Formal PEB vs VA

kano1620

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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

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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

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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

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Excellent advice offered by chaplaincharlie.

Ron
 

kano1620

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thank you both for your replies. I had the impression that the BHO wasn't totally accurate. I just want to make sure that I am making an informed decision. My formal non duty related PEB has now been changed to a duty related MEB due to getting an updated permanent profile based on my approved LOD for mental health. I just got the paperwork and have until January 20th to decide if I want to request LDES or go with IDES. I just had another VA exam for mental health on Friday December 27th. I'm guessing it will be a few more weeks until a decision is made by the VA, but I wanted to know for the MEB, if I go with IDES, will I have to do my VA exams all over again? I had three VA exams in August 2019 and two VA exams on Dec. 27th. I also got the impression, based on email traffic, that the formal PEB would have still ruled my back injury as non duty related despite having a VA rating for my back injury. When I spoke to the Office of Soldier Counsel, he said I could either put my back injury down on the list for the Army to look at or leave it off because the Army could adjust the rating downward. Since I only have 10 years in the Army National Guard, will I even qualify to get a medical retirement? I heard that it was 12 years or more.
 

RonG

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Reference: "Since I only have 10 years in the Army National Guard, will I even qualify to get a medical retirement? I heard that it was 12 years or more. "

From an Army fact sheet:

Eligibility

Army Reserve Soldiers on active duty are entitled to Disability Retired Pay when all the criteria below are met [including a DoD disability rating of 30% or more]:
  • While serving on active duty for more than 30 days, the Soldier incurred a permanent disability (or permanently aggravated a pre-existing medical condition), which caused them to be deemed unfit for military duty; and
  • The Soldier was entitled to basic pay, or the disability was incurred while the Soldier was on active duty but not entitled to basic pay due to authorized absence to participate in an educational program or for an emergency purpose as determined by the SA;
  • The disability was not the result of intentional misconduct or willful neglect; and
  • The disability was not incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.
If the disability occurred while performing active duty or inactive training, or traveling directly to or from the place where such duty is performed, and was incurred in the line of duty, it is compensable. Additionally:
  • After 23 Sep 1996, an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated while remaining overnight, immediately before the commencement of inactive-duty training, or while remaining overnight between successive periods of inactive duty training, at or in the vicinity of the site of the inactive duty training,
  • While serving on funeral honors duty; while traveling to or from the place at which the Soldier was to so serve; or while remaining overnight at or in the vicinity of that place immediately before so serving.
Soldiers with medical conditions or physical defects that existed prior to service (incurred in civilian status) may be administratively separated without referral into the DoD Disability Evaluation System (DES) if the medical condition is identified prior to, or within, 180 days of the Soldier's initial entry on active duty or inactive duty for training or full-time National Guard duty. The following criteria must be met:
  • The condition was not aggravated while on active duty or otherwise performing military duty;
  • The Entry Physical Standards Board must be convened by the 180th day;
  • The medical condition does not disqualify the Soldier from retention under the provisions of AR 40-501, chapter 3.
Pursuant to 10 USC 1207a, a disability incurred prior to active duty will be treated as if it were incurred while the member was entitled to basic pay, for the purpose of considering whether incurred in the line of duty, as long as the member has at least 8 years of active service and was on active duty for more than 30 days when the fitness determination was made. The provisions of 10 USC 1206a modify application of 1207a to Reserve Component Soldiers called to active duty. If the Reserve Component Soldier is released by the 30th day of active duty due to identification of a pre-existing condition not aggravated within the 30 days, the Soldier will not have met the 30 day active duty requirement. The provisions of 10 USC 1207a do not apply to Reserve Component Soldiers who are referred to the DES after they are released from active duty.

--->LINK to Fact Sheet

Also, see ---> Additional Information

Ron
 
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