Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

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Warning!  This is a very long article.  I recommend taking it in pieces to avoid being overwhelmed by information overload.

 

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You’re almost there.  You have been medically retired. You’re receiving VA compensation and you’re getting military retirement for your disability.  Lastly, your VA compensation is offsetting your military pay.  Now you can proceed to the final step in your path to complete medical retirement.

 

“What is this last step?” you may ask.

 

If any of your disabilities are the result of direct combat, hazardous duty, or preparing for combat (like training exercises), you may be eligible for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC).

 

“CRSC? That sounds like CRDP (Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay) which you discussed last week.  Aren’t they the same thing?”

 

To put it simply, no, they’re not the same, though they’re often confused for being such.  Don’t let the similar acronyms confuse you.  CRSC is designed to make up for some or all of the VA offset you are experiencing in your retired pay if you have combat-related disabilities. It’s quite different from CRDP.

 

For starters, the eligibility for CRSC is quite different from CRDP.  For example, you do not have to have reached your reserve retired pay eligibility date (RPED, usually age sixty) in order to receive CRSC.  Let’s look at a list of the eligibility requirements.

 

Eligibility
To qualify for CRSC you must:

  • be eligible for and/or receiving military retired pay
  • be rated at least 10 percent by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA)
  • have a VA offset from your retired pay
  • file a CRSC application with your Branch of Service

Source: https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/crsc.html

 

Only four requirements, this looks simple, right?  Now let’s consider the types of disabilities that can be categorized as combat-related.

 

 

Disabilities that may be considered combat related include injuries incurred as a direct result of:

  • Armed Conflict
  • Hazardous Duty
  • An Instrumentality of War
  • Simulated War

Source: https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/crsc.html

 

Now we’re getting into some terminology which may be confusing.  Let’s look at each one and define them a little better.

 

Armed Conflict: Direct combat, such as an injury from an improvised explosive device (IED) or a firefight, or the results of combat, such as lung damage from inhaling smoke from a vehicle burning during or after an engagement.  This can also be problems resulting from environmental issues from being in a combat theater.  However, an injury resulting while in theater, such as injuries sustained during physical training while overseas, is not enough on its own to qualify for CRSC.  There must be a document link between your injury and combat operations.

 

Hazardous Duty: Engaging in duties which are naturally considered highly dangerous, such as explosive ordinance disposal, flight, or paratrooper operations.

 

An Instrumentality of War: This is essentially military equipment such as a vehicle, vessel or other device designed primarily for military service.  The injury has to be caused by as a result of use of this equipment during training or combat and not be a result of negligence.  Simple accidents usually will not qualify.

 

Simulated War: This can be field training exercises and war games, anything in which simulated combat is taking place.  Again, there must be a documented link between the simulation of combat and your injury.

 

That should help a bit with understanding the conditions during which your sustained your disability.  It does sound a bit constraining sometimes but there is a lot of room to work here.  Remember that everything must be documented.  Your word that a disability is a result of any of these conditions won’t be enough.  I will post a list of the combat-related conditions in the references section below (look for Appendix A of DD Form 2860).

 

Applying for CRSC:

Now let’s talk about how to apply for CRSC.  Unlike CRDP, this does not happen automatically.  You do have to apply for it.  However, be sure you meet all of the requirements above first.  Your request will be denied if you do not have military retirement being offset by VA compensation. Also keep in mind that you apply for CRSC through your branch of service, not the Veterans Administration.

 

The first part of the application is DD Form 2860 (Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)).  This is the easiest part of the whole shebang though it may not seem like it at the time.  I have spent over two hours with retirees on this.  It’s a lot easier if your records have been pre-sorted and the parts you need to reference are easily accessible.  Most of that time I mentioned has been spent going through hundreds of pages of documents trying to find the right things.  The last one of these I prepared for a retiree took seemingly no time at all because he had prepared his documents beforehand (a good tip).

 

Some other resources out there on the magical interwebs has already put together a good bit of information on what needs to accompany the DD 2860.  I will quote from these sources for a significant part of what follows (with occasional clarification by me in brackets).  These lists of documents are also good suggestions for how to prepare yourself for applying by sorting your records before meeting with a retirement services officer.

 

Documents to Support your CRSC Claim:

[Include] relevant supporting documentation with your CRSC claim [which] assists … in determining CRSC eligibility. Time and again, claims come in lacking supporting documentation linking the injury to a combat-related situation. Click for combat-related definitions.

 

When completing the DD Form 2860 (CRSC Claim Form), please include the following documents to verify your injuries as combat-related.

 

Essential Documents:

  1. All available DD 214s/ DD 215s. You may obtain copies online from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) [or your archived records section (if you are National Guard)]. Be sure to retain a copy for your records.
  2. All complete Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Rating Decisions/ VA Physician Reports/ VA Medical Records (including the VA letter, the actual VA rating decisions and the VA code sheets)

 

Highly Recommended Documents:

  1. Medical Records
  2. Award Certificates and/or narratives (purple hearts)
  3. Military Medical Treatment Facility Records
  4. Military Orders

 

Suggested Documents:

  1. Military Quadrennial Physical Examinations
  2. Military Retirement Physicals
  3. Physical Evaluation Board Proceedings
  4. Clinical Records or Notes
  5. Sick Slips
  6. Western Union Casualty Notification Telegrams
  7. Officers Record Brief / Enlisted Records Brief

 

Note: DO NOT send original records, please send copies. If all you have is a copy, please be sure to retain a copy for your own records.

Source: https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Apply%20for%20CRSC

 

As you can see, this long list of documentation lends a lot of weight to the old credo about keeping everything the military gives you.  They come in handy when you are trying to acquire benefits like CRSC.

 

Once you have finished the application, make a copy of everything (and I mean everything).  I have included the addresses where you can send the packet below.  Sorry, there is no electronic way of submitting them.

 

Army

Department of the Army

U.S. Army Human Resources Command

ATTN: CRSC Division

1600 Spearhead Division Avenue

Fort Knox, KY 40122

866-281-3254 (Toll Free)

502-613-9550 (efax)

crsc.info@us.army.mil

www.hrc.army.mil/tagd/crsc

 

 

Navy and Marine Corps

Department of Navy

Secretary of the Navy Council of Review Boards Combat Related Special Compensation

720 Kennon Street SE, Suite 309

Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5023

877-366-2772 (Toll Free)

CRSC@navy.mil

http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/CRSCB

 

 

Air Force

United States Air Force Personnel Center Disability Division (CRSC)

550 C Street West, Suite 6

Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4708

800-525-0102

AFPC.DPPDC.AFCRSC@us.af.mil

http://www.retirees.af.mil/

 

 

Coast Guard

Commander (adm-1-CRSC)

U.S. Coast Guard

Personnel Command

4200 Wilson Boulevard

Arlington, VA 22203-1804

1-800-772-8274

www.uscg.mil/hq/cgpc/adm/adm1.htm

 

 

NOAA Corps

Director, Commissioned Personnel Center

8403 Colesville Road, Suite 500

Silver Spring, MD 20910-6333

 

 

Public Health Service

United States Public Health Service

Compensation Branch

Program Support Center, ESS

5600 Fishers Lane, Room 4-50

Rockville, MD 20857-0001

 

Reconsiderations:

Here is a quick note about reconsideration of claims which I borrowed from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

 

If you are reapplying for new disabilities, request a reconsideration application from your service branch.

 

Army: you can find a reconsideration application and instructions at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/crsc/reconsiderations.html

Navy/Marines: you can find a reconsideration application and instructions at http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/CRSCB

Air Force: Call 800-525-0102 concerning reconsideration

 

Mail or fax your application to your branch of service. You can’t submit it electronically.

Source: https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/applyforcrsc.html

 

 

 

As with so many things in the retirement world, I do not recommend trying to do all of this yourself.  This is easily one of the most complicated things you can do. It’s not like taxes, but it can be a beast.  If you need assistance completing the application for CRSC, contact a retirement services officer or your branch of service.

 

CRSC is not fast.  I have seen it take a minimum of six months and sometimes more to get a decision from a branch of service.  At least on the Army side, your RSO should be able to track the status of your application using the Soldier Management System (SMS) website located at https://www.hrcapps.army.mil/iws/.

 

Other considerations:

Information, planning, and timing are critical with CRSC.  I have seen three people bitten hard by lack of knowledge when it comes to medical retirements.  I know there are many more out there.  In fact, I would not be surprised if there is a class-action lawsuit in the future regarding the results of this lack of information.  Here is what I mean.

 

As a worst-case example, let me tell you about one individual who was medical retired from active duty.  In his situation, he was medically retired, was receiving VA compensation, and was receiving retired pay from the military.  The problem: there was no offset as a result of the VA payments.  For some reason, the VA and DFAS computes did not sync as they normally do and the offset did not begin for almost two years.

 

Can you see what was going to happen?  I bet you can.  He got a nasty-gram from DFAS saying he owed them over $70,000 in overpaid retirement as a result of the VA offset not occurring. He also had not applied for CRSC so there was no way to take care of this debt easily.

 

As you have learned from this poor fellow, it is imperative that you be aware of how military and VA pay are supposed to work.  If you don’t see an offset in your pay, contact someone immediately.  Also, if you think you are eligible, apply for CRSC right away.  Don’t wait.

 

Here is another thing to keep in mind.  It is possible to be eligible for both CRDP and CRSC.  You can only get one however. For reservists, this means you have reached your retired pay eligibility date and you have a VA rating of at least fifty percent.  DFAS will contact you in writing and ask you which of the two you would prefer to receive. You must choose which is best for you.  Since CRDP is taxable and CRSC is not, this is usually an easy decision.  Your situation may differ, though.

 

I said I would compare CRDP and CRSC.  This is already a long article, though.  You’re probably weary of reading and I am certainly getting tired of writing (with its current formatting in MS Word, including the references below, it’s eleven pages already and I’m not finished. Who knows how long it will be when I post it to the blog).  I am going to use one of those web resources I mentioned and post a comparison which has already been written in the references section.

 

I hope this has helped somewhat in understanding the basics of Combat-Related Special Compensation.  I am sure there is still a lot of confusion.  For this reason, I welcome all questions you may have.  Please post them in the comments section or email me directly at dj@rcretirement.com.  I will answer them all for you.  Who knows?  Your question might spark another article.  Be sure to check all of the reference material below, as well.

 

If you believe this article would be useful to someone else, please share a link to it with those other people.  Also, be sure to spread the word about this site.  Don’t worry about the slow load times it currently has.  I am working on a site rebuild which should alleviate that problem.

 

For those of you on YouTube, I ask that you subscribe and comment on the video about this topic (and the others, naturally).  The more the channel grows, the more I can do for currently serving and retired military members and their families.

 

If you’re listening to this in podcast form, I similarly ask that you subscribe to the podcast feed in iTunes.  Writing reviews about the podcast also helps spread the word about it and encourages to subscribe to it and benefit from the knowledge it can provide.

 

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:
Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (DFAS)
Applying for CRSC (DFAS)
Comparing CRSC and CRDP
DD 2860 – Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation – Blank.pdf
Army CRSC Reference Guide
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)
Additional Monetary Benefits for Eligible Military Retirees
CRSC Eligibility
CRSC Guidance
Combat-Related Codes (Appendix A from DD Form 2860)

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

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

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


Podcast Episode 0046 – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

What is CRSC? It’s not the same as CRDP. It’s a horse of a different color.

 

 

 

References:
Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (DFAS)
Applying for CRSC (DFAS)
Comparing CRSC and CRDP
DD 2860 – Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation – Blank.pdf
Army CRSC Reference Guide
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)
Additional Monetary Benefits for Eligible Military Retirees
CRSC Eligibility
CRSC Guidance
Combat-Related Codes (Appendix A from DD Form 2860)

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

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

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


Podcast Episode 0044 – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

What is CRSC? It’s not the same as CRDP. It’s a horse of a different color.

 

 

References:
Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (DFAS)
Applying for CRSC (DFAS)
Comparing CRSC and CRDP
DD 2860 – Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation – Blank.pdf
Army CRSC Reference Guide
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)
Additional Monetary Benefits for Eligible Military Retirees
CRSC Eligibility
CRSC Guidance
Combat-Related Codes (Appendix A from DD Form 2860)

 

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

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

 

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


YouTube Episode 0046 – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

https://youtu.be/8XmnlAgaTtk

 

 

References:
Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (DFAS)
Applying for CRSC (DFAS)
Comparing CRSC and CRDP
DD 2860 – Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation – Blank.pdf
Army CRSC Reference Guide
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)
Additional Monetary Benefits for Eligible Military Retirees
CRSC Eligibility
CRSC Guidance
Combat-Related Codes (Appendix A from DD Form 2860)

 

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

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

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


YouTube Episode 0046 – Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Is NOT the Same As Concurrent Receipt

https://youtu.be/8XmnlAgaTtk

References:
Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (DFAS)
Applying for CRSC (DFAS)
Comparing CRSC and CRDP
DD 2860 – Claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation – Blank.pdf
Army CRSC Reference Guide
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) and Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)
Additional Monetary Benefits for Eligible Military Retirees
CRSC Eligibility
CRSC Guidance
Combat-Related Codes (Appendix A from DD Form 2860)

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

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

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


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


I have a problem. Should I File a Congressional Inquiry? (Warning! My Opinion Follows)

Let me first state (again) that most of what you’re going to see in this article is my opinion.  I’m going to talk about a somewhat sensitive topic this week.  I say it’s sensitive because there are some people who believe this topic is the best recourse for solving problems (sometimes military problems and sometimes, it seems, any problem).  No thin skins, please.  I’m stating an opinion here and, hopefully, offering some useful advice.

A Congressional inquiry – often just called a “Congressional” – is a request for information made on your behalf by regarding a problem you may be having.  This request can be a simple query for information or a request for assistance with a grievance. I will not be talking about how to make a Congressional inquiry, merely how they have tended to work as I have seen them.

Based on my experience with several dozen cases that have been assigned to me over the years, Congressional inquiries seem to be one of the most misused courses of action used by service members.  There is a place for such inquiries, of course.  I have seen, however, that they are often used as a way to circumvent the chain of command or as a (misconceived) way to resolve problems. Congressionals should be a last resort, not the first.

Congressionals typically result in a more complicated way to fix an issue than using the resources already available to service members.  Usually, the decision to resort to a Congressional is based on the member not understanding the availability of these resources. I will give you a few examples to support my claim.

*****

“Someone done me wrong.”
Earlier this year, I was given a Congressional from a currently-serving National Guard member who was upset about being told he was not eligible for a retirement benefit from the state in which he was serving.  This benefit was a $50 stipend from the state.  Eligibility for this stipend was defined as a minimum of 19 years, 6 months, and 1 day (or more) of National Guard service (Army or Air) within the state.

The member had twelve years of active duty service and eight years of service in the National Guard of his state.  He had been told by someone in his chain of command that his active duty service would count toward retirement eligibility and was disgruntled when he was told the same active duty service would not count for eligibility toward the state retirement.  His two-sentence letter to the Congressional office stated he had been told that the active duty service would count and that “someone done me wrong.”

I informed the office and his chain of command that he would be eligible for federal retired pay based upon his total service but that he would not be eligible for the state benefit unless he chose to serve an additional eleven and a half years in the state’s National Guard.

I believe this case was simply a matter of poor information being provided to this member by his full-time staff.  Sadly, the correct information could have been obtained in a much easier manner by his staff contacting me (and possibly by better training to the same staff regarding this state benefit).  Instead of using the next level of his chain of command to further his inquiry, the member went straight to his senator and lodged a complaint.

You could say one good thing – somewhat – resulted from this inquiry.  Shortly before the complaint was received, his state had instituted a series of training sessions to improve the full-time staff’s ability to counsel its reservists on all aspects of retirement benefits.  Hopefully, this additional training will reduce the number of instances of incorrect information being provided to service members.

An Air National Guardsman’s Retirement Eligibility
This was a case that one might say ultimately was resolved by a Congressional inquiry.  In this circumstance, an Air National Guard member who had bounced around between several components during his career had allowed his enlistment to expire upon seeing that he had twenty years of service for pay (as reflected by his leave and earnings statement).  When he applied for pay several years later, it was rejected because there was no single document showing he had twenty years of qualifying service.

This individual had served in the active Air Force, the Air National Guard of multiple states, the Army National Guard, the Air Force Reserve, and the Coast Guard Reserve. His last period of service was with the Air National Guard.  His retirement points from all of those components had never been consolidated into a single document and, as a result, a notice of eligibility for retired pay (i.e. a twenty-year letter) had never been issued to him.

The usual response time for Congressionals in my region is supposed to be three working days.  In this situation, because of a lack of information initially, I was only able to say that I was trying to obtain records in order to determine his eligibility for retirement.  This case lasted for an inordinate amount of time, two years before it was resolved.  I worked on his problem for six months before I came to believe there was no more information to be found and pretty much gave up.  The other branches of services were either taking too long to respond to my requests or not answering me at all.  I still revisited the case off and on over the next year with no real results.

Finally, I was recounting the matter to a coworker and saying how I wished I could have fixed the problem.  She asked to take a look at his records just to see if she could spot anything.  I am glad I decided to let her do so. She found a series of faded retirement points statements I had missed which brought his total qualifying years to nineteen.  The twentieth year needed only another three points in order to hit the magical points of fifty in order to become a qualifying year.  A request to DFAS for his pay data for that year resulted in an additional six points.  The member is now receiving retired pay.

While this case was one with a positive outcome, I do believe the requirement to constantly update my chain of command, our legislative liaison, the Congressional office, and other people once again added several layers of frustration to the case.  As with so many of these inquiries, I wish I had been contacted first.  In many of these concerns, I or someone in another section would have been able to fix the difficulty with little effort.

Presidential Letter of Appreciation
A recently retired colonel (recently in this case meaning less than a year since separation) had not received a presidential letter of appreciation (PLOA) for his thirty-plus years of service.  I had personally worked with this officer in correcting his retirement points, reduced retirement age eligibility, and applying for this pension.  I was more than a little surprised when he approached a Congress member rather than contacting me about this issue.

I can only surmise as to the reasons for this person’s decision to file a Congressional.  Perhaps he thought he was no longer able to contact my office since he was now retired.  I simply do not know.  All I can really say on this matter is the Congressional added complexity to what should have been an easy issue to resolve.

PLOAs are more complicated than they need to be already.  However, a simple call or email from him would have been all that was needed to get things moving to obtain the PLOA for him.

Retired Pay Application Stalled at DFAS
I received a phone call from a retired reservist who had worked with me to apply for retired pay.  Two months had passed since his retired pay eligibility date and he wanted to know why he had not yet been paid.  The application had been submitted to Army Human Resources Command (HRC) six months earlier.  HRC had completed its part of the work and forwarded the application to the Defenses Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS).

I contacted DFAS by phone the next day and spoke with an analyst who had knowledge of his application.  To my astonishment, right in the middle of the call, the analyst paused in her conversation with me and then told me she had just been notified that the member had filed a Congressional against DFAS.  She then said she would no longer be able to talk to me about the case since there was now an active Congressional connected to it.

Grudgingly, I hung up.  I continued to monitor the status of this case by using a portal into DFAS’s pay data.  I saw that the retiree was not paid for another three months.  I personally think the matter was slowed down by the Congressional rather than sped up.  This is what I usually see from Congressionals, longer resolutions times instead of shorter.

*****

As I said earlier, there is a place for Congressional inquiries.  However, I believe they should be a last resort not the first as I have often seen.  If you are considering such an inquiry or know someone who is, I ask that you or that other person exhaust every other resource available to you first.

As I also said, I think a lot of people run to the Congressional inquiry because they are not aware of the other avenues of approach which often would be the better and faster way to fix the problem.  A perfect example of this would be a service member I encountered when I was at unit level who wanted to file a Congressional because he had not received the second half of his enlistment bonus.  I told him there was a better way and asked him to wait a moment.  He then watched in amazement as I settled the affair with a four-minute phone call and told him he’d have the money in ten days.  See?  That’s a lot easier than a Congressional would have been.

The bottom line here is to use everything available to you at each subsequent level of the chain of command.  Congressionals should be a rare event.  Naturally, this places the burden of support on the full-time staff to guide reservists down the appropriate path.

Join me next week as we discuss other service benefits and how to use them.  If you have a topic you would like me to explore, please email it to me or post it in the comments section.

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

D.J.

 

References:
Congressional Inquiries (DOD)
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
Directory of U.S. Representatives
Directory of U.S. Senators


Podcast Episode 0025 – I have a problem. Should I File a Congressional Inquiry? (Warning! My Opinion Follows)

References:
Congressional Inquiries (DOD)
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs
Directory of U.S. Representatives
Directory of U.S. Senators