Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
Receiving Money From Both the DoD and the VA
Technically, military retirees can only receive monetary Military Disability Benefits from either the DoD or the VA, not both. So if a veteran receives money for VA Disability, that amount is subtracted from any money he receives from the DoD, whether for medical retirement or regular retirement.
The basic gist is, if the DoD pays $500 a month and then the VA begins paying $500 a month, then the DoD would stop payments, and the veteran would only receive the $500 a month from the VA and nothing from the DoD (500 – 500 = 0). Likewise, if the DoD pays $500 a month and then the VA begins paying $300 a month, then the DoD would reduce their payments to $200 (500 – 300 = 200). The veteran would still only receive the total of $500 a month, but $300 would come from the VA and $200 from the DoD.
While this may not seem logical, there is a definite benefit to this system: Any money received from the VA is not taxable, while most DoD money is taxable. Taxable is being replaced by non-taxable.
There have, however, been two laws passed recently that allow for exceptions to this. The first is Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC), and the second is Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP).
CRSC was passed by Congress in December, 2002.
CRSC gives Disabled Veterans that qualify the opportunity to receive some, if not all, of their DoD retirement money that was subtracted by VA disability money. To qualify for CRSC, you must:
– be officially “retired” from the military. This includes a 20-year retirement, a medical retirement (a disability rating of 30% or higher), retirements based on the Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA), and Temporary Disabled Retirement List (TDRL) retirees.
– have a 10% or higher VA Disability Rating
– have your DoD payments reduced by your VA payments
– submit an application for CRSC
– provide documentary evidence that your injury was incurred in combat (qualifies for a Purple Heart) or in combat-related activities, like war simulation training (practice alerts, war games, live fire weapons practice, hand-to-hand combat training, etc.), hazardous duty (flying, parachuting, demolition duty, etc.), or caused by an instrumentality of war (a vehicle or device used in war, like Agent Orange or weapons).
For a condition to qualify for CRSC, it does not have to qualify for DoD Disability, but it does have to qualify for VA Disability. This may seem a little backwards since the DoD is the one that gives CRSC, but remember that the DoD amount was decreased by the conditions rated by the VA, so as long as the VA rates it, the DoD shouldn’t decrease their amount because of that condition.
If you have a condition that might qualify for CRSC but you are not receiving VA Disability for it, you may be able to get it added by the VA. Either submit a new VA Disability Claim for it, or, if you have already done that, but it was denied, you can appeal the VA’s decision.
Good news: CRSC payment is retroactive, so if you have qualified since 2008, but just now apply, then you may be able to receive all the money you should have received every year since then. The farthest back retroactive payments will go is June 1, 2003, but there is a 6-year limit from the first date the VA awarded compensation for each of the conditions that qualify for CRSC. If the veteran served less than 20 years in the military, then the farthest back retroactive payments will go is January 1, 2008.
Applying for CRSC
CRSC in not automatic. In order to receive CRSC, you must apply. You can submit an application for CRSC if you have never submitted one before. If you have already applied, but then the VA added a new condition to your VA Disability that also qualifies, you can submit a new application for that condition.
It is vital that you submit the proper information along with your CRSC application. Make sure to include a copy of all medical records with proof of the seriousness of the medical conditions that are eligible for CRSC. Also include copies of Purple Heart citations or other documents that prove the conditions were caused by combat or combat-related activities, retirement information (retirement orders and Retirement Form DD-214), and your VA rating decision. If you are a reservist, also include a copy of your 20-year letter or statement of service. These documents are all necessary to ensuring that you receive the proper CRSC.
CRSC is given by the DoD, so you have to submit DD Form 2860 to your military branch. Complete instructions are found on the application form. The form must be mailed to the appropriate military branch’s address noted on the form.
Appealing the CRSC Decision
If you have already applied for CRSC, but disagree with the CRSC decision, you can request a reconsideration of the decision.
– For the Army, submit CRSC Form 12e.
– For the Navy and Marines, submit NCPB Form 1850-7.
– For the Air Force—they always have to be different—you have to call them to get application instructions: 1-800-525-0102.
Make sure to include all supporting information in your application, including a letter explaining your situation and why you believe the decision should be changed, copies of all previous correspondence regarding your CRSC case, copies of VA rating decisions, and copies of any new evidence that is relevant to your case. Addresses and further instructions can be found on the forms.
Once the reconsideration is completed, if you still disagree with the decision, you can submit an appeal using DD Form 149. Submission instructions for each branch can be found on the form.