how much money they are going to be paid each month.


“My VA rating is fifty percent.  My PEBLO (Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer) says this means I’m going to get my disability retirement and my VA compensation at the same time. Isn’t that great?”


Sound familiar?  We’ve heard this song before.  The service member is talking about Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay in this situation. He believes he will get disability retired pay and VA compensation without an offset as a result of the VA payment.  Sadly, what he has been told usually isn’t correct.


“Why is that?” you may ask.


The answer is a bit convoluted because there are so many possible factors involved.  Here are a few of those possibilities.  Keep in mind that I am not trying to bash anyone when I say these things.  I’m just stating my observances based on prior experience.  Even though it is talking about drill pay, I recommend my article “Should I Take Drill Pay or VA Compensation?” for more information.  The same things I describe there as far as VA offset still apply to retired pay (although you don’t have to choose whether to receive one or the other like you do with drill pay).


Many PEBLOs and MSCs (Military Service Coordinators, the VA side of medical boards) are what I call “active duty-centric.”  This means they are looking at things from an active duty perspective and often do not understand how reserve retirement works (obviously, not all of them are this way).  This centrism creates a great deal of confusion and frustration for reservists.


Often, these PEBLOs and MSCs are new to their jobs or – just a bad – their cases loads are constantly being shuffled.  Many reservists going through medical boards have several different PEBLOs during their journey.  This lack of continuity again can lead to confusion when each of these PEBLOs tell a different story.


For those new PEBLOs out there, they are still learning their jobs and can give partial or conflicting information.  I wouldn’t blame them for intentionally misleading their clients; they’re just not yet sure of the facts.  I recommend checking with a retirement services officer to verify what you have been told (sometimes RSOs are new too so be forewarned).


Worst of all, it is very easy to confuse Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) with another similar sounding type of pay called Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC).  These two programs sound identical when you first look at them.  You have to look carefully at the criteria in order to tell the two apart.  PEBLOs and MSCs can get baffled at the requirements of the two just like anyone else.


So, what is the truth about CRDP?  What is it?  How does it actually work?  Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay (often called Concurrent Receipt for short) allows for service members who are fully eligible to receive a length of service retirement (usually meaning you have at least twenty qualifying years) to also receive VA compensation without an offset if they also have a minimum VA disability rating of fifty percent (this is different from the disability rating from your branch of service).  That’s a long sentence.  Let’s make it easier.  If all of the following apply to you then you’re eligible for CRDP:

  • You have at least twenty qualifying years of service
  • You have a 50% or higher VA rating
  • You are old enough to receive your reserve retirement


Medical disability retirements are not considered length of service retirements and are not eligible for concurrent receipt.  This is not something written into military regulations as a way to disqualify some retirees.  This is part of federal law (sorry, Charlie).


To dig deeper into the specific requirements to receive CRDP, I will loosely quote from the Defense Finance and Accountings Service’s (DFAS) website and try to explain it for you.




You may be eligible for CRDP if…

  • You are a regular (active duty) retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • You are a reserve retiree with 20 qualifying years of service, who has a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater and who has reached retirement age. (In most cases the retirement age for reservists is 60, but certain reserve retirees may be eligible before they turn 60. If you are a member of the Ready Reserve, your retirement age can be reduced below age 60 by three months for each 90 days of active service you have performed during a fiscal year.)
  • You are retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. This is another type of active duty retirement and does not apply to reservists (unless you’re AGR but this is still not applicable in the case of medical retirements).
  • You are a disability retiree who earned eligibility for retired pay under any provision of law other than solely by disability (emphasis mine), and you have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. You might become eligible for CRDP at the time you would have become eligible for retired pay (reserve retirement at age sixty).


(Loosely quoted – with some additions and modifications –  from https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/crdp.html. Page updated October 9, 2013)




As you can see (hopefully), reservists who are not yet eligible for the retired pay they have already earned (meaning at age sixty) are also ineligible for CRDP.  VA compensation is still going to offset – dollar for dollar – anything you get from medical retirement pay.  This is an often heartbreaking and financially stressful fact for many reservists to learn.  It is better to know the facts though than to be hit with this revelation later when you are not prepared for it.


You don’t actually (or maybe I should say usually) apply for CRDP.  I have seen this happen both ways so I will describe both for you.


When I assist disability retirees with applying for pay (and this is specifically talking to you RSOs out there), I will check their records to see if they have at least twenty qualifying years for reserve retirement (meaning I look for a twenty-year letter).  If I see they’re have met that requirement, I include the twenty-year letter and final retirement points statement with the application for pay.  This lets DFAS know the retiree will be eligible for CRDP in the future.


Sometimes notifying DFAS of the retiree’s eligibility for CRDP hasn’t worked.  In this case, I have sent the usual retired pay documents (DD 2656, DD 108, twenty-year letter, retirement points, discharge order, and RCSBP election…don’t worry about all the acronyms for now) to the member’s branch of service and had them (the BOS) go through their usual machinations.  The branch of service produces a statement showing all of the details of the retiree’s eligibility (including CRDP eligibility) and sends it to DFAS.  At that point, DFAS updates the retiree’s pay profile and begins paying CRDP.  If any back pay of CRDP is owed, they will pay that usually within sixty days of the update.


Like I said a moment ago, I have see both of these work in the past.  Keep a close eye on your own status and seek the assistance of a retirement services officer if you need to change something.  As always, I do not recommend trying to do this yourself (increased irritation and delays normally result if you do).  The reason for this recommendation is this. Most retirees do not know what to do and make frantic phone calls to whomever they can reach.  This tends to cause further vexation.  RSOs are the key to success.  Use the key to unlock the door.


For some medically retired service members, there is a type of pay which makes up for this VA offset right now.  It is called Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC).  This is not an automatic payment and actually requires a special application.  I will describe CRSC and compare it to CRDP next week.


I hope this has helped you improve your understanding of Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay.  If not, drop a comment below or send your question to me via email at dj@rcretirement.com.  I will answer you hopefully clarify any problem you may have.


Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and podcast.  They are also valuable tools in retirement education.  I encourage you to spread the word about this site, the channel, and the podcast. Be sure to hit that Like button for videos on my YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/rcretirement), as well.  I also ask that you review the podcast in iTunes.  This will help improve the likelihood of others finding it and gaining the knowledge they need to improve their own situations.


If you have any topics you would like for me to cover in the future, you can also leave those in the comments section or send your suggestions to me by email.  You can also find lots of useful information in the Resources section of my site.


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




Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) (DFAS)
VA vs Drill Pay (PowerPoint Presentation)
VA Math Made Simple
10 USC 12731: Age and service requirements
10 USC 12731b: Special rule for members with physical disabilities not incurred in line of duty

Related YouTube Episodes:
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

Related Podcast Episodes
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

Related Articles:
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.”

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