Concurrent Receipt Rules – Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)

Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP), also known as Concurrent Receipt, allows military retirees to receive both a full military retirement pension and full VA Disability compensation benefits, provided they meet eligibility requirements (listed below).

concurrent receipt military retirement pay

Are you eligible for Concurrent Receipt?

The CRDP program, which began on January 1, 2004, replaces the VA disability offset, which was previously required by law (and still is for some retirees). There is a 10 year phase in period in which military retirement pay was increased 10% each year until the recipient began receiving full military retirement pay (there was no phase-in period for retirees with a VA disability rating of 100%). The phase-in period lasted until January 2014.

Concurrent Receipt Replaces the VA Disability Offset

The VA disability offset requires military members to waive part of their military retirement pay in order to receive VA disability compensation benefits. Retirees are required to waive retirement pay up to the amount of VA Disability compensation they received (for retirees who have a VA disability rating of 40% or lower). The exception is retirees who have a VA disability rating of 50% or higher, in which case they are eligible for Concurrent Receipt, in which they can receive full military retirement pay and full VA disability pay. Retirees can elect not to waive military retirement pay and forgo receiving VA disability pay. However, waiving military retirement pay makes sense because the VA disability benefit is a non-taxable benefit, and military pensions are taxable income. Receiving VA disability pay will help retirees receive a larger net income.

Concurrent Receipt Eligibility

Military retirees qualify for concurrent receipt under the following conditions:

  • You are a regular military retiree with a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • You are a retiree of the Guard or Reserves with 20 or more Good Years, have a 50% VA disability rating, and have met retirement age (60 in most cases, but some Reservists are eligible for early retirement).
  • You are retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) and have a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.
  • You are medically retired under Chapter 61 with 20 years or more and a 50% or greater VA disability rating.
  • 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.

The Disability rating of 50% or greater is the primary qualifier for retirees. If you have a disability rating that is lower than 50%, then you will not qualify for the Concurrent Receipt benefit. However, there are other programs which you may qualify for, including the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program, which also replaces the VA disability offset program. The primary requirement for the CRSC program is having a 10% or higher combat related disability. Examples of qualifying disabilities for the CRSC program include training that simulates war, hazardous duty, armed conflict, and instrumentality of war (weapons, combat vehicles, Agent Orange, etc.).





Individual Unemployability & Concurrent Receipt

You are eligible for full concurrent receipt of both your VA disability compensation and your retired pay if you are a military retiree who meets all of the above eligibility requirements in addition to both of the following:

  •     You are rated by the VA as unemployable, generally referred to as Individual Unemployability (IU)
  •     You are in receipt of VA disability compensation as a result of IU

This is effective October 1, 2008 and is retroactive to January 1, 2005.

Applying for Concurrent Receipt

In most cases, you do not need to apply for Concurrent Receipt. It should be automatically applied to your paychecks. However, there may be times when your situation changes and the system doesn’t automatically take this into account. In most cases, you will be eligible for retroactive back pay. Determining back pay will require an audit from DFAS and the VA. DFAS states they will pay any retroactive benefits within 30-60 days of receipt of you’re your first CRDP monthly payment. If their audit determines you should be eligible for a retroactive payment for the VA then they will forward the results  of their audit to the VA, which is responsible for making the VA disability benefits payment.

Retroactive pay limitations: Your retroactive pay can only go back to January 1, 2004, which is the first day concurrent receipt was available. However, DFAS will only go back to the day you first received a 50% disability rating. If your 50% disability rating was made retroactive, then your eligibility will extend to that date, provided it isn’t before January 1, 2004.

Example: The VA has begun extensive reviews of disability benefits ratings for military personnel from the Vietnam Era. Many veterans have begun receiving retroactive disability benefits for Agent Orange exposure and related illnesses, and PTSD. If you are a military retiree who received retroactive disability compensation, then you may be eligible for retroactive back pay for the Concurrent Receipt program.

Other examples of retroactive pay would be someone who retired and began receiving VA disability compensation some months later, after their disability compensation package was approved. In many cases, this can take some months.

Value of Concurrent Receipt Pay

Under the VA disability offset program, you must waive a portion of your retirement pay if you wish to receive VA disability compensation. This is usually a smart move, because VA disability compensation is considered non-taxable income, whereas military retirement pay is taxable income. You are required to make this decision if you are a retiree with a VA disability compensation rating of 40% or less.




Those who qualify for concurrent receipt are eligible to receive both benefits in full. The value of this is enormous.

Simplified example: Let’s make a simple example of a retired  E-7 with 20 years service. The base pay for an E-7, according to the 2014 pay scale, would be $4,372. At 50%, the retirement pay would be $2,186. The following chart shows how valuable this benefit is (assuming the retiree elects to waive a portion of his or her retirement pay in order to receive the VA disability pay, which is tax exempt):

  • 0% disability: Base pay = $2,186
  • 10% Disability: $2,055 Base Pay, $131 VA Disability Pay; $2,186 Total
  • 20% Disability: $1,927 Base Pay, $259 VA Disability Pay; $2,186 Total
  • 30% Disability: $1,785 Base Pay, $401 VA Disability Pay; $2,186 Total
  • 40% Disability: $1,610 Base Pay, $576 VA Disability Pay; $2,186 Total
  • 50% Disability: $2,186 + $822 = $3,008
  • 60% Disability: $2,186 + $1,041 = $3,227
  • 70% Disability: $2,186 + $1,302 = $3,488
  • 80% Disability: $2,186 + $1,526 = $3,712
  • 90% Disability: $2,186 + $1,714 = $3,900
  • 100% Disability: $2,186 + $2,858 = $5,044

Notes about these assumptions:

  • All military retirement benefits are considered taxable income (some states may not tax retirement benefits or other income, but the federal government does).
  • All VA Disability Compensation Benefits are non-taxable income at all levels
  • The disability benefits are for a retiree with no dependents. The Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay benefit is worth much more when the retiree has dependents.

Takeaway: having a VA disability rating is valuable for your retirement. A disability rating of 40% or less will off set taxable income with non-taxable income, which will result in a large tax savings. A VA disability rating of 50% or larger is worth considerably more over the long run. You can run a similar scenario with your own situation to get an idea of what concurrent receipt would be worth for your specific situation, based on your retirement pay, years of service, and VA disability rating.

The Future of Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay

There has been talk of extending the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay benefit to all military retirees with a VA Disability compensation rating of 10% or higher. Unfortunately, the recent budget problems have shelved those talks, and it doesn’t look like that will happen any time soon. In fact, there has been discussion of doing away with the benefit.

As we have seen in recent months, military retirement pay and other military and veterans benefits are under fire. Congress even went so far as to reduce military retirement benefits for some retirees, then later backtrack and restore those same benefits. Concurrent Receipt has been targeted as an area for cutting fixed expenses for retirees. Concurrent Receipt is a relatively new law, having first been approved in mid-2003, and implemented beginning in January, 2004. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see this law come under more pressure in the near future. That said, Concurrent Receipt made it through the most recent round of benefits cuts. So let’s hope Congress leaves this benefit alone.

Where to go for additional information: If you have any questions regarding your CRDP payment from DFAS, call 800-321-1080. For questions concerning disability ratings or disability compensation, please contact the VA at 800-827-1000.

Photo credit: orangejack.

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Date published: March 4, 2014.

Article by

Ryan Guina is the founder and editor of this site. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over 6 years on active duty in the USAF and is currently serving in the IL Air National Guard. He also writes about money management, small business, and career topics at Cash Money Life. You can also see his profile on Google.

Comments

  1. Debbie Starcher says:

    Hi Ryan,
    My husband is 100% disabled retired Navy officer, an event that occurred only six weeks after his commissioning in 1991. He’s done a great job, but the stress of raising three boys while I worked and a natural disaster in our neighborhood, led to stronger medications with the many major break downs (that include psychotic driving for hundreds of miles in circles around AZ, and once into CA), and other medical problems. It became too much, and I had to leave my career and early retire last month to take care of the “fort” so to speak.
    Our boys are now teenagers, more expensive than ever, soon to be collage bound, and we’ve been reduced to my husbands VA disability and SS payments only. By telling you this I wanted to demonstrate the hardship that is placed on the 100% disabled, and their families, who did less than 20 years service, and therefore are excluded from Concurrent Receipt as my husband is.
    I think that so often the 100% disabled aren’t able to speak for themselves, maybe that’s why they’re left out of this. It’s always been easy to ignore those that don’t have a voice. However, my husband does have a voice, he’s articulate when he wants to be, intelligent, and is a U of A grad. with a BA in Aerospace Engineering, but I think there aren’t enough guys like him to make a resounding noise.
    Do you think there’s any hope he could receive the waived retirement pension from the DOD? If he hadn’t been injured he would have done over twenty years by now.

    • Debbie, I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s disability and your current struggles. The best place to look for assistance with any claims or other possible benefits is through a Veteran’s Service Organization. They have trained personnel who can help you file claims, or at least know what is available to you. They also offer a sense of community and can put you in touch with others who understand your struggles. Here is a short list of some national VSOs, but keep in mind there are many more at the local, regional, and national level.

      Regarding having a pension waived – I am not aware of any laws that would allow that to happen. I don’t believe there is hope to receive a pension if he didn’t serve 20 years, or close to it. If you believe there may be additional benefits he may be entitled to, then I recommend visiting with a veterans benefits counselor. Best of luck!

  2. Thanks for the info, this was exactly what I was looking for to answer all my Disability pay questions.

  3. Allen Pilecki says:

    I have to apply for my military reserve retirement from the navy next month, I am 30% VA connected from deployment back from the start of Iraqi Freedom war and other conflicts. When I send my paperwork in I was told to list my monthly disability pay, because this was service connected by the VA, do they deduct this from my pay or do I apply for CRDP OR CRSC ?

    • Allen, My understanding is that CRDP is automatic. Just list your service-connected disability rating and the VA and DFAS will take care of everything. I am unsure if CRSC is automatic. However, DFAS states they do an audit to determine eligibility. You can find out more information here. You would only be eligible to receive CRDP if your VA rating is above 50%. You would be eligible to receive CRSC if you are eligible. I hope this helps and everything is running smoothly with your retirement pay. Thank you for you service!

  4. Captain Dan says:

    Ryan,

    Thanks for this extremely informing article.
    I’m writing because judges and attorneys can’t figure this out, since disability benefits are not taxed nor can they be considered for support purposed. It also affects taxes.

    I retired with injuries but not a medical retirement in 1995 with nearly 21 years of service O-3E (Mustang).

    I was only recently classified 100% disabled retroactively to 2005.
    As I read this I would get the full disability AND pension as of 2005, but not for 2004. Is that correct? I was classified 80% from 1995 – 2004, however, that may change as I have filed an appeal with the help of my wife for the ptsd retroactive to 1995.

    This is important as it affects my taxes as I’m applying for a significant refund for that.

    Would that also affect the distribution of 50% of my retirement to my ex-wife who divorced me as soon as I retired (DX for another service member)?

    Very Sincerely
    Captain Dan
    US Army

    • Hello Captain Dan, Thank you for contacting me. Your situation is unique, and I’m sure there is more to it than I give advice for through the mail (such as previous divorce decree, judge orders, and other information). At the minimum, you need someone trained in veterans benefits claims. More than likely, however, you will need to consult with a lawyer who specializes in veterans benefits claims and military divorces.

      I recommend speaking with a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have trained Veterans Service Officers who can assist you for free. They may also have recommendations for reputable lawyers. Here is a good place to start:
      Veterans Service Organizations – free VA Benefits Claims Help
      .

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  5. Hi Ryan, Great article and very informative. Your examples all assume that the individual is retiring and then receiving VA disability. If someone receives a disability rating above 50% PRIOR to retirement eligible age (58.5 for me), do they start receiving VA compensation immediately? I am currently 53 and waiting on receipt of my disability rating which I project to be about 75%. I have a wife and children (<18.) Thanks again for the informative article.

    • Col Joe, Thanks for the kind words. Great question. Yes, I approached this from an active duty retirement, or at least from the perspective of someone who was already receiving retirement pay. Gray Area retirees of the Guard and Reserves should be eligible to begin receiving their VA disability compensation once it has been awarded to them. In your example, you would begin receiving disability compensation upon receiving your award letter from the VA (often there is back pay to the date you filed your claim).

      Then you would need to start looking at Concurrent Receipt laws once you begin receiving retirement pay. If your disability rating is 50% or greater, then you should receive your full VA disability compensation, along with your full retirement pay. It’s only when the disability rating is 40% or lower than you need to worry about not receiving full VA compensation and full retirement pay.

      Regarding your projected disability rating: The VA only awards in 10% increments, and “VA Math” can get a little fuzzy. I have an in-depth article and podcast which you may find useful. It explains how multiple VA disability ratings are calculated. I encourage you to listen to the podcast and read through the article. I’m sure you’ll learn a couple things about VA compensation.

  6. Hi Ryan– I appreciate this information. This and your other article outlining the differences between VA disability and DoD retirement provide the clearest explanation of anything I’ve read.

    I am embarking on a MEB in January. Likely, I will be medically retired at 10 years of active duty. The VA rates my disability at 60%, which puts me beyond the requisite 50% threshold to “double dip” into both VA disability and DoD retirement. But I am wondering if, because I will not have completed 2o years of active duty, I am actually *ineligible* to collect both types of compensation.

    Thus, is a medically-retired service member equivalent in status to a full 20-year retiree? If yes, it seems like I would collect both types of compensation. If no, I would not.

    Thanks. I look forward to your response.

  7. Joe Marasco says:

    Ryan, I’m a 16 year veteran 100% total disability of the US Navy. The Navy retired me 1980 after I had a total laryengectomy. At that time I opted for a VA compensation which was also 100%.
    My question is am I eligible under the new law to receive both my military pension and VA compensation?

    • Joe, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not 100% certain here. If you have a medical retirement, then I don’t believe you are eligible to receive both forms of compensation. If you have a normal military retirement, then it may be possible. Review the eligibility requirements listed in the above article to see if you qualify for eligibility. You may also contact DFAS and inquire as to your retirement type and status for CRDP. I hope this helps. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  8. Anna Graves says:

    Ryan, I am 23 year reservists who retired under chapter 61 in 2012. I was receiving both VA and Military Retirement with off-set from VA. Recently became 100% disability. I called DFAS and they explained that I will no longer be receiving my Military Retirement because the pay is the same as VA Disability pay and I am no longer eligible to receive both because I am now 100% disabled. So this means my 23 years service is now no longer recognized and I will never be paid for my years of service? So upset! Any information you have would be greatly appreciated. Thank you, Anna

    • Anna, Disability retirement pay is a very complicated topic, and one I’m not an expert on. The military uses some very specific formulas based on your pay, years in service, disability rating, and other factors. Then they run it through a calculator to arrive at the specific number. I recommend contacting your closest military installation and setting up an appointment with them to go over your situation. Have them walk you through the process so you have a full understanding of how the calculation works, and which benefits you will be eligible to receive. Because each situation is unique, this is the best way to get the information you are looking for. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  9. Chief Dawn says:

    Ryan,
    Similar to Anna Graves question of 16 Jan, I was permanently disability retired from the USAFR under 10 U.S.C. 1201. Initially I was receiving a military retirement but after receiving my VA rating (I am now VA rated at 100% permanently and totally disabled) my retirement pay was stopped due to being ineligible for Concurrent Retired Disability Payments (CRDP). DFAS told me that retired Reservists aren’t eligible for CRDP until age 60 when their eligibility for retired pay begins.

    Prior to my military retirement I had begun buying back 17+ years towards my civil service retirement. I recently read that CRDP is not available to retirees who have combined their military time with their civil service time to qualify for a civil service retirement. Do you know if that means that I will not be eligible for CRDP if I continue with the buyback of my military time towards my civil service retirement? And if so, will that erase the entire CRDP amount, or just the amount of civil service retirement pay?

    Thanks so much for what you do, Chief

  10. Ricardo Rivera says:

    I retired with 21 year active and got 90% rating from VA. I just wonder can you say CRDP will pay full VA and retirement, $447 is being deducted from my retirement every month and DFAS call it VA waiver plus all the other bull S%^& deductions they do, Im just left with $1200 and the 90%. After two car repossessions, a short sale, a bank loan default; still can barely survive. Its there a way DFAS would stop deducting the so called VA WAIVER?

  11. I recently received my rating which is 80%. When I applied for the disability benefit I chose block 17 on the VA Form 21-526EZ apparently stating that I do not want VA compensation in lieu of my retired pay. Hell I thought I was forfeiting my retired pay. What I didn’t know at the time is that VA compensation does not stop my retired pay. So my award letter says $0 paid. How do I get this fixed? Is it as easy as completing the VA form 21-651 Election of Compensation in Lieu of Retired Pay to Secure Compensation from the VA? Will that include back pay to my retirement date last year?

    thanks

  12. AF Reservist says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I am an Air Force Reserve Technician. I have been an Air Technician for 5 years, and in the military for 14 years. I have been rated at 60% by the VA; however, I should be getting the 100% in the next couple of months. I would like to see what options if any I would have for early retirement. Most likely I’ll get medically disqualified.
    I’ll appreciate your feedback.

    Very respectfully

  13. Steven C Stolle says:

    I have 23 total service in the National Guard and also active duty. I retired in 04, and as of last year I received a disability rating of 50% I’m awaiting 5 more surgeries for damage to my knees, back and shoulders. I’ve been unable to continue working in the civilian sector. I’m financially strapped. I have been receiving my monthly disability pay but it’s not enough. How do I go about requesting or applying for my pension to start? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    • Steven, Thank you for contacting me. So far as I am aware, the only provision that allows Guard or Reserve members to retire early is tied to deployment dates after 2008. This wouldn’t apply to you, since you retired from the military in 2004. I am not aware of any other way to begin drawing retirement pay before age 60. You may consider looking into Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). You might also consult with a Veterans Service Officer (VSO). They can help review your VA disability claim and assist you with filing for an increase of benefits if you believe it to be warranted, based on your health condition(s). The VSOs may also have other information regarding certain benefits you may be eligible to receive. They will be able to look at your entire case and give recommendations based on your specific situation. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  14. Hello Ryan,

    Here is weird story….. I had apprx. 10yrs in the military. 6 years big army at Bragg where I was injured during combat ops in OIF 05-07. After ETS in 2010 I put in a VA claim upon exiting active duty. I then automatically transferred into the reserves when then Army Guard when my VA rating came in at 100% P&T. The Guard did a Med board on me and retired me with 10 years in. Long story short, I was receiving VA pay prior to the MEB being completed. The MEB was final in DEC of 14 where i was also retired from the Guard at 100% (they used the rating from the VA). I have the Guard paper work saying i was transferred into the retired reserves. Just recently I received a another retirement letter from the “Big Army” saying noting about the retired reserve but that I was retired from the “Big Army”.

    Here it the kicker….. I only have a little over 10 years in and am receiving full VA pay and am also receiving retirement pay (untaxed since I am 100%) from the Army. I have called DFAS about 8 times letting them know I am being paid with less than 20 years, I called the VA about 5 times and sent them documentation showing I was retired from the Army (Chapter 61 @ 100% P&T). And I have also contacted Army HRC who just refereed me to DFAS….

    I know there has been a lot of changes lately regarding Title 10 Chapter 61 retirees. Do you think there is some special clause since I was injured in combat ops at the 100% level that I am a special case and that is why I am receiving both VA & Army retirement pay?

    I would appreciate any thought you may have. Thanks,

    Nate

  15. Rick Parsons says:

    Ryan thanks for all the great information you provide. I retired after 21 yrs of service in 1989 and received a 20% VA disability rating. 10% of my disability was for hypertension. I have been told I now have an enlarged heart due to the hypertension some 26 years after my initial disability rating. Can I appeal my disability rating due to the deteriorating condition of the initial claim?

    • Rick, Yes, you can appeal the rating and request an increase. I have never personally gone through this process, but I know it will require a reevaluation of your condition and the VA will look at the doctor’s assessment and make a determination. You may wish to contact a Veterans Service Organization that can help you with your claim. There are many organizations such as the DAV, VFW, American Legion, and others that offer free benefits claims assistance. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  16. Ryan, great site. Good to see everyone is respectful here. I was wondering what your take is on what Mr. Nate said above. One of my soldiers has about 7 years in and was also injured but with shrapnel in Afghan. She is also 100% Permanent& Total too. She was told that she would also be able to collect both payments from DFAS & VA?

    Just a couple questions? What does 100% P&T mean and how could she be able to collect both? Thanks Ryan.

    Take care – kris sends

  17. Theresa Riley says:

    Ryan, &

    Kris/Nate,

    I was retired was retired in myself as an E-7 with 13 years of service. I do collect both VA and AF retired pay. To my understanding I do believe you are able to collect it as well. My VSO said that there is a special clause that helps med retired vets out hurt during battle.

    Ryan, am I (we) not supposed to be receiving both?

    Thanks,

    M.S. Theresa Riley

  18. Is this site still active?

    My husband falls into the chapter 61 category and was disabled at 100% from Vietnam. is he able to collect both?

  19. Ryan,

    Thank you for posting this article along with the examples and explanations. I hope you are still actively responding here. I am in dire need of advice/answers. My husband retired Oct.31, 2014 with 23 years of service as an E6. March 19, 2015 he was awarded a 100% disability rating with the VA (service connected) and an effective date of 11/01/15. They paid only retroactive pay from 12/01/14-2/28/15. Here’s where we are confused. They deducted his retirement pay from his VA disability! To explain this better, his award letter stated, “100% with a monthly compensation amount of $1083.13, this includes $103.23 SMC-K1 as well.” His retirement pay is exactly $2089 (redux) from DFAS. According to the VA compensation chart, 100% with a Spouse rate is $3068.90. We were told by the VSO that filed the claim that since my husband is over 20 years and most likely will be given 50% or higher that he would draw BOTH Retirement and VA Compensation. By my calculations that should have been $5157.90 +$103.23 SMC. Does that sound right? Me and my husband are desperately trying to make sense of this to understand why he’s only getting $1083.13 from the VA on a 100% rating. If you add both his VA check and his Retirement it equals exactly $3068.90 (+$103.23 SMC). It’s like the VA is taking all his retirement pay to make up the difference. That seems wrong to me. The VSO still says he should be getting both FULL amounts but doesn’t offer any help as to how to go about it getting it done. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Brandy A.

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