27 Feb Disability Compensation and Benefits
In recent years, there has been increased recognition and attention given to the healthcare needs of our veterans, particularly those who have been injured or incapacitated as a result of their service. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has implemented various programs to address these needs and provide support to disabled veterans.
The VA continues to offer disability benefits and compensation to individuals injured in the line of duty. These benefits aim to provide financial assistance to veterans who have sustained disabilities or injuries during their military service. Benefits include enhancing access to medical treatment, mental health services, rehabilitation programs, and specialized care for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
The VA also collaborates with medical research institutions to develop innovative therapies and treatments for veterans’ unique healthcare needs.
The specific programs and benefits available may vary depending on the nature and severity of the disability.
DISSIMILARITIES BETWEEN MILITARY INCAPACITY RATINGS AND VA INCAPACITY RATINGS
Military and VA incapacity ratings differ despite both being based on the VA Rating Schedule. Military ratings assess fitness for service and offer compensation if deemed unfit, focusing on the disability’s impact on military duties. VA ratings compensate veterans for service-related disabilities affecting their daily lives. Military ratings are typically final, while VA ratings can change based on periodic reviews, adjusting compensation accordingly. The military provides one-time payments based on rating percentage, while the VA offers ongoing monthly compensation that can be adjusted. Consult the respective agencies for precise and up-to-date information.
AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CONCURRENT RETIREMENT AND DISABILITY PAYMENTS (CRDP)
CRDP enables military retirees to receive both military retired pay and VA compensation. This program, initiated on January 1, 2004, lifted the previous prohibition.
CRDP is a phased benefit restoration that gradually removes the VA disability offset for eligible retirees. It leads to a gradual increase in retired pay each year, with the phase-in completed by January 2014.
No application is required for CRDP; eligible individuals are automatically enrolled.
To qualify for CRDP, eligibility for retired pay is necessary. If you are on disability retirement but would qualify for military retired pay without the disability, you may be eligible for CRDP.
Under these criteria, you may be entitled to CRDP if:
- You are a regular retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
- You are a reserve retiree with at least 20 years of qualifying service, have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, and have reached retirement age. (For most reservists, retirement age is 60, but certain circumstances may allow eligibility before turning 60. Active service in the Ready Reserve can reduce retirement age by three months for every 90 days served in a fiscal year.)
- You are retired under the Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
- You are a disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay through a provision other than disability alone, and you have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher. CRDP eligibility may coincide with the time you would have become eligible for retired pay.
In addition to monthly CRDP payments, you may be eligible for retroactive payment. DFAS will conduct an audit of your account, considering pay information from both DFAS and VA, to determine if a retroactive payment is due.
The retroactive payment you receive can date back to January 1, 2004, but it may be limited based on either your retirement date or the date when your disability rating first reached 50 percent or higher. No CRDP payments are made for any month prior to January 2004.
Individual Unemployability (IU):
If you meet all the aforementioned eligibility requirements and also meet the following criteria, you are eligible for full concurrent receipt of both your VA disability compensation and your retired pay:
- The VA has rated you as unemployable, commonly referred to as Individual Unemployability (IU).
- You are receiving VA disability compensation due to IU.
This provision became effective on October 1, 2008, and the retroactive payment for IU is applicable from January 1, 2005.