What are my options? (Navy Reserve)

bennettj13

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I'm a drilling Navy Reservist. I am currently 80% service connected with 16 good years (17 in September) with almost 5 active. I received my rating a couple years ago and had notated such on my PHA's. Apparently it was glanced over until now. My last PHA was done in March. I received orders to mobilize in July, and notification in June. Due to Covid, my PHA was never finalized until just before the MOB. I was approved to go by NOSC medical, and by another LCDR who worked for the VA and is a reservist who reviewed my PHA. He did warn me that it was to be reviewed by a higher echelon because of my rating. I was later denied from going on the mob with the Echelon IV doc (a captain) at RCC saying that I am to be removed for non-disclosure. I submitted a statement with an electronic copy of my VA record explaining that my issues did not require medication and that I'd been doing my annual trainings without issue to this point. Now, I FEEL like I can fight this non-disclosure part, but what are my real options here? I'm being told I have to do a MRR now. My unit chain of command and the NOSC chain of command both want to support me. I'm a good Sailor with a good record. They both pushed for me to mobilized, and I tried. I WANTED to go. This Capt at RCC was the final word for the mobilization. He was rude on the phone and made this out to be like he was going to attempt to make some kind of an example of me. OK, fine. So I'm not going. But I feel like being pushed out for non-disclosure is BS. I even had another doc say I was good to mob before the final decision was made. I'm not trying to fight the mob decision at this point. That ship has sailed. But now I'm being told I'm going to be put into an S2 status and separated pending the MRR results. Amusingly (sarcasm) this Capt who denied me will "review" any MRR that is submitted in my region, though he does not get any kind of say in how the decision is made. It feels like the deck is stacked against me and he's going to get his wish at least of having me pushed out. So I guess my biggest questions are as follows:

If the MRR decides I'm fit to stay in, does life just continue as it has?

If the MRR decides I am to be separated because I am too broken to serve, am I eligible for some kind of medical retirement?

Can this decrease the amount of disability I receive?

Can I draw some kind of medical retirement on top of my disability or do I have to wait until retirement age?

Thanks for whatever help can be given. It really is appreciated.

JB
 

RonG

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Hello,

I'll offer a few remarks.

Those who receive a DOD rating of 30% or more will receive retired pay. Those who are separated with less than 30% will receive severance pay.

The DoD disability ratings pertain only to those disabilities that make the individual unfit for continued military service. DoD disability ratings are considered permanent.

The VA disability ratings pertain to all service-connected disabilities. VA disability ratings may be temporary or permanent.

Members who do not qualify for another type retirement and are medically retired from the service will have their retired pay pay reduced dollar for dollar in the amount of of their VA compensation. Any residual retired pay is kept by the retiree. In many cases, there is zero residual retired pay. In order to receive VA compensation, one must agree to the waiver/reduction.

Those who qualify for another type retirement (and have a VA rating of 50% or more) such as regular (20 year) or reserve (20 good years & meet age requirement) might qualify for CRDP. DFAS: "[IF] you are a disability retiree who earned entitlement to retired pay under any provision of law other than solely by disability, and you have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater. You might become eligible for CRDP at the time you would have become eligible for retired pay." CRDP restores the longevity portion of retired pay.

CRDP is Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay.

Some retirees with a 10% VA rating or more that is combat related, might be eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC).

In view of the requirement for the retired pay to be reduced by the amount of the VA compensation, the primary benefit of a medical retirement for many is TRICARE eligibility.

Ron
 

bennettj13

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Thanks for responding Ron!

Wow, so there's part of it. So I guess the next part of confusion for me comes from the difference between the two types of disability. My conditions are not likely to get better, but it's just a constant thing due to the nature of them. They are also not combat related, but more environmental. So assuming I'm stuck with these for life, does the VA disability become DOD disability at some point? Is that what this board actually is going to determine? If so, if they decide to pay DOD disability for say... 30% does that leave my VA at 50%? Does the retirement pay then base off that 50% instead of the 80% it was previously? Reserve retirement is far from decent. Much less so if you don't have significant active years.

I honestly don't know if I'm asking the right questions, or what questions I even should be asking. I think at the most basic level I'm curious if I'm looking at the possibility of a retirement check on top of my disability... or losing my disability altogether somehow, or what I'm even looking at. This is uncharted territory for me and I have no one else that I know of that I can ask. I just don't want to get too far down the path, or sign something that might screw me without knowing it.

I'd love to continue to serve... They are making this into far more than they should. But if that's not an option, then I want as much out of it as possible. I've been basically drilling for "free" on top of the countless other hours of time put in unpaid by the reserves. I've now been unemployed for over a month because I was leading the mobilization efforts and working from home. There's no pay that I'm entitled to, and because of the jump back and forth between reserve/active/reserve we lost insurance (which I'm working on). But I'll lose it entirely if they have their way it seems. If they are going to screw me after this many years, then I just want the best possible outcome for me and my family on the flip side of it all. I'm not going to let them grind me up and spit me out with nothing to show for it.

Thanks again,

JB
 

chaplaincharlie

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I suggest you seek free legal assistance.
 

RonG

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Hello,

Item 1: " I think at the most basic level I'm curious if I'm looking at the possibility of a retirement check on top of my disability... or losing my disability altogether somehow, or what I'm even looking at. "
Comment: No, as I explained above your retired pay is reduced by the amount of VA compensation; that is the law. You are not otherwise qualified for concurrent receipt based on your comments.

Item 2: " So I guess the next part of confusion for me comes from the difference between the two types of disability. "
Comment: The DoD disability rating is for only those problems for which you were considered unfit to perform the associated duties. They do not include all service connected disabilities.
The VA rating is for ALL service connected disabilities. Often the VA rating is higher than that of the DoD

VA rating amounts are found in the VA compensation tables. See 2020 Veterans disability compensation rates | Veterans Affairs <==Link

DoD rating amounts are determined by percentage approved times the average high three base pay amount (the highest 36 months of pay divided by 36)
The resulting amount is the retired pay which is then reduced by the amount of VA compensation.

VA compensation is not reduced during the process discussed above.

Recommend following the advice of chaplaincharlie,

Ron
 

RonG

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Hello,

The following is from DFAS:


Understanding the VA Waiver and Retired Pay/CRDP/CRSC Adjustments

Many military retirees who are eligible for DoD retired pay are also eligible for VA disability pay. The laws and regulations that apply when a retiree is eligible for both types of pay are complex and can be confusing.

The law requires that a military retiree waive a portion of their gross DoD retired pay, dollar for dollar, by the amount of their Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation pay; this is known as the VA waiver (or VA offset).

Some retirees who receive VA disability compensation may also receive CRDP or CRSC payments that make up for part or all of the DoD retired pay that they waive to receive VA disability pay. [Note: Based on your comments, it does not appear you are eligible for either of those programs.]

Ron

 

bennettj13

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Thank you very much for the help. Seems my cart was a bit in front of the horse as they say.
 

bennettj13

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Playing the waiting game currently. Trying to get appointments in the middle of a pandemic to supply info for my medical review board. I don't know how it's going to go from there.
 

bennettj13

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So, the saga continues. And who knows if this helps someone some day. It's a convoluted mess at this point. Basically the attempt was made to process me to S2 for non disclosure. I was told repeatedly there was no appeals process. I asked to do an AT to complete processing of my Sailors going on mob. It was granted, and while I was on AT I went ahead and contacted two different JAG offices but was told that because I'm a reservist, they couldn't help me. Basically I wasn't facing a criminal charge, and wasn't far enough into a med board process yet so they couldn't do anything. From there, I found out that I wasn't actually being pushed to an MRR because I was just supposed to be pushed out to S2 on an administrative discharge. I wrote letters to both my state Senators and my Congressman. One of the Senators started an investigation and I was contacted by a Navy Reserve O6 who is a JAG conveniently enough. He's been doing his investigation and got the NOSC (reserve center) to hold off on processing me to S2 until his investigation is completed. Meanwhile I was informed that there IS an appeals process... but it has to be done within 30 days of the initial findings. Of course I was informed after the 30 days, and given 8 days to write my appeal, but told I could still appeal. So I wrote my appeal and submitted it. I've made sure the investigator has everything. From this point its up to his findings I suppose. If not, it defaults to the appeals process.

If the appeal is approved, I have to go through with the MRR that should have happened by now but has been pushed off. We'll see what happens after that.

If my appeal is denied, then that's it as the instruction states the appeal is final.

Meanwhile, at least I'm not kicked out. Chief selection boards are happening now. Who knows, maybe I'll get lucky enough to pick up rank before I get booted.

I'll post again once I find out the results of the appeal/investigation.
 

bennettj13

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Yesterday I was informed the investigator ruled in my favor saying he didn't think I deserved to be kicked out. But its still up to an appeals process through RCC. They aren't forced to follow his recommendation, but who knows how that will play out anyways. Then we continue down the medical road from there... I'll post again when I learn how the next step goes.

I am cataloging this here because I never found anything online about anything like this. Perhaps it will help someone else in the future.
 

bennettj13

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Amusingly enough, I was informed yesterday that because of the congressional investigation that I started they are looking into revising the entire policy surrounding reservists on disability and mobilization readiness. Because of this, they've halted all transfers out of the Navy for folks in the same or similar position (which I'm told there are many in the Gulf region where I am located.) until a policy review can be conducted. Meanwhile, I find out if I pick up E7 on Tuesday. Would be nice to know I was selected for Chief, even if I can't stay. Always been a goal. It seems I'll be waiting on the final ruling from RESFOR for a while. But at least I'm not going anywhere for now.
 
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