“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.

 

D.J.

 

References:
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.”


YouTube Episode 0045 – “But My PEBLO said…” The Truth About Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay

 


https://youtu.be/a0bNv4o3tmc

References:
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.”


The Temporary and Permanent Disability Retirement Lists

You’ve finally made it through the maze of the medical board journey, your branch of service has given you a disability rating, and you are about to be medically retired.  What in the world does all of that mean?  Here is the skinny on the disability retirement lists.  This will be a long article so please read it carefully.

 

What are they?

These are essentially active duty retirements (even if you are a reservist) with benefits starting right away.  You do not have to wait until sixty like the usual reserve retirement.  The Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) and the Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL) are statuses given to service members who have long-term medical disabilities and are no longer able to perform their military duties as a result.  These service members also have a combined disability rating (see my article on medical boards, “Beware the IDES of Medical Boards…?” for an explanation on how this works.  I’ll include a link in the notes below.

 

Eligibility

If your injuries are long-term and you have a disability rating from your branch of service of at least 30% then you can be placed on the permanent disability retired list (PDRL).  If you have a possibility of recovering from your injuries within a certain amount of time, usually three years or less, then you can be placed on the temporary disability retired list (TDRL).

 

Service members on the TDRL will be on the list for a maximum of three years and will have their conditions reevaluated at least every eighteen months.  If you have recovered sufficiently then you will be removed from the list and returned to service.  If you have not recovered (more likely) then you can either be offered a severance package or transferred to the PDRL.

 

Benefits

For members on the TDRL, the minimum amount of retired pay is fifty percent of active duty base pay (even if your branch of service’s disability rating is lower than that) up to a maximum of seventy-five percent (even if your branch of service’s disability rating is higher than that).  Keep in mind that your final rating from your branch of service (BOS) can go down when you are reevaluated.  This downgrade can result in severance if your rating goes below thirty percent.  If you are transferred to the PDRL then your rate of pay will be based on your final disability rating (determined upon reevaluation).

 

Members on the PDRL will receive retired pay based on their active duty base pay and their final disability rating.

 

A benefit often more valuable than the amount of retired pay is Tricare health care benefits.  Tricare is available not only for the service member but also his spouse and dependent children.  Make sure they are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) – the same database used to determine which ID card you receive – since this is what is referenced by Tricare whenever you try to use your health benefits.  I usually tell people that Tricare is easily worth at least $1,000 per month in value.

Service members on either of these retirement lists are eligible for a blue (retired) ID card.  Their dependents are eligible for tan cards.  These cards allow you to use all of the on-post (and off-post) benefits received by any other military retiree (such as discounts at civilian businesses).  Be sure to take your disability order with you when you show up to get new cards for everyone.

 

You should get the cards around a week or so from your orders’ effective date.  You can do it within a week after this date, as well.  Don’t wait any longer than this, though, or you may have problems with DEERS.  Be sure the DEERS operator lists you as a retiree (not a reserve retiree) when he updates your record.

 

Applying for Pay

I recommend getting the help of a retirement services officer (RSO) for this part of things.  While the pay application can appear simple at first, there are many areas where mistakes can be made.  Errors on the application can delay the start of your benefits (until they are fixed).  An RSO will know how to do everything correctly.

 

Use DD Form 2656 to apply for retired pay.  Other than a few supporting documents, you will not need to complete any other forms (they just have the same information as the DD 2656 anyway).

 

The supporting documents for most people on the PDRL or TDRL are just the disability order (the one with your rating on it not your discharge from your branch of service) and your final retirement points statement. I’ll include an example from the Army in the notes below.  Expect about two months from the time the application is sent to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) for pay to begin.

 

If you have a twenty-year letter, it is a good idea to include that letter and your reserve component survivor benefit plan election, as well.  Don’t worry. You’ll get back pay from the effective date of your disability order to the present. You won’t lose any money.

 

How VA Compensation Affects Pay

Just like any other type of military pay, compensation from the Veterans Administration will offset – dollar for dollar – anything you get from the military.  There is a thing called Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay  (often simply called concurrent receipt) – or CRDP for short – which allows for this offset not to happen if you have at least a 50% rating from the VA, but this does not apply for medical retirements.  There is also a type of pay called combat-related special compensation which makes up for some or all of the VA offset.  You might be eligible for both of these but can only receive one or the other.

 

Concurrent Retired and Disability Pay (CRDP)

I just said you can’t get CRDP if you have a medical retirement, but you can choose to get this if you have twenty years of qualifying service and you have reached your retired pay eligibility date (RPED).  Your RPED is usually age sixty, but can be earlier if you have qualifying active duty service.  Talk to an RSO to see if this applies to you.  I will go deeper into the CRDP topic in next week’s article.

 

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

CRSC sounds very similar to CRDP (probably because they both have CR in the acronym) and people very often get them confused.  Even retirement services officers and your physical evaluation board liaison officer (PEBLO) can get the facts jumbled in their minds.

 

CRSC is a type of pay for people with combat-related injuries which makes up for part (or all) of the offset between retired pay and VA compensation.  This pay does not happen automatically.  There is a separate application packet which needs to be sent to your branch of service in order to receive it.  First, though, you need to have retired pay which is being reduced by VA compensation (so be sure to apply for pay with an RSO’s assistance).  I will cover the specifics of CRSC in two weeks (after I have talked about concurrent receipt in more detail).

 

Hopefully, this was a useful article.  I don’t want to get too deep in the weeds or it might end up being more of a mind bender than it needs to be.  If I missed anything or you are confused about something, please drop a comment for me and I will answer any problems you might have.

 

Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel and podcast for updates on future posts.

 

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

 

D.J.

 

References:
TDRL Order Example

Related YouTube Episodes:
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
:
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:
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.”


Podcast Episode 0042 – The Temporary and Permanent Disability Retirement Lists

 

References:
TDRL Order Example

Related YouTube Episodes:
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
:
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:
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.”


YouTube Episode 0044 – The Temporary and Permanent Disability Retirement Lists