do you have to repay seperation?

TxMark

PEB Forum Regular Member
Quick question:

I have heard twice now that you have to repay seperation pay before you can collect VA benefit check? True???
 

xeno

Super Moderator
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PEB Forum Veteran
True, or they with-hold the amount, till it has been recovered.
 

Jason Perry

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The only exception is if your injuries were incurred in a combat zone. Otherwise, yes, they will recoup separation pay prior to your receipt of VA compensation.
 

Sizemore5000

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
R U kidding me?! So the separation pay is just a rouse to get rid of you? They give it to you as "separation pay" then take your VA benefits away to cover it? You would have gotten that money from the VA over the course of time anyway if you had not been deemed medically separated!

What a farce! Is this the DoD or the VA that is screwing folks?
 

Jason Perry

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Sizemore5000,

I think the blame lies with Congress. There are many problems with the disability system at both the DoD and the VA. But the prohibition on dual receipt of compensation is Congresses doing, the DoD and the VA have no say in this rule.

On that note, dual receipt of compensation has been an issue that has been raised over the past few years and there have been efforts to eliminate this prohibition. Bills have been introduced, and in the past few years there have been steps to loosen this restriction (specifically, expansion of Combat Related Special Compensation for those members with less than 20 years, and the bar for recoupment for injuries incurred in a combat-zone). But a complete repeal of this rule has not made it into law.

Everyone should contact their Congressional delegation and tell them you support repeal of the law prohibiting dual compensation.
 

johnredding

PEB Forum Regular Member
One additional item that I founf out but have not had a chance to verify is that the Voc Rehab program first uses your GI Bill up. I have not started the program as of yet however, If it is the case, I don't think that is an added benefit. I mean, they test you, you come to an agreement on a course of voc rehab and then they take a benefit that you paid for away to use it? Sounds like some could come to their own conclusion and just go to school. Maybe I'm missing something, but as it was explained to me that is how it works. Anyone going through voc rehab please chime in and let us know if this is really the case.:mad:
 

carnelli53

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I'm not using voc rehab nor do I plan to use it. However, as far as I understand voc rehab can act as a 'better' benefit in some areas of study. The term 'better' is used loosely here, as it is contingent on each individual person and what they wish to do.

With the Montgomery G.I. Bill, Voc Rehab was definitely better as it had similar benefits to the 'new' G.I. Bill a.k.a the Post 9/11 Servicemember's Relief Act. These benefits were akin to a monthly living stipend, books, calculators, and even pencils (from what I was told).

With the new G.I. Bill versus Voc Rehab, I would estimate that for those already in Voc Rehab (if it is not a irrevocable forfeiture of the G.I. Bill) the best course of action is to stay in Voc Rehab.

The reason being is that the bureaucratic functions in implementing the new G.I. Bill are going to 'lag' far behind the requests for its use by veterans. This is just my humble opinion, but based off what I've experienced with DoD and what I've read about the VA bureaucracy it is going to take some time for VA to 'iron out the wrinkles' in implementing the Post 9/11 Servicemember's Relief act into a functional operation; this is only insofar as VA will process applications and provide the benefits (tuition and living stipends) in a timely and convenient manner.

On the other hand, Voc Rehab has been in place for years. The processes and bureaucratic functions are well understood by those who are in charge of operating the Voc Rehab system. All I am stating is that the same is not true of the new G.I. Bill - and I don't think it will be for sometime.

I plan on returning to complete my graduate level education with the new G.I. Bill. In all honesty, I have no intentions of even attempting to return to school until 2010 just having the gut feeling it's going to be a major pain in the arse trying to deal with the VA playing catch up on this thing. I'd rather have the peace of mind knowing all my tuition payments will arrive on time and also knowing I will be receiving the monthly stipend when I am supposed to receive it.

Just my thoughts. To answer your question Voc Rehab does take up the GI Bill, according to a VA rep where I am currently stationed. You also need at least a 20 percent rating to utilize voc rehab. The choice is left up to the veteran, personally, I think there are more options available Voc Rehab. But if one is just planning on attending college/grad school the GI Bill is the way to go.
 

AFPEBLO

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I know this thread has kind of moved in a different direciton but I wanted to provide some info I found re concurrent receit.

What a farce! Is this the DoD or the VA that is screwing folks?
This has actually been on the books for over one hundred years and it is not targeted specifically towards people discharged by the DES, the same law applies to length of service retirements and all other forms of severance pay. There are dozens of sites that explain what concurrent receipt is, but the only thing I can find that explains the thought process behind it is this GAO testimony on the subject. A scary part to me is the GAO appears to find reasons supporting the law.

In 1891, Congress passed legislation to prohibit what it regarded to be dual compensation for either past or current service and a disability pension.” March 2003 GAO Testimony to Congress regarding concurrent receipt (GAO-03-575T) http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-03-575T
I think the blame lies with Congress. There are many problems with the disability system at both the DoD and the VA. But the prohibition on dual receipt of compensation is Congresses doing, the DoD and the VA have no say in this rule.

On that note, dual receipt of compensation has been an issue that has been raised over the past few years and there have been efforts to eliminate this prohibition. Bills have been introduced, and in the past few years there have been steps to loosen this restriction (specifically, expansion of Combat Related Special Compensation for those members with less than 20 years, and the bar for recoupment for injuries incurred in a combat-zone). But a complete repeal of this rule has not made it into law.

Everyone should contact their Congressional delegation and tell them you support repeal of the law prohibiting dual compensation.
I know of two different bills that address the subject. S546, sponsored by Nevada Senator Harry Reid, and HR593.IH, sponsored by Washington Representative Adam Smith. You can look either of them up at www.congress.gov or www.thomas.loc.gov

Both bills are currently in subcommittee, which depending on how you look at it means they are either in progress or purgatory. If you have congressmen from your state on either subcommittee it would be good to target your input to them (they have the power to move them on vs. other members who only have influence if a bill reaches the floor for a vote). This is also where it’s beneficial to belong to various veteran organizations that lobby members of congress on behalf of their members. (Ref CSM’s post last week http://www.pebforum.com/site-technical-issues/11919-military-leaders-social-networking.html)

I'm not looking to make a political statement with this part, but I was disappointed when I heard it. A month or two ago (don’t remember exactly when) I recall Sen. Reid being asked about his bill during an NPR interview (yes, I’m a nerd that listens to public radio). He is the primary sponsor of the bill, which certainly means something, but to me he sounded completely disconnected from it when asked. If I recall correctly the interview was about his priorities as the leader of the Senate, and the bill only came up after the interviewer asked about issues impacting veterans (vs. him bringing it up as the bill’s sponsor). In his defense, perhaps he just was not expecting to discuss the topic at that time (I think the stimulus bill was the big news at that time). The point that I’m trying to make is congress is a very fickle place and their focus tends to be on the flavor of the minute so any issue that isn't getting attention will falls down the priority list.

I don’t mean to insult anyone’s intelligence with this (and it is silly), but after searching various bills I now have this song stuck in my head and I can’t get it out (it also still does a good job on how a bill becomes a law). http://www.schoolhouserock.tv/Bill.html
 

5yr Air Force Engineer

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Without having to go through several laws and sites (this is one of those things I would like to do, but havn't become politically active enough yet), which subcomitees are looking at these bills?

Thanks!
 

AFPEBLO

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
House: Subcommittee on Military Personnel

Senate: Committee on Armed Services

I made a typo in the post, the Senate Bill is S546
 

Sizemore5000

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
This is absolute horseshiz! There is no benefit at all for any of us being boarded!

If I were to separate from the service regularly (at the end of my term) I would receive VA Disability Benefits and the MGI Bill.

Because I am being separated due to the MEB, I will receive either a "severance" or "disability retirement", but I lose my VA Disability Benefits and the MGI Bill (THAT I PAID $1800 FOR!) in an equal amount to what is given by the military.

In the end, the people that separate due to disability & MEB get the same as they would anyway!


The DES says all this BS about benefits/severance/retirement they give to compensate for skrewing you over, but its all lies! The DES just skrews you, there is no appreciable compensation! :mad:


I was angry when I learned about the disability retirement that you have to pay back out of your benefits.

I was really pissed when I learned about the so called "severance" that you have to pay back out of your benefits.

Now I'm f*kin furious when I found out that the Vocational Rehabilitation enables the VA to break the contract with me that I paid $1800 for! I won't even be able to hand it off to my spouse or kids!

In the end, we get the same compensations we would have gotten anyway, just the DoD gets to break our enlistment contracts early. :eek:


This is garbage! Jason, man, you are a lawyer-- isn't there some way to challenge the legality of this or at least cause a big enough stink to get something going?

I mean, Obama's the POTUS now, pushing some real support for our disabled veterans has to be something his administration would be down with. He's been soapboxing for money to everyone else: why should broken vets be at the bottom of the list? We are the ones dying for our country, or in our cases here, getting FUBAR'd for it!

I don't know, it just seems that with the wars we are in, the possibility of more conflict (N.Korea/Russia/[fill in the blank]), and the acknowlegement this administration has given to the soldiers lost and jacked up that we disabled vets could get a little attention.:(







Sorry to rant so much, but you guys are the only ones I have been able to spill it to. I've been bottled up for a year and a half in the DES without knowing anyone else dealing with it- thank God my wife found this forum and you guys.:eek:
 

carnelli53

Moderator
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Sizemore500,

While this thread is moving a little off topic, I feel as though there may be a misunderstanding here and I wanted to clarify a few things.

This is absolute horseshiz! There is no benefit at all for any of us being boarded!
I do not intend to be adversarial, but I disagree wholly with your argument. Unless of course, you are over 20 years or very close to 20 years, then I can understand your argument.

But otherwise, the benefits of being medically retired (over 30%) are, in my humble opinion, absolutely invaluable. The main benefit obviously being the medical coverage for you and your family, this benefit can equal up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. This of course is also beneficial by virtue of why you receive it, a medical disability. Whatever condition you incurred or aggravated in the service is now the financial responsibility of Uncle Sam.

Being separated with severance (under 30%) is another story. The lump sum payment will disappear in a relative (to retirement) blink of an eye. However, this can be offset by a decent VA rating. I agree with the injustice that exist insofar as the VA recoups your severance payment, however, hopefully this will be rectified by the legislature sometime in the near future.

In regard to educational benefits, being medically separated or retired with a service-connection equals the same result (so long as you served 30 continuous active days of service since 9/10/2001) - the Post 9/11 Servicemember's Relief Act. The Post 9/11 Relief Act a.k.a. the 'new' G.I. Bill, well, let's just say it kicks the horseshiz out of the old Montgomery G.I. Bill. Head to the Federal VA website U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for more info on that if you are unaware of it.

In regard to Voc Rehab - you are not forced nor coerced into Voc Rehab, the paperwork you initially file is to determine eligibility (with a 20% or greater rating) and does not legally bind you to go either way (GI Bill or Voc Rehab). If you were going to use the GI Bill or Voc Rehab, you wouldn't be able to hand it off to your children anyway (by virtue of you using it up). The only way for you to safe-keep either benefit for one of your children is to not utilize either benefit. Keep in mind the G.I. Bill now has a 15 year window of eligibility, so use it or lose it!

There is also many other benefits to being medically retired or separated. One that I just read up on was the VA Home Loan, with a disability percentage over 10% several fees are waived (that amount to a few thousand dollars).

It is simply my contention that being medically retired or separated is usually in the best interest of the servicemember and the Armed Forces. While there are some 'flaws' in the system, such as severance pay recoupment, I recognize that any bureaucracy is fundamentally flawed, and all we can hope for as Veterans is for the right people to implement more pragmatic functions based on the circumstances at hand.
 

Sizemore5000

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
First off, carnelli53, you didn't come off adversarially, but thank you for your candor. We are all entitled to our opinions, and to be honest, I'd rather hear from someone with a conflicting view (no point in listening only to my own over and over).

On to the issues...

1. Agreed, personal/family Tricare eligibility is an invaluable benefit to being retired. It's probably the only one that actually makes a difference. However, a VA rating (a military rating isn't needed) makes veterans eligible to be seen at a VA hospital for the rated maladies.

2. Agreed, "severance" being recouped by the VA is crap. Furthermore, I think it being called "severance" is an intentional misrepresentation - if you have to pay it back it's not really much of a severance, now is it?

3. Medically separated or retired doesn't affect the Post 9/11 GI Bill - servicemembers honorably separating after a term of enlistment get it just the same as boarded folks. You are right, though: it is a far better program than the MGIB.

4. Regarding Voc Rehab, I simply meant to echo johnredding's post-
"...I don't think that is an added benefit. I mean, they test you, you come to an agreement on a course of voc rehab and then they take a benefit that you paid for away to use it? Sounds like some could come to their own conclusion and just go to school."
For example: I have a degree in my vocation and have not begun the "GI Bill clock". I intend to allow my spouse/kids to use it per the laws governing that. However, my PEB findings say that my disability prohibits me from performing in my vocation. As such, the Voc Rehab program is designed to train me into a new vocation to compensate for this loss. Why should the funding for this "benefit" come from my GI Bill? I could retrain myself into a new vocation anyway using that funding- so where is the "rehabilitation" benefit?

5. VA Home Loans may have some increased benefits for disability ratings of >10%, but the military's disability rating/seperation/severance/ retirement has no effect on the VA's rating (cases initiated prior to the recent DES changes). A servicemember that seperates normally (non-DES) still is evaluated for a disability rating by the VA, and if found >10% will be eligible for the Loan benefits just the same as a boarded servicemember.



Looking over these these things, I still struggle to see (other than Tricare eligibility) anything that actually compensates a boarded servicemember. That is, anyone separating normally (& honorably) and will get a VA disability eval & rating (even if its 0%) and depending on that rating can receive the same benefits as someone forced out of the military through a PEB.

I still see it as the PEB'd folks don't get anything greater than what they would have gotten anyway (with the exception of the possibility of Tricare eligibility). It seems like the PEB just tells a bunch of lies then kicks the stool out from under us.

Just my piece, and thank you again for yours!
 

carnelli53

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Registered Member
Sizemore,

I'm glad I did not come off as if I were typing my words with a grimace.

I'd rather hear from someone with a conflicting view (no point in listening only to my own over and over).
You make a good point here. I guess the benefits scenario depends on the person. For me, I'm making out pretty well. I have less than 4 years of service and entered the Army under the Student Loan Repayment Program, which otherwise effectively nulls and voids the old GI Bill. Now with a service connected disability with a rating over 30% I'm staring at all kinds of benefits I would have not otherwise received if I just ETS'd with no issues.

So from my perspective of someone with relatively little time in service, no spouse or children, I'm very happy with what I'm getting. Although I can see your argument that in some cases (many cases most likely) the benefits do not alter what would have occurred anyway.
 

SGT

PEB Forum Regular Member
I have been undergoing medical treatment for the past two years and a half years for my injuries in Iraq. And I have had several MEBs started that had to be stopped due to the need for further surgeries the whole max med. benifit thing. In reply to the severance pay if you read the law and sit down and figure it all out what it comes down to is this if you have a service connected disability under 30% you get a severance check. This amount is deducted in proportion to what you get from the VA. For example if you were rated by the military for your knee at 10% and that was all they paid you for then the VA would lower your VA check by 10% for your knee untill the severance is paid back. That means that if the VA rates you 70% disabled you would get that payment minus the 10% for you knee. Now if there is a casual relation to "combat" then you do not have to pay back the severance pay. The same is true for retirement. This is the same as if you pulled 20 years and retired regular for the military you would recieve a retirment check in the full amount minus the amount of diability pay that you have. Now that law has changed also and if you do 20 and out you can get both.
Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)
This is the link to explain combat-related special compensation. Read all the information on this topic it can get very confussing.

The Post 9/11 GI Bill the jury is still out on that one for me. I like many people paid our money for the dang darn thing and now everyone gets it. Hey I think it is a good idea, but I do not see why the voc rehab should come out of my GI Bill. However, there is one thing that the voc rehab does that the GI Bill does not do. This is that if you retrain in to a profession that requires certian tools of the trade, and you find a job that requires that you own these tools I know that with the Voc rehab program they will purchase the "tool" for you. There is a $ value cap, but the GI Bill has no room for that.

For a boarded SM that recieves a rating at 30% or higher the benifit is tricare from my understanding there is a cost but it is less for a year than most people pay for a mounth. And base access just as if they had retired and they did not have to put in the full time. And if they get the CRSC pay then they get the two checks and many will qualify for this in todays times, and if the injuries link directly to a zone that was tax free then the pay for those injuries are tax free.

Hope I did not come off pig headed and rude I just have a ton of information having been tied up in this for two and a half years now. And let me tell you that the MEB process has changed drasticly in the past 2 years.
 

Sizemore5000

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Week of June 01, 2009

Recoupment of military retirees' Variable Separation Incentive, Special Separation Benefit, and separation payments by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has been temporarily suspended pending a formal policy and legal review by the Department of Defense (DoD). The suspension of recoupment actions is being taken for military retirees in an active pay status effective for the May 2009 retired pay entitlements. Letters to military retirees in a SSB, VSI and Separation Payment recoupment status will soon be mailed advising them of the suspension of recoupment payments. A sample of the letter is available here.


Source:
Military Report - Retiree Separation Recoupment Suspended


If this goes well, maybe disability retirement will be next?
 

VAJumper

Moderator
PEB Forum Veteran
Week of June 01, 2009

Recoupment of military retirees' Variable Separation Incentive, Special Separation Benefit, and separation payments by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) has been temporarily suspended pending a formal policy and legal review by the Department of Defense (DoD). The suspension of recoupment actions is being taken for military retirees in an active pay status effective for the May 2009 retired pay entitlements. Letters to military retirees in a SSB, VSI and Separation Payment recoupment status will soon be mailed advising them of the suspension of recoupment payments. A sample of the letter is available here.


Source:
Military Report - Retiree Separation Recoupment Suspended


If this goes well, maybe disability retirement will be next?
If this sticks, it is a huge relief. In my case, I received the VSI in 1992. I expect to be medically retired this fall. Retirement SHOULD bring me 50 percent of active duty pay, but if I had to repay the VSI, it would be 25 percent for the next six years. Try to live off that being disabled and unable to work.
 
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