Formal PEB vs VA

kano1620

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I went through the Non Duty related informal PEB for lower back/SI joint injury and the decision was not service connected and recommendation for discharge. I worked with the Office of Soldier Counsel (OSC) and put in an appeal due to a pending LOD for mental health issues. The appeal was denied and I was granted a formal PEB on December 19, 2019. I have already received a 50% rating from the VA for my lower bacl/SI joint injury as of two months ago, with the VA claim for mental health being deferred. The OSC told me that my VA rating wouldn't be affected if I go through with the formal PEB and potentially an MEB. However, I received a call this morning from my behavioral health officer (BHO). He told me that if I go through with the formal PEB and potentially an MEB that my VA ratings will be negatively affected. Is it better to just waive the formal PEB, not pursue an MEB, and just wait for my VA rating for the mental health issues? According to VA.gov I will get my decision for the mental health issues this week. My thought for the long term is that I have a chance at a medical retirement but from what the BHO said, if the Army awards me 50% for mental health then my VA rating is reduced by 50% and the Army rating is taxable whereas the VA rating is not, therefore, I would get less overall. I don't want to stay in the National Guard as my lower back/SI joint isn't getting any better and my mental health is deteriorating, but I want to make sure I am doing what is best for me and my family overall. If it means just going with the VA ratings that's fine, but I want to make sure I am making an informed decision.
 

RonG

Super Moderator
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PEB Forum Veteran
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Re: "I will get my decision for the mental health issues this week. My thought for the long term is that I have a chance at a medical retirement but from what the BHO said, if the Army awards me 50% for mental health then my VA rating is reduced by 50% and the Army rating is taxable whereas the VA rating is not, therefore, I would get less overall."

This discusses only the financial aspect of your discussion.

1. With a DoD disability retirement (30% or more DoD) you have TRICARE as do your dependents. That is of significant value.

2. Your retired pay will be reduced dollar for dollar in the amount of your VA compensation.
Example: 3000 retired pay and 2500 VA
3000 - 2500 = 500 residual retired pay paid by DFAS
VA pays: 2500
As stated many times, I have never seen a case where a retiree benefited more by declining VA compensation.

3. Again, the most valuable part of a military retirement for many is the TRICARE. It has saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 28 years. Even if the VA offset causes zero retired pay since the VA is more, one is still entitled to TRICARE, etc.

Ron
 

kano1620

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thank you very much for your reply. TRICARE is definitely a factor to consider. My BHO has been trying to convince me over the past year (while going through the PEB) to just get out because of the MH issues, but I don't think he is considering the long term benefits. Instead he is focusing on the short term.
 

chaplaincharlie

Super Moderator
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PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
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I would not be asking a BHO for financial guidance. Too many people in the military, don't really understand the ins and outs of medical retirement. Additionally, some providers don't want the added paperwork of preparing a NARSUM. Finally, their interest and yours may not be in synch.
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Excellent advice offered by chaplaincharlie.

Ron
 
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