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.

https://youtu.be/N9iJK0yzIo0

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


Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?

Let’s take a break from SBP this week and talk about another topic that comes up all the time.  People are always looking for documents from their service records, but are they necessarily looking for the right thing?

So, you’re trying to get a VA home loan or prove your military service for some other type of benefit.  Sadly and confusingly, most if not all of the organizations that are offering a service or benefit based on your service will automatically say, “Show me your DD 214.”  For a great many service members, particularly reservists, this is a distressing request.

The Department of Defense (DD) Form 214 is the “Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.”  It is, or should be, issued whenever a service member completes a tour of active duty of ninety days or more.  Whether or not you, as a reservist, qualifies for this document is widely variable and depends on whether you have completed the required amount of active duty service.

A great many reservists only have, if they’re lucky, a DD 214 when they finished their basic and advance training at the beginning of their reserve careers.  It is entirely possible for a reservist to complete twenty or more years of service and never receive another DD 214 because they did not have any long-term tours of active duty while they were serving.  Annual training and other short periods of active duty do not qualify for a DD 214.  This can leave reservists seeking to take advantage of service-based benefits in a bit of a quandary.

There is another form, call the DD 220 (Active Duty Report), which is generally issued for shorter periods of active duty (other than annual training).  Very often, reservists never receive these forms, either.

So, what do you do if you need to prove your service to an organization or government agency?  There are options, believe it or not.  If you are a currently serving reservist, you can find other documents in your electronic personnel record.  The most useful document you should find in that record is your retirement points statement.  This statement should show your entire military career and the number of retirement points you earned during each year of service.  If you are an enlisted member, you can also find DD Form 4, Enlistment / Reenlistment Document; if you are an officer, you can find your appointment as a commissioned or warrant officer.

Some organizations, particularly civilian agencies, may not understand what these documents are.  You may need to explain (politely) what the documents mean or give them contact information for your unit or a retirement services officer in order to assist them.

If you were a member of the Army or Air National Guard, you should have a copy of National Guard Bureau (NGB) Form 22, Report of Separation and Military Service.  While it is somewhat erroneous to say so, you can consider the NGB 22 as the National Guard equivalent of a DD 214.  The NGB 22 is verification of your National Guard service.  Sadly, if you discharged from any other reserve component, there is no single-source document which proves your military service.

Now, what can you do, particularly if you were National Guard and need a copy of your discharge documents?  For the National Guard of any state, there is a person as your state headquarters who can request records for you.  Some of them may need a signed Standard Form (SF) 180, Request Pertaining to Military Records, or a locally produced form from you before accessing those records.

If you separated from service after 2005, that state-level person will likely have access to the Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System (iPERMS) and be able to pull the documents you need very quickly.  If you separated prior to 2005, that person will likely need to request records from your state records archives warehouse.

If you served in a different reserve component, the first stop is to contact your branch of service or, if you are currently serving, access your electronic record.  I have placed links to each service’s electronic records website below.  If your branch of service no longer has those records, you can try the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  NARA will require an SF 180 from you in order to fill your request.  You can mail or fax a paper form to them or submit a request online.  See my notes below for a link to the NARA site and a link to an SF 180.

Now, here is a hint.  If you served in multiple components, such as the Navy Reserve and the Army National Guard and you are requesting records from NARA, do NOT mention your National Guard service in your request.  If you do, NARA will immediately (or, at least, has every time as of the time I wrote this article) refer you to your state’s National Guard headquarters and will not fill your request.

It is possible, especially if you were in several branches of service, that no one source will have your complete record.  Naturally, the ultimate responsibility for maintaining a complete record falls on the shoulders of the service member.

I will compile and post a page on my website of as many of the state National Guard records managers as I can find.  Building this complete list may take some time so please check back if you do not see your state listed.

References:
Air Force Personnel Records (https://mypers.af.mil)
Army Personnel Records (https://iperms.hrc.army.mil/)
Coast Guard Personnel Records (http://cgbi.osc.uscg.mil/2.0/contentpanes/personal_files/summary_sheet.cfm)
Marine Corps Personnel Records (https://sso.tfs.usmc.mil/sso/DoDConsent.do)
Navy Personnel Records (https://www.bol.navy.mil/DefaultPub.aspx)

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) (https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records)

Request National Guard Archived Records (http://rcretirement.com/national-guard-archived-records/) (List In Progress)

Forms:
DD Form 214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty
DD Form 220 – Active Duty Report
NGB Form 22 – Report of Separation and Military Service
Standard Form (SF) 180 – Request Pertaining to Military Records

Retirement Points Statements By Service:
Air Force Reserve / Air National Guard: AF Form 526 – Point Summary Sheet
Army Reserve: DARP Form 549 or DA Form 5016 – Chronological Statement of Retirement Points
Army National Guard: NGB Form 23B – Army National Guard Retirement Points History
Navy Reserve: NRPC Form 1070-124 – Annual Retirement Points Record
USMC Reserve: NAVMC Form 798 – Reserve Retirement Credit Report
Coast Guard Reserve: CG Form 4175 – USCG Reserve Retirement Points Statement


YouTube Episode 0007 – Help, I Need My Records. Where is My DD 214?