Confused about Receiving both VA Disability & Medical Retirement

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Hello all, thank you for taking the time to read this long posting. I could use your help!

A little summary: I am on orders to Fort Belvoir's WTU right now -- reporting on 30JUL2012.
Joined Army July 2003. One tour to Iraq in 2005-2006, injury was not sustained there.

I have a permanent profile (333111) for multiple issues, with the main issues being chronic neck pain/cervicalgia, C5-C6 radiculopathy and severe numbness/tingling and loss of strength in right hand/arm. ROM has also decreased significantly in my neck/wrist/arm/shoulder as well, and I am also now starting to experience similar symptoms on my left side.

I had ACDF surgery to repair the C5-C6 area in my neck as the nerves were being impinged causing me to lose nearly all functioning/strength and movement of my right arm/hand. I had this surgery on January 19, 2011. The issues with my neck/arm have been going on about 8 months longer than that however.

Also on the profile are many limitations (essentially it is a dead-man's profile), and then also notations such as "no overhead reaching or repetitive bending or lifting anything greater than 10 pounds" (even though anything over 5 pounds with my right side/arm feels like 500 pounds). No prolonged sitting or standing. May walk at own pace/distance as tolerated.

My questions are the following:

I am under the impression that I will be going to the WTU and processing my MEB paperwork that will make its way to the PEB and I'll be deemed unfit for continued military service. I am okay with that. I have been dealing with these injuries for a long while now without any improvement (with some regression--thanks to not having the best physical/occupational therapy available to me in Area 1 of Korea as they sent me here 5 weeks after my neck surgery!)--that's another story!

So, once I complete the combined VA/DOD physical to get my ROM measurements and to document all the minor and major disability claims, I assume I will just be waiting on the letter from the VA stating what disability rating I will receive for one. And then separately I will be awaiting the DOD/Army to come back to me and offer their disability rating (and if it is 30% or greater I will receive medical retirement)....Correct? I get the whole 30-50% is 50% of your high-3 base pay as the medical pension from the Army.

Now if the VA gives me say an 80% rating and that is somewhere around $1700/month...won't I get the $1700 plus the Army's medical retirement pension payment also? So if that is $1500 and the VA is $1700, won't I be getting $3,200/month in disability payments? Please correct me if I am not understanding this correctly.

Also, I wanted to list some things that the VA would rate me on, as some of them I couldn't find the code/%'s for, and was hoping you all could help with that and the math on the VA possible disability rate.

Sleep Apnea (use CPAP) - 50%
Ulnar Nerve Issues (8516) - 50%
Chronic Pain Disorder (9422) - 30%
Neurolgia (8710) - 20%
Chronic Kidney dysfunction (kidney stones 7502) - ?%
Allergic Rhinitis with nasal polyps (6522) - 30%
Dysuria/Nocturia (section 4.115a) - 20%
Cubittal tunnel syndrome right elbow - ?%
ROM shoulder - 10%
ROM wrist - 10%
ROM neck - ?%
High blood pressure - ?%
Irritable Bowel Syndrome - moderate - 10%
Frost bite on toes (7122) -- have numbness, discoloration -- 20%
Chronic PTSD (9411) - 10%
Tinnitus - ?%
Insomnia - ?%

So yes, I know there are a ton of things listed there. And I don't even think I listed the issues with my arm/hand/neck/nerve issues properly there. So I don't know exactly how that all will add up. But I cannot lift anything without a lot of neck pain, can't bend down and pick something up, can't run or jerk my head side-side quickly, and have been told that I should not be driving.

So please help me out and let me know what you all think, and please help me understand the whole getting VA disability money and DOD/Army medical retirement pension money. I am under the impression I would be eligible for both. Now that I am so close to getting out, I need to start doing some financial planning/forecasting so my family (wife and 2 kids under 18) and I can figure out our game plan going forward.


Thank you for reading this long thread.

Regards,
Anthony
 

pittpan2005

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Anthony,
The only way you would receive both VA pay and Military retirement are if you have 20+ years in, eligible for retirement under TERA, or injuries are combat related. You mentioned the injuries not being sustained in a combat zone. It sounds likely you will not be entitled to any type of concurrent receipt. Therefore, you would receive the higher of the two; receive VA or DoD. DFAS will automatically pay you the higher of the two. Keep in mind you need to do a dependency claim with the VA for your family members.

If you are unemployable file for Social Security(SSDI) for both you and your children. This should bring in a large extra chunk of change. Also, you can apply for TDIU through the VA to be compensated at the 100% level even if rated lower.
 

grizz13

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Tinnitus is 10%
Insomnia is 0-10% if rated seperate from PTSD (usually rate with PTSD)
PTSD or any mental health issue as of last I was told is automatic 50% TDRL placement (if found failing by DoD) and 50% VA (which is what I got)

Do not count on everything the VASRD says, they can rate you lower or group things together (like me), but you have a good ballpark of 80-100% and the 80% is a very low-ball

I would suggest you apply with the VR&E program for college and a housing modification grant for your house think it's $5k or $8k I forget...
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thank you for the help guys. Well I guess the statement about the injuries not being sustained in combat was not entirely true. I mean, the PTSD is present due to my time in theater, as I even left my tour a couple of months early due to it. Same goes for the tinnitis, insomnia, and possibly the nasal polyps/allergic rhinitis and sleep apnea. I understand those are not the things that my profile is written for through the Army, but I was not sure if it was relevant to note.

Now you said any mental health issue is 50% TDRL placement; on my profile, my doctor put me down as having "chronic pain syndrome" which is in the same category on the disability chart as PTSD as a mental health issue. Now given that, would I then be eligible for both the pension and VA disability pay?

I don't think I'll need the VR&E program. I am capable to work in an office environment, and have a master's degree. So getting a job isn't my concern, but I am a bit more limited in my scope than I was before. And for the housing modifications, I don't think I'd need anything done besides some very minor things.

So, say that I only end up getting the VA rating and get for example 90%, that would be $2,040 per month (have wife/2 kids)? What then is the benefit of even going through the MEB then? Is it because if I get a medical retirement, my family and I are eligible for health care and other retirement benefits? The way my doctor made it seem it was for that reason and also because I'd be getting a retirement check from the Army as well.
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Also I just read somewhere that in 2014 the rules about collecting both the Army pension and the VA disability are going to change to allow people with injuries not sustained in combat to receive both paychecks. Are you guys tracking this, and then would people like me who got medically discharged around this time be eligible for that change in the policy?

Please advise. Your help has been spectacular to me so far and I cannot thank you enough!
 

nwlivewire

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Also I just read somewhere that in 2014 the rules about collecting both the Army pension and the VA disability are going to change to allow people with injuries not sustained in combat to receive both paychecks. Are you guys tracking this, and then would people like me who got medically discharged around this time be eligible for that change in the policy?

Please advise. Your help has been spectacular to me so far and I cannot thank you enough!

Dear tonynj:

I'm in the same boat you're in - none of my injuries have been designated DoD "combat/combat-related". Not TERA eligible, either.

I do not have 20 years of AD service or 7200 AD points - (one point per AD day x 20 years or, 360 points x 20 - a "year" is based on a 360 day total), so there will be an off-set - period.

You will receive the greater of either one - DoD or VA - or a combo that totals the highest amount.

Remember, VA dollars ar NON-taxable - DoD is taxable in our cases.

EX: Using "pretend numbers"
DoD disability percentage = 3,000 per month (taxable)
VA disability percentage = 2,000 per month (non-taxable)

In this case, you would receive 2,000 per month VA (non-taxable) PLUS 1,000 DoD (before taxes)

2,000 + 1,000 = 3,000 per month - which was the total DoD monthly amount to start with.

If you can get "combat/combat related" for you military pension, that percentage will be tax-free. And you would be eligible to apply for CRSC.

That's how I understand this mess.

***** BTW, I have a 20 year NG retirement letter, but I won't be eligible for CRDP until age 60 as my AD time to other places and Iraq was BEFORE 28 JAN 2008. Currently, none of my career 2 times of presidential (under Clinton) or Federal call-ups (under Bush) for AD mobilization count towards early retirement for CRDP.

There have been attempts by Congress to allow for CRDP changes. However, every year, the changes never make it through to the final NDAA. They get crossed out during the final negotiation phases of the annual NDAA.

***** Be sure to apply for SSDI. SSA has a "Ticket To Work" program - go to ssa.gov website to read more on that program.

***** And there is a new program for hiring and training VETS through the VA, too. Go to va.gov and read up on the NEW programs and financial assistance for these programs that certain VETS may qualify to use. One program in particular is for VETs between age 35-60, who have NO GI Bill eligibility, and, are NOT rated VA unemployable. Check it out! And remember, you do get hiring preference with many government and civilian employers.

***** Also, if you will qualify for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you will not need to use it all, you can re-allot this benefit and give your kids some of it (spouse, too, I think). But I was told you have to submit the transfer of benefits paperwork of GI Bill PRIOR to AD discharge.

V/r,
nwlivewire

Currently receiving DoD PRDL retirement (taxable)
Waiting for VA rating to come through
Currently receiving SSDI
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thanks for the reply nwlivewire. Let me ask you this. What if my VA rating is higher than my DOD rating.

For example, I get $2000 from VA and $1500 from DOD. Will I then get $2,000 (non-taxed) plus the $500 (taxed) from the DOD?
 

pittpan2005

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Every year Congress is petitioned/lobbied to pass new legislation allowing medical retirees(Chapter 61) to collect both. Over the past few years(2008) laws were passed and implemented allowing members with 20+ years active,TERA eligible, or reserve/NG at normal retirement age (60ish) to receive both. CRSC also came into effect. The Bills introduced during 2011/2012(112th Congress) have not made it out of subcommittee. It is unlikely any changes will happen. Maybe someday, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

In 2014 CRDP is completely implemented at the 100% level and the phase in is complete. That is most likely what you are thinking of. You need to focus on applying for CRSC.

The retirement gives you and your family full military retirement benefits including Tricare.

Also, look into SSDI.
 

kwon

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I think in that example you will just get the 2000 since it is the higher amount...
 

grizz13

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
VR&E is not just for college, say you want to go to a vocational class for... woodcutting, car repair, small engine repair, something along that line. They will help you with a local college for voc classes get you the certifications and they can help you start your small business if your into that. Maybe you need help with job placement and transition to a civilian job, they can help with that too!
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thanks Grizz. As I stated above, I have a master's degree, I don't need to learn a craft. I am not having any difficulty finding employment and already have a job lined up for after I transition out of the Army.
 

grizz13

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Oh good! Congrats! I have been passed up on a GS-7 job, because I was stuck in the Madigan hospital fiasco. Pisses me off, was a great job. Have been passed up on 5 other good offer too. But now I can look again since things finally moved forward. :)
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
That's good that things are moving forward for you. I'm sure something will come through for you. I'm definitely getting as far away from the government as possible in my employment. After a decade in the military I'm sick of all the bureaucracy and nonsense!
 

nwlivewire

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
n
Thanks for the reply nwlivewire. Let me ask you this. What if my VA rating is higher than my DOD rating.

For example, I get $2000 from VA and $1500 from DOD. Will I then get $2,000 (non-taxed) plus the $500 (taxed) from the DOD?
No.

You would get whichever is the higher of the two.

It is possible for someone to get a combo of both - like I will whenever the VA finally processes my paperwork. But that combo of monthly dollars has a max of my highest single benefit amount. So at some point, I will be receiving 100% VA dollars and just a small amount of my DoD disability benefit.

Unless you are combat/combat related, or have 20 years AD (7200 points), you will only receive the highest of either one - or a combo of both - not to exceed the single highest benefit amount you are awarded from either the DoD or the VA.
 

tonynj

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thank you all for your replies.

I have another question. I keep reading people's postings on this site and they keep referring to them "signing" their NARSUM's. When is this actually done? My NARSUM was turned in with my entire WTU packet several months ago, and I am just now leaving Korea to go to the WTU at Belvoir (2 weeks from today). Does that mean my NARSUM was "signed"? I never signed it. I read it over with my PA before he submitted my packet for WTU acceptance. Will I get to meet with a doctor again to confirm the NARSUM and add anything that may be necessary to it?

Please advise.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
You don't "sign the NARSUM." In the Army, you sign the DA Form 3947, indicating whether you agree or disagree with the findings of the MEB (and by reference, to the NARSUM, in block 24).
 

MzMoore25

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Good luck..I had a ACDF Jan 31 2012 to my c5-5..got my findings back today..only 10% :(
 

brian.boss

Member
Registered Member
Every year Congress is petitioned/lobbied to pass new legislation allowing medical retirees(Chapter 61) to collect both. Over the past few years(2008) laws were passed and implemented allowing members with 20+ years active,TERA eligible, or reserve/NG at normal retirement age (60ish) to receive both. CRSC also came into effect. The Bills introduced during 2011/2012(112th Congress) have not made it out of subcommittee. It is unlikely any changes will happen. Maybe someday, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

In 2014 CRDP is completely implemented at the 100% level and the phase in is complete. That is most likely what you are thinking of. You need to focus on applying for CRSC.

The retirement gives you and your family full military retirement benefits including Tricare.

Also, look into SSDI.

Dear tonynj:

I'm in the same boat you're in - none of my injuries have been designated DoD "combat/combat-related". Not TERA eligible, either.

I do not have 20 years of AD service or 7200 AD points - (one point per AD day x 20 years or, 360 points x 20 - a "year" is based on a 360 day total), so there will be an off-set - period.

You will receive the greater of either one - DoD or VA - or a combo that totals the highest amount.

Remember, VA dollars ar NON-taxable - DoD is taxable in our cases.

EX: Using "pretend numbers"
DoD disability percentage = 3,000 per month (taxable)
VA disability percentage = 2,000 per month (non-taxable)

In this case, you would receive 2,000 per month VA (non-taxable) PLUS 1,000 DoD (before taxes)

2,000 + 1,000 = 3,000 per month - which was the total DoD monthly amount to start with.

If you can get "combat/combat related" for you military pension, that percentage will be tax-free. And you would be eligible to apply for CRSC.

That's how I understand this mess.

***** BTW, I have a 20 year NG retirement letter, but I won't be eligible for CRDP until age 60 as my AD time to other places and Iraq was BEFORE 28 JAN 2008. Currently, none of my career 2 times of presidential (under Clinton) or Federal call-ups (under Bush) for AD mobilization count towards early retirement for CRDP.

There have been attempts by Congress to allow for CRDP changes. However, every year, the changes never make it through to the final NDAA. They get crossed out during the final negotiation phases of the annual NDAA.

***** Be sure to apply for SSDI. SSA has a "Ticket To Work" program - go to ssa.gov website to read more on that program.

***** And there is a new program for hiring and training VETS through the VA, too. Go to va.gov and read up on the NEW programs and financial assistance for these programs that certain VETS may qualify to use. One program in particular is for VETs between age 35-60, who have NO GI Bill eligibility, and, are NOT rated VA unemployable. Check it out! And remember, you do get hiring preference with many government and civilian employers.

***** Also, if you will qualify for the new Post 9/11 GI Bill, and you will not need to use it all, you can re-allot this benefit and give your kids some of it (spouse, too, I think). But I was told you have to submit the transfer of benefits paperwork of GI Bill PRIOR to AD discharge.

V/r,
nwlivewire

Currently receiving DoD PRDL retirement (taxable)
Waiting for VA rating to come through
Currently receiving SSDI

I have a question concerning the way points are added up.

I have a little over 5000 Active Duty points and a little over 5000 RC points for retirement. Am I correct in assuming that they will be added together and exceed the 7200 mark to receive army disability retirement and va disability with Zero Offset.
 

Travelerusa40

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
I am was medically retired at VA/DoD 100%. I have a 20 year letter and currently in receipt of Retired Pay. I have 25 years Army Reserves and 16.5 Active Federal Service. I was AGR when they medically retired me. Will I be eligible for CRDP? I read the DFAS Web Site and it said at age 60 but I am already receiving Retired Pay? Does age 60 only apply if you are not in receipt of Retired Pay?
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
You will get it at age 60. I answered your other post with same question with some more detail.
 
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