Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Benefits – Replaces VA Disability Offset for Military Retirees with Combat-Related Disabilities

Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) benefits replace VA Disability Offset payments for military retirees with a combat related injury or disability.
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Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) BenefitsYou may be eligible to receive additional compensation.

Did you know that if you are a military retiree with a combat-related disability you may be eligible to receive additional compensation through the Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program? This is a relatively new law that many retirees are not aware of.

Until 2004, there was a law on the books that prevented military retirees from receiving both military retirement pay and VA service-connected disability compensation simultaneously. Military retirees could choose to receive VA disability compensation if they were eligible. Still, their military retirement pay would be offset by the exact amount of compensation they received from the VA. The veteran received the same total compensation as their full retirement pay. However, the spending power was greater because VA disability compensation is tax-exempt.

In 2004, a law called Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP) was passed. CRDP allows military retirees to receive both military retirement pay and VA disability compensation if they held a VA disability rating of 50% or greater. This is a substantial increase in compensation for these veterans who are eligible to receive their full military retirement pay and their full VA disability compensation.

But retirees with less than a 50% disability rating were left in the dark regarding receiving greater compensation. While lawmakers didn’t extend the concurrent receipt laws to cover all disability ratings, they did create a similar law for veterans with a “combat related” disability, even if they do not have an overall disability rating of 50%.

In 2008, Congress passed a law called the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) (10 U.S. Code § 1413a), which allows military retirees to receive monthly compensation to replace some or all of their VA disability offset if they have a combat-related injury. Let’s take a deeper look at CRSC, what it is, who it affects, and how to apply for this benefit.

Table of Contents
  1. What Is Combat Related Special Compensation?
  2. Combat Related Special Compensation Eligibility
  3. How to Apply for CRSC Benefits
    1. Combat-Related Special Compensation is not automatic
    2. Documentation of Combat-Related Injury is Required
  4. More Info About Combat Related Special Compensation

Combat-Related Special Compensation was created to replace the VA disability offset for service-connected disabilities that are a direct result of combat related injuries, to include injuries that occur during combat or armed conflict, or during combat training, training that simulates war, while performing hazardous duty, or from exposure to an instrumentality of war (such as military combat vehicles, agent orange exposure, etc.).

Combat-Related Special Compensation compensates eligible military retirees that will replace some or all of the VA disability offset. Their military retirement pay will no longer be deducted by the amount of their VA disability compensation. Instead, they will receive their full military retirement pay, and a CRSC payment based on the percentage of their disability rating that is considered combat-related.

It’s important to note that CRSC payments only apply to disabilities that are considered combat related. So it is possible that your CRSC payment can be less than your overall VA disability rating and, thus, less than your VA disability offset. Like VA Disability compensation, CRSC payments are tax-free.

Here are the eligibility requirements, according to DFAS — To qualify for CRSC:

  • You must be entitled to and/or receiving military retired pay (Active or Reserve with 20 years or creditable service; Chapter 61 medically retired with less than 20 years of service; Retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA); or retired under the Temporary Disabled Retirement List (TDRL)).
  • You must have a VA service-connected disability rating of at least 10 percent
  • Your military retirement pay is currently being reduced by your VA disability compensation (VA disability offset)
  • You must file a CRSC application with your Branch of Service

Disabilities that may be considered combat related include injuries incurred as a direct result of:

  • Armed Conflict / Combat: This can include direct or indirect wounds which occurred during armed conflict.
  • Hazardous Duty: This can include activities such as demolition duty, diving, parachuting, aerial flight, and more.
  • An Instrumentality of War: An instrumentality of war is a device such as a weapon or weapon systems specifically designed for military duty or warfare. This can include certain military combat vehicles, vessels, aircraft, or an injury or sickness caused by exposure to fumes, gases, or chemicals. Agent Orange exposure would qualify as an instrumentality of war.
  • Simulated War: This can include activities such as military training, exercises, airborne ops, live fire exercises, hand-to-hand combat training, and more. This does not include standard physical training such as running, jogging, or group sports activities.

Eligibility Based on Service Dates and Back Pay: Anyone can be eligible to receive benefits under CRSC as long as they meet the eligibility requirements. This means it can apply to veterans who retired decades ago, or as recently as a month ago. There is even the possibility of receiving back pay if you are determined to be eligible for this benefit. However, if you retired with full longevity (20 or more years of service), you can only receive back pay as early as June 1, 2003, which was the effective date authorized by Congress. If you were medically retired under Chapter 61 with less than 20 years of service, back pay can only go back to January 2008, which was the effective date for authorizing veterans who retired with a medical retirement.

How to Apply for CRSC Benefits

You will need to apply for these benefits with your respective branch of service. They will assess your claim and determine your eligibility. To apply, you must fill out DD form 2860, along with the required documentation mentioned below, and send it to your respective military branch.

CRSC can be a complicated benefit because each case is unique. As always, it would be a good idea to consider using a Veterans Service Officer to help you with your benefits claims. They are often well-versed in applying for military and veterans benefits, and usually offer free assistance to veterans.

You must be able to show a causal link between your service-connected disability rating and a combat-related event. You will need to provide documentation of your military service, including your Form DD-214 or Form DD-215, military medical records pertaining to your injuries, military personnel files, line of duty determinations, safety mishap (accident) reports, military personnel data system printouts, prior military disability board decisions, casualty reports, official orders or travel vouchers, VA summary letters, or other official documents that can substantiate your claims.

Here is the important thing to remember: your records must clearly show your injury is combat-related.

Here is the contact info for submitting your CRSC claim:

Air Force
CRSC Program Office
550 C Street West, Suite 6
Randolph AFB
TX 78150-4708
Phone: 1-800-525-0102

Department of the Army
U.S. Army Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Ave
Dept 420
Fort Knox, KY 40122-5402
Phone: 1-866-281-3254
Fax: 1-502-613-9550
Email: [email protected]

Coast Guard
Personnel Service Center
2703 Martin Luther King Jr.
Avenue SE,
Washington, DC 20593-7200
ATTN: CRSC (703) 872-6626

Navy and Marine Corps
Secretary of the Navy Council of Review Boards
Attn: Combat-Related Special Compensation Branch
720 Kennon Street SE, Suite 309
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374
Fax: 202-685-6610
Email: [email protected]

Here is some additional information about CRSC:

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  1. Nelson says

    I just received a CRSC retroactive pay due to my VA rating increasing to 100%. However, the retro payment is approximately 25% of what I expected it should have been, given the dates and the new CRSC payment. Is this a common occurrence?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Nelson, I don’t know how common this is. If you believe there is an error, you should contact your parent branch of service and DFAS for an explanation of pay and benefits to help you understand why your retroactive pay is as it is. This will help you better understand your pay and uncover any potential calculation errors. Best wishes!

  2. Tanya says


    What is the statutory formula to calculate CRSC? Is there a CRSC calculator on the web somewhere?
    I think it is based upon three disability ratings (DOD, VA, and CRSC), length of service, and high three. I’m not sure where to go from there. Please point me in the right direction to find the CRSC calculator.

    My disability percentages are VA rated at 100%, DOD rated at 100% with v1/v3 yes, and just for computation purposes 100% CRSC (I haven’t applied yet, I just want to get a rough estimate to see if there is any advantage to CRSC over CRDP).
    Also does CRSC pay additional SMC like the VA does?
    My length of active duty service was 22 years and 7 months (including 1405 time) and 26 years 8 months total time in service (including National Guard time).
    I’m not sure how to calculate high three but I was a CW3 for the last 36 months prior to my retirement and I receive $3539.45 from DFAS monthly for retirement.
    My retirement date was 20171127.
    My adjusted BASD is 19960325.
    My PEBD is 19910626.

    Thank you in advance for any help or guidance you can provide.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tanya,

      Thank you for your question. This is outside my level of expertise. I would contact your branch of service’s main human resources or personnel office or DFAS for further guidance. They will have access to your records and be better able to assist you with your specific questions.

      I wish you the best!

  3. Christopher Moran says

    I was medically retired from the USCG with 12 years of service due to a Stage IV Cancer diagnosis this past year. With medical documentation in my medical record stating that I was exposed to a substance known to cause this disease while I was serving onboard a ship for 2 years, would I be considered eligible for CRSC benefit? I receive 100% rating from VA and was given 100% rating from Military Medical Evaluation Board. However, due to having a medical retirement at 12 years my retirement is currently being offset by VA disability compensation. Thank you for your time and service and I look forward to hearing back from you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Christopher,

      I’m sorry to hear about your health condition and I hope you are receiving the care you deserve.

      Regarding your question: I believe this would qualify for CRSC, but I’m not 100% certain.

      Chemical exposure can be a qualifying factor when applying for CRSC, provided you can prove the exposure caused the illness (which it appears you may be able to do based on your medical records).

      That said, the actual application process is outside of my area of expertise and is something that would be better to address with a trained benefits claims counselor. Unfortunately, I do not have that type of training and I am not able to offer specific VA disability claims advice.

      The best thing to do is to contact a veterans benefits counselor at the VA, your county VA office, or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free, individualized claims assistance. They can review your claim, your service periods, medical conditions, and other factors and help you apply for benefits or an upgrade to your current rating. Here are some recommended organizations.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  4. Tim Esquibel says

    Is there a CRSC calculator online somewhere? I’ve searched and searched with no luck. If not how do you calculate CRSC.

    Is the below method correct?

    VA disability Pay – retirement pay = offset.

    VA award (same amount as VA pay) – offset = CRSC entitlement.

    Thank you for all your help!!

  5. J.S says


    I currently have a 90% rating.

    However, is brought to my attention when a friend of mine former va worker looked at my disabilities and said I should be 100%?


    I looked at the Va charts at and got 100% as well. Can anyone verify that this is 100%? if so what is the next step to get this corrected?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello J.S., I reviewed the numbers and came up with 95, which should round up to 100%. I would contact the VA customer service line and ask them how to proceed. They should be able to help you with this process.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  6. Justin R. says

    Does the amount of CRSC change or decrease for someone when their VA percentage increases?

    For example: If someone that is currently VA 80% (with spouse and 4 children) and also receives $1146 CRSC per month currently, and they get an increase because of a 100% VA rating due to Individual Unemployability . Will the CRSC be decreased due to the VA monthly increase?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Darion,

      CRSC is awarded on a case by case basis. This is something you would need to apply for to determine if you are eligible. I recommend working with the VA or a veterans service organization to apply for this.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  7. Joseph Roberts says

    I’m 90% with the VA and I just received approval for CRSC 100% Medically retired from Army 2009. I was just wondering will CRSC pay all of my retirement $ or just a percentage/partial portion of it? Thanks

    • matthew wirth says

      It will be capped by how long you were in the Army. There is a sneaky line item that Congress put into the CRSC legislation which states that you cannot receive more than your time in service multiplied by 2.5 then multiplied as a percentage against the formula used to figure out your base retirement pay. The Army granted you 100 percent CRSC which is great but remember it won’t go higher than your time in service x’s 2.5 x retirement pay (average high 36 months base pay…etc, whichever formula they used). The CRSC is also only paid retro for a maximum of 6 years, and that too is written into the law. Its tax free so you won’t pay taxes on any of it. So, bottom line is the longer you served the more CRSC will pay you in terms of giving back what was taken as a VA waiver offset.

      The Coast Guard went a step farther in 2015 and written into federal law was a long list of changes to CRSC which apply only to the Coast Guard members. Specifically it addresses the environment in which the service would define “combat related disabilities” as it reflects to its statutory missions. Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Aton, etc were incorporated into the Coast Guard’s definition of “combat related” disabilities. This is important because CG members no longer had to be in actual combat zones to be eligible for CRSC, but rather if their disability can be related to performance of a statutory mission then the member would in theory be eligible to receive a CRSC rating and potentially get their VA offset back.

      The CRSC literature is horrible and no one will tell eligible members they are entitled to it so they are on their own to figure it out and apply for it. The address listed for the Coast Guard on the DD form is incorrect and they will no longer forward your application. The HS1 and HSC that work on CRSC applications are awesome but clearly they are understaffed (do more with less). There is no tracking system like there is in the VA so you never know what the status is of your application or what is going on with it.

  8. Lee Manley Jr says

    My name is Lee Manley Jr. I’m a Viet Nam Combat Veteran USS Stormes DD-780 we were in the Gulf of Tonkin Carrier Escort for Orinski. I have a 70% PTSD Disability rating. The experience messed me up so bad I couldn’t reenlist. This was in 1965. Could I be eligible for any compensation?

  9. RA says

    Great article, well done and very informative! Quick question: I retired last year at age 45 from the Reserves after 23 years of service (11 AD, 12 Reserves). I will begin getting my retirement pay at age 60. I currently have a 40% disability rating and its combat related. I pass all the CRSC eligibility requirements except the following one (1) “Your military retirement pay is currently being reduced by your VA disability compensation (VA disability offset)”. Does this mean that you can only send your CRSC paperwork in when you are 60 years old? I have my Form 2860 and supporting documents ready to send in right now. Can I send it in now and have my records updated so that when Im 60 years old it automatically kicks in? I would hate to wait another 14 years to file and then find out this benefit no longer exists. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello RA,

      Thank you for your kind words. This is a great question, but I don’t have the answer. I recommend contacting your branch of service office that processes CRSC claims. They should be able to help you understand the application process in your situation.

      I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  10. Rudy Lopez says

    I retired in Dec 1998. I was recently awarded by the VA 100% totally and permanently disabled due to service-connected disabilities. Within that VA rating, I received a rating of 50% combat related. I currently received both my Military retirement pay and the VA Disability Pay (CRDP).

    I just discovered that I qualify to submit for the CRSC Benefits and would it be in my best interest to apply for it. My concern is twofold: (1) will it replace my current VA Disability pay, and (2) if I do apply will it only cover 50% (combat related) portion and not the entire 100% disability?

    If it only covers the 50% – will I loose out on my entire 100% VA disability pay? New at this, and somewhat a bit confused if I apply for CRSC and would be penalized for 50%. Thoughts?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Rudy, I recommend sitting down with someone who can help you run the numbers through both scenarios. This way you can see the actual numbers on paper and make the best decision for your specific situation. I would contact DFAS and ask if they can help you run the numbers, or if they have suggestions for someone who may be able to assist. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  11. Luis says

    I retired in May 2014 I have 100%PT disability rating from the VA and I’m also 23 year retired veteran from active duty collecting my pension. do I qualify to submit for the CRSC??

  12. Eddie says

    Hello all;

    I am medically retired from the military with only 1 year and 10 Months in. I was rated 70% but am now Paid at a 100% VA rating. 3 Service Connected Disabilities. Should I apply for CRSC and how would I calculate that if anything?

    • Victor says


      It depends on when you retired. According to the DFAS website;

      Disability retirees with less than 20 years of service will be automatically limited to a retroactive date of January 1, 2008 as required by legislation passed by Congress effective 2008.

      So, if you retired after 2008 DFAS automatically applied CRSC for you. Check out the website. I provided the link below:


  13. D Davis says

    Thank you Ryan for your efforts and great articles/discussions; cutting through the Cement Curtain of Denial and Deceit of the VA and its Benefits programs.

    I spent several actual days chasing down Service Representatives (DAV, VFW, Am Legion, Purple Heart and VA Advisory etc) and then waited several weeks after to get a poor answer of “I think you can get your combat related disability and your Active/Reserve Retirement pay together, or maybe not), supported without any references.

    Why does the VA and the US Government try to hid and make it impossible to get answers from the VA. When I do get answers that are normally wrong or are inept and unconcerned.

    I come from a family that have been Wounded Warriors from the Civil War though to the present conflicts; and that we all have proudly and faithfully served in historic/elite forces for the last 200 years. I have endured 3 surgeries from my last deployment that will physically impair me for the rest of my life… At least I have legs to stand on.

    Since then, I have never been so disenchanted or treated as a third class citizen since I hit the VA. Many of my comrades that I served with have experienced the same and or feel the same way.

    Again, “Thank You” for you efforts and information!

    • Ryan Guina says

      My pleasure, D Davis.

      I do my best to get the information out there. Unfortunately, I’m not an expert in every situation, and I am not trained in being a veteran’s advocate. You’ve done the right thing in contacting representatives of those VSO’s. But in many cases, veterans have to be their own advocates. This takes a lot of legwork and research. But the long term benefits are worth it.

      I would continue to reach out to veterans service organizations. There are some excellent advocates out there who can help. It just sometimes takes a few tries to find the right expert. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Al, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a copy of the SecNav application, but I believe B/L Factor is Bilateral Factor, which is when a veteran has an injury that affects matching extremities on both sides of the body. For example, an injury on both arms, or both legs. It is explained in more detail in the following article that explains VA Math and multiple disability ratings. I hope this is helpful.

  14. Tinbi says

    Hello there
    I am medically retired after 4 years and 9 months. 60% army and 80% va. All combat related. I’m getting $1775 ( wife and one child) and having hard time to live of this income. I applied for CRSC and I have no idea what to expect. I can’t work due to my physical limitations. I wonder how much the CRSC would be.

    Thank you

  15. Jim says

    I am 17 years retired and the military gave me 30 percent, but the VA gave me 40 percent. Over the years the VA rating went from 40 percent to 80 and (IU). My PEB said my service connect were not combat related. I have talk with a few veterans and they said some of your injuries might be rated to combat, will my VA pay offset if I get CRSC and I have talk with DFAS they told that since I am getting 100 percent from them (VA) I might not get anything? Can some one help out with ?

  16. HENRY brooks says

    What happens if the va raised your combat related items and your crsc amount changes what is your effective date for the changes in your va ratings your original crsc date or the date the changes were made

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Henry, The VA handles these situations on a case by case basis. I would contact them and ask them to give you an overview of your new benefits, effective dates of pay, and other details. They should be able to do this over the phone, and will typically send you a letter stating the change in benefits and effective dates.

  17. Victor says

    I was just received my approved CRSC on Feb 1st 2016. I have a VA rating of 100%. My RAS states gross pay $1914, VA waiver, $1914 and SBP cost 124.85. It states my retired pay has been waived because my VA award of $3,637.67 is more than my retired pay.
    CRSC letter states 80% Jun 2010 – Jan 2012, 100% Feb 2012-Present
    What can I expect for CRSC payment and will I get back pay?

    • Banuelos says

      Hi im just getting my crsc and it was a direct deposit of 277 im 100 % va and CSRC is 70% is that a normal amount i only did 10 yrs in the army and got out a spc

  18. Jeremy says

    I’ve been trying to find out if CRSC payments ever end or if you continue to receive 10% or more disability rating from the VA does it just continue? I’m permantly medically retired from the Army at 18 years and receive CRSC and am 90% percent disabled thru the VA and paid at the 100% rate and this was rated after a reeval by the VA. Hopefully this is enough info just to answer my question if CRSC payments will ever cease? Thank you for any help.

  19. peter torruella says

    I was just given a CRSC rating of 100% on Aug 3rd 2015. I have a VA rating of 100% all combat related , DoD rating of 100% all combat related DFAS received the CRSC rating on Aug 13 2015. How long until I see payment?

    Question 2. My RAS states gross pay. $2,826, VA waiver, #3,545.81 and SBP cost 187.33
    CRSC letter states 70% Feb 2013 – Aug 2013 100% step 2013
    What can I expect for CRSC payment and will I get back pay?

  20. Richard Sanchez says

    I am a retired veteran, over 30 years, and now receiving 50% disability compensation. My effective date is Feb. 2014 for my disability pay, I received my first disability check 3 months ago, I still continue to receive my regular amount for my retirement pay, and my question is what about my back pay? Am I eligible for back pay?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Richard, Thank you for contacting me. It seems to me like you should be eligible for back pay since your effective date is in Feb 2014. However, there may be something that I am unaware of. I recommend contacting the VA to ask them about back pay. If they can’t give you a good answer, the contact a Veterans Service Organization for assistance with your claim.

  21. Can says

    Hello, I applied for CRSC few months ago and no response yet because they are awaiting to bounce what I sent them as far as medical file copy to what I gave to VA!

    I am medically retired with 70% from the AF and 100% from the VA, day that VA started to pay AF just stopped paying, but I am on TDRL and AFI states ” When placed on TDRL, retired pay will not be less than 50 percent of the monthly pay rate on which computing retired pay” I am confused, almost overnight I got 50% pay cut and with out a job, with the heavy narcotics that I cant even keep my head straight. Obama’s law for us to apply for SS sates “Wounded Worriers will be expedited and have respond within 30 day” that a joke! I am lost and I think only thing left is let my home and car go and buy me a Travel trailer to park in front of white house!

    I noticed that more you were hurt less they help you because of I served 17 years not the 20, it was not my choice but it was the will of God. I don’t understand why they cut my pay during my TDRL?

    • Carl L Hansen says

      I was notified on February 22, 2016 by the Grays Harbor County , Washington State
      Assessor Office That my Senior Citizen /Disabled Person Exemption has been denied for the following reason: my income exceeds the limit $40,000.I have been receiving exemption for ten years. my Real Estate Tax has been $392.96 year, with this denied my tax will be 1,972.58 a year. The way they arrived my income they used my CRCS tax free income, which was not used prior to this year. What are my options ?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Carl, every county has different rules regarding homestead and property tax exemptions. The best course of action is to review the state and county laws to understand how they make the determination for tax exemptions. If, after reviewing the laws, you believe they made this change in error, then you will need to contact your county tax assessor’s office and request they change your property taxes back to the previous level. You can also contact your county Veterans Affairs office – they should have a liaison who can help you with these matters. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  22. Bill says

    Since one gets both VA disability pay if the disability rating is greater than 50% (mine is 70%) and full retirement pay because of CRDP, is there any benefit to
    applying for CRSC? My understanding is that CRSC had to do with the offset of retired pay for VA disability pay, but at 70% I am getting full retired pay so offset is not involved. Have I missed something? If no benefit to me, should I cancel my CRSC application?

  23. Andrew says

    I understand how CRSC works as far as eligibility. I am applying for my CRSC since I am medically retired from combat injuries after 13 years of service. I am currently civil service and am inquiring in buying back my military time. The concern I have is if I am entitled the CRSC will buying back my time affect the CRSC or vice versa?

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