Navy Med retired me for a fibromyalgia - but according to my paperwork - it's only "10% disabling"...VA has me at 100%. Criminal?

reddsonja1

Registered Member
So - I was medivac'd from CENTCOM in 2016 for a laundry list of ailments and I spent 2 years going through a super painful LIMDU process, then PEB. In the end I had 10 referred diagnoses - that are really just descriptions of my symptoms - PTSD, Depression, TBI, Migraines, IBS and fibromyalgia so they can label them with a number. After 21 years total and 7 years attached to the SEAL teams, I'm exhibiting all of the signs of something called "Gulf War Syndrome" - this mystical thing that thousands of us have "for no apparent reason". It starts turning up about 10 years after combat operations in the Middle East - 2006 was my first deployment there. So in 2016 I went from perfectly healthy to barely being able to walk and carry on an intelligent conversation in less than a year and no one wants to tell me why.

In the end, the doctors just gave it a seaman salute and said they couldn't fix me - so the Navy kicked me out. At my formal board the lawyer said the board decided they "would only use the fibromyalgia to determine the UNFIT so they could move me immediately to PDRL because they felt sorry for the process I had been through - but it doesn't matter because you're past 20. If we use your other conditions, it will only put you on TDRL and you will have to go through this all over again in 2 years". He said it was a good deal, and it would allow me to "get on with my life" (whatever that means). I thought they were doing what was best for me - but I didn't understand the ramifications until now... The board had my VA disability numbers in front of them - so they had to know what they were about to do to me. I don't understand how this is legal. The VA had me at 100% - PTSD, Depression, TBI, Migraines are the top percentages - fibromyalgia is only 10% because the VA cannot double dip conditions. Everything together put me well over 200% so they just call it 100. Now - supposedly, because they have to consider the history of actual injuries to all of my various limbs in their own right so they can be covered as service connected injury for any complications later, the fibro cannot move up from 10% to the next category of 70%....even though I exhibit all of those symptoms as written for the top category.

Here is where I feel like I got robbed - when I just recently got my final paperwork from DFAS and the VA - I saw the actual numbers between the VA Disability % to the Navy% - VA had me at 100% (well over that for each condition separately) and Navy only listed 10% for Fibromyalgia because the Navy automatically awards whatever the VA determines. Fun fact - they HAVE to use whatever the VA says.

So it was recently explained to me that if the Navy had counted me as the full 100% disabled to match the VA - or least the 70-80% using my top 5 conditions that make it impossible to leave my house - that would give me over 70% of my base pay as my disability pay $3665 by my calculation. Instead, I'm getting 52% of my high 3 pay at $2650 - my traditional pension for 21 years..... That's $1000 a month for the rest of my life that they jipped me out of. And I have to pay tax on it because it's "retirement" instead of "disability". So my TBI will never go away...and neither will the PTSD, depression and all of the other symptoms directly related to it. The Navy literally broke me a full 10 years before I would have originally retired...I am now a shadow of who I used to be. I was on the fast track to Master Chief and fully intended to be a lifer since day one. And now I am NOT even an "able bodied" veteran that can run out and get a new job. I will have to depend on this money for the rest of my life. How can they justify the decision they made? Is there anyway to fight this? I was told I can't fight it... If my brain worked half as well as it used to - I would go to law school and learn how to sue the government for their BS. There has to be something...

After reading many entries on here, it seems like they should have used the 100% designation, even if they had to put me on "TDRL"...because at some point I would have been moved to PDRL no matter what. So basically they just save the Navy $12,000 for the rest of my probably short life.
 

reddsonja1

Registered Member
PS - I have this letter from the Navy outlining everything they are "awarding me" - that is basically what I earned because I served 21 years - they are really giving me no disability benefit except for the part where I was medically retired, which freezes my tricare from gong opt. But if I want to challenge the finding of 10% I have to respond in the next 30 days.... 30 days. It took them 2 years to put my case together - and I have 30 days to figure out how to argue for my own benefit and my brain now only runs on 3/6 cylinders anymore. ugh.
 

gsfowler

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
So it was recently explained to me that if the Navy had counted me as the full 100% disabled to match the VA - or least the 70-80% using my top 5 conditions that make it impossible to leave my house - that would give me over 70% of my base pay as my disability pay $3665 by my calculation. Instead, I'm getting 52% of my high 3 pay at $2650 - my traditional pension for 21 years..... That's $1000 a month for the rest of my life that they jipped me out of. And I have to pay tax on it because it's "retirement" instead of "disability". So my TBI will never go away...and neither will the PTSD, depression and all of the other symptoms directly related to it. The Navy literally broke me a full 10 years before I would have originally retired...I am now a shadow of who I used to be. I was on the fast track to Master Chief and fully intended to be a lifer since day one. And now I am NOT even an "able bodied" veteran that can run out and get a new job. I will have to depend on this money for the rest of my life. How can they justify the decision they made? Is there anyway to fight this? I was told I can't fight it... If my brain worked half as well as it used to - I would go to law school and learn how to sue the government for their BS. There has to be something...

After reading many entries on here, it seems like they should have used the 100% designation, even if they had to put me on "TDRL"...because at some point I would have been moved to PDRL no matter what. So basically they just save the Navy $12,000 for the rest of my probably short life.
Thank you for sharing your story...

BLUF, you will not be paid your medical retirement numbers and VA C&P at the same time (concurrently). The VA C&P award would offset your medial retirement.

Therefore you would not receive your calculation of 70-80% ($3665 by your calculation) and your VA C&P at 100% (which is about $3200 typically depending on how many dependents you have).

Now, the 52% you get based upon your years in service is yours forever, therefore that is why you get the $2650 each month and the VA C&P at about $3200.

There is a program called CRSC which would allow you to recoup some of the medical retirement that you would have lost due to the VA offset if it were more advantageous to you, but I am pretty confident that it would not.

I made this post as straight forward and not sugar coated, if you have any questions, please fee free to reply and we can work those out too.
 

RonG

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Excellent explanation by gsfowler.

The following (re: $2650) appears to be CRDP: "Now, the 52% you get based upon your years in service is yours forever, therefore that is why you get the $2650 each month and the VA C&P at about $3200. " https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/crdp.html

Concurrent Retired & Disability Pay (CRDP) cannot exceed the dollar amount of the longevity portion of retired pay.

The waived portion of retired pay that is DoD disability pay cannot be restored via CRDP nor replaced by CRSC. Both are limited to the amount of the longevity portion of retired ay and there are other limitations.

Ron
 

chaplaincharlie

Staff Member
PEB Forum Lifetime Supporter
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
@reddsonja1

Another approach to your situation is to get an attorney. Fairly frequently PEB's choose one diagnosis when they should have chosen multiple diagnoses.

I encourage you to look through the guidance for the USN, found in the resources section of this website. Compare your diagnoses against the USN's retention standards. If the PEB failed to follow guidance then you may be able to get your DoD percentage changed. At that point an attorney would be a great idea, though some attempt to go it alone.


Abraham Lincoln Had It Right - “He who represents himself has a fool for a client”

Another thing that comes into play is that income is capped based on YOS somehow. @RonG can explain the number. So in some cases an increase from DoD matter not. You would want to know you have something to gain before going down the long road of the BCMR or Federal Court.
 

RonG

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Your CRDP appears to at maximum level.

IF your DOD was increased to a higher percentage, that could result in residual retired pay; however, the residual retired pay would reduce the CRDP. The CRDP + residual retired pay cannot exceed $2650 per current law. (Assuming 2650 is the longevity portion of your retirement amount.)

Ron
 
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