How VA Disability Compensation Affects Military Retirement Pay

If you have a Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, you are eligible to receive a monthly compensation check from the VA. The monthly compensation payments vary by your disability rating—and if your rating is 30% or higher, the rates increase, depending on the number of dependents you have filed…
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Disability investing requirements

If you have a Department of Veterans Affairs service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher, you are eligible to receive a monthly compensation check from the VA. The monthly compensation payments vary by your disability rating—and if your rating is 30% or higher, the rates increase, depending on the number of dependents you have filed on your claim.

VA Disability Compensation Affect Mliitary Retirement Pay

You may be eligible to receive VA disability compensation even if you didn’t retire from the military. If you are retired from the military and are also eligible for VA disability compensation, determining how much you get paid — and from where — can seem complicated. Until 2004, it was against the law to receive full military retirement pay and VA disability compensation at the same time. Retirees had to choose which pay they wanted to receive, and if they chose to receive their VA disability compensation, those funds were deducted from their military retirement pay.

There have been two major changes to this law in the past decade, and some veterans may be eligible to receive their full military retirement pay along with their VA disability compensation. These laws are:

It is possible to be eligible for both of these programs, but you can only receive the additional monetary compensation from one of them. Veterans who qualify for both plans will be given the choice of which they wish to receive when they apply for their benefits. You can also change your election if your situation changes. Concurrent retirement disability pay (CRDP) sends out open season letters annually each December; veterans must select their choice by the end of January.

Let’s examine your options if you are eligible for military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. There are several misconceptions about how VA disability compensation affects military retirement pay. So let’s take a look at some of those rumors and break them down so you have a clear understanding of how these forms of compensation work together.

Veterans: Are you under 90% rated?

Winning approval for military service-connected injuries and illnesses can be a challenging process. Be confident that you’re getting the compensation that you medically, legally, and ethically qualify for.

Answer a few quick questions to get the most accurate veteran disability rating that your conditions warrant here.

Comparing VA Disability Compensation and Military Retirement Pay

Military retirement pay and VA disability compensation are entirely separate forms of compensation. They are paid from different agencies and are paid from different buckets of money. They also represent two forms of compensation. Military retirement pay is a pension that is based on your years of service. VA disability compensation is a monetary award that is based on your decreased ability to perform work after leaving the military.

Taxable versus non-taxable income: Military retirement pay is taxable at the federal level and is taxed by most states (some states do not have an income tax or do not tax military retirement pay). VA disability compensation is considered non-taxable income by the federal government (I am not aware of any states that tax VA disability compensation). This has a big advantage: Dollar for dollar, VA disability compensation gives veterans more spending power than military retirement pay because VA compensation is never taxed.

Can I Get Both VA Disability and Retirement Pay?

Concurrent retirement and disability pay (CRDP) allows retired military members to receive both retirement pay and VA compensation. However, to best answer this question, we need to examine your disability rating. If you have a combined disability rating of 50% or greater, you should be eligible to receive CRDP. If you receive CRDP, you will receive your full military retirement pay along with your full VA disability compensation. There will be no reduction to your military retirement pay.

If you have a combined VA service-connected disability rating of 40% or lower, then you are not eligible for CRDP. However, if you have a service-connected disability that is considered a combat-related disability, then you may be eligible for combat-related special compensation (CRSC). CRSC also replaces the VA disability offset and will increase your total compensation, even if you don’t have a combined rating of at least 50%.

If your combined disability rating is 40% or lower and you do not have a combat-related disability, then your military retirement pay will be offset, or deducted, by the amount of VA service-connected disability compensation you receive.

Let’s take a look at these special conditions in more detail and run some numbers to show you how valuable these benefits are.

Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)

Concurrent Receipt Laws: Until 2004, the law prevented military retirees from receiving part or all of their military pay if they also received disability compensation from the VA. Military members had to choose which payment they wanted to receive: military retirement pay or VA disability compensation. If they chose to receive both forms of payment, they had to offset, or waive, a portion of their military retirement pay equal to the amount they received from the VA. It prevented service members from double-dipping and receiving compensation from both the VA and the military.

In 2004, the law changed, and military retirees were eligible to receive both military retirement pay and VA disability compensation, but only if they had a VA service-connected disability rating of 50% or higher.

Here is how the compensation breaks down if you are eligible to receive both types of compensation:

  • VA disability rating of 40% or lower. Military retirees who choose to receive VA disability compensation will have their military retirement pay offset by the amount of compensation they receive from the VA. Most retirees choose to receive their VA disability compensation because it is tax-free income, while their military pension is taxed by the federal government and by most states. They still receive the same amount of total compensation they otherwise would have received; however, the VA compensation portion is tax-free, giving them more spending power.
  • VA disability rating of 50% or more. Military retirees with a disability rating of greater than 50% are eligible to receive both payments under CRDP. They will receive their full military retirement pension, along with 100% of their VA disability compensation. They do not need to offset their military pay by the amount of the compensation they receive from the VA.

The difference between a disability rating of 40% and 50% can mean a difference of thousands of dollars per year because the difference comes in the form of the increased disability compensation at the higher rate, along with the full military pension that is not offset by the concurrent receipt laws.

Do Disabled Veterans Qualify for VA Home Loans?

Disabled veterans who have VA loan entitlement are eligible for a VA home loan. However, all active-duty military and veteran borrowers have multiple requirements to hit in order to fully qualify for a VA home loan, including meeting the service standards and a lender’s specific credit score minimum to residual income and acceptable debt-to-income ratio.

Check if you meet the official VA loan requirements here.

How is Military Retirement Pay Offset by VA Compensation?

If your VA disability rating is 40% or lower, your military retirement pay is offset by the amount of your VA compensation. In other words, a 40% disability rating doesn’t mean 40% of your retirement pay is tax-free. It means you receive tax-free compensation from the VA at the 40% rate, and your military retirement pay is deducted by that amount.

Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say our retiree earns a monthly retirement check of $2,000. Let’s also assume he has a VA service-connected disability rating of 40%, and he has one dependent (a spouse). His VA disability compensation would be $673.28 per month (2022 rates; see full rate chart here).

He would receive $673.28 from the VA, which would be tax-free. He would then receive $1,326.72 as his military retirement pay ($2,000 – $673.28 = $1,326.72).

The total amount still equals $2,000 per month. But $673.28 of that is tax-free income. The overall effect gives the veteran more spending power.

You can also see how this uniform method for computing the VA disability offset is easier than awarding retirees a percentage of their pay as tax-free.

The Value of Concurrent Receipts

The main benefit of the VA disability offset is receiving the tax-free pay from the VA. The final dollar amount is the same, but the tax-free portion gives veterans greater spending power.

But the amount would be much greater if veterans received both forms of compensation under concurrent retirement disability pay laws. The increase would mean the full value of the military retirement pay, plus the full value of the VA disability compensation. Going from a 40% rating ($673.28) to a 50% rating ($958.44) is huge. Not only does the VA disability compensation increase by $285.16 per month, but the $673.28 is not deducted from the military retirement pay. The net effect is this:

  • 40% disability rating: $2,000 total ($1,326.72 taxable; $673.28 non-taxable)
  • 50% disability rating: $2,958.44 total ($2,000 taxable; $958.44 non-taxable)

The difference is an increase of $11,501.28 per year, none of which is taxable income.

Learn more about concurrent retirement disability pay (CRDP):

To qualify for combat-related special compensation (CRSC), you must have a service-connected disability rating that is considered combat-related. Here are a few other eligibility criteria:

  • You must be a military retiree (active duty or reserves with 20 years of creditable service, Chapter 61 medically retired with fewer than 20 years of service, retired under Temporary Early Retirement Act (TERA) or retired under the Temporary Disabled Retirement List.
  • You must have a VA service-connected disability rating of at least 10% that is considered to be combat-related.
  • Your military retirement pay must currently be reduced by the VA disability offset.

The injury doesn’t have to be from direct combat. Disabilities may be considered combat-related for CRSC purposes if they are a direct result of:

  • Armed conflict/combat: Direct or indirect wounds that happened during armed conflict.
  • Hazardous duty: Demolition duty, diving, parachuting, aerial flight and more.
  • An instrumentality of war: An injury sustained from exposure to an instrumentality of war, such as a weapon or weapon system 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: 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 Dates: Anyone can be eligible as long as they meet the above criteria. This includes military retirees who have been retired for decades or those who retired last month. There is even the possibility of back pay; however, it can only be extended back to the effective dates of the laws, which are June 1, 2003, for those with 20 years of service, or January 1, 2008, for those who were medically retired under Chapter 61 with fewer than 20 years of service.

You must apply with your branch of service. Concurrent receipt is automatically applied by Defense Finance Accounting Service and the VA. The CRSC program is administered by each branch of the military. You will need to complete an application and send in supporting documentation to receive this benefit.

Will Concurrent Receipt Laws be Extended to Everyone?

In a perfect world, all military retirees who have VA service-connected disability ratings would be eligible to receive the disability pay in addition to their retirement pay. Unfortunately, the government budget isn’t limitless, and the current payment methods are being used to help control budgets. Concurrent receipt was phased in over a ten-year period, with veterans receiving incrementally larger amounts of VA compensation added to their retirement pay each year. If the government were to open concurrent receipt to everyone, they would likely do something similar, as it would otherwise be a massive budget increase.

Will Concurrent Receipt Laws Change?

Several military organizations and lobbying groups are working hard to get the concurrent receipt laws extended to all retirees, regardless of their disability ratings, but it has yet to be approved by Congress. The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) has repeatedly attempted to get the law repealed that requires military retirees to forfeit their military retirement pay to receive their VA disability pay. You can read about their most-recent efforts here.

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  1. Joseph L.Lyons BMC E-7 says

    I am a retired Vietnam veteran with 22 years service and a 90%= va combat related disability. I don’t understand if I am eligible for Crsc.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Joseph, here is a full overview of the CRSC program. I recommend reading it to better understand the benefit. In order to become eligible, you must have a combat-related service connected disability rating (which you have). Then you must apply through your branch of service. That said, CRSC is designed to replace the VA disability compensation offset that applies to military retirees with a VA disability rating of less than 50%. With a disability rating of less than 50%, DFAS withholds an amount of retirement pay equal to the amount of VA disability compensation, thus “offsetting” the VA disability pay. Once you reach 50% VA disability rating, you are eligible for Concurrent Receipt, meaning you receive both full military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. So even if you are eligible for RSC, your 90% rating may not make it necessary. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor to see if applying for CRSC will be worth your time. Best wishes!

  2. Walter Locke says

    Hi, my VA disability rating was recently increased from 40 to 60%. Will I lose my CRSC pay? Also, will I receive back pay from VA what was deducted from my Military pay? Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Walter, I recommend contacting the VA regarding your CRSC pay. They will be able to assist you with that question. Regarding back pay – the VA will usually increase your rating retroactive to the date you filed your claim, and they provide back pay to that date as well. Since your rating would retroactively increase to 60%, then you should have a case for getting back pay from your military retirement pay as well. I don’t know if this is automatically communicated from the VA to DFAS, or if you have to create a claim. I would be proactive and contact both the VA and DFAS to determine which steps, if any, you need to take. Best wishes!

  3. Luticia Fiorito says

    My father is 87, Vietnam Veteran, with a debilitating neurological disease. How do I get him evaluated to connect his disease to service so he can receive the disability payment as well. He would definitely minimally be 50% or higher. Thank you. Ssgt Luticia Smith-Fiorito

    • Ryan Guina says

      Luticia, I’m sorry to hear about your father’s health condition. I recommend he contact a Veterans Service Organization, such as his county Veterans Affairs office or the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, or a similar organization. These organizations have trained representatives who can assist your father in filing for a disability claim. Additionally, many neurological conditions have a presumptive connection if the veteran was exposed to Agent Orange or other chemicals through their military service. I hope this points you in the right direction.

  4. Betty Glovet says

    My husband receives 60% va disability and has already phased in to 100% retirement for 20+ years. If his disability rating increases will he have to start over with the offset to his retirement pay?

  5. Clyde A. Smith says

    My military retirement pay has been offset by my 10% VA Disability Compensation. Will this reduction carry through and
    reduce my survivor’s benefit (for my spouse) in the event that she out lives me?

    If this is true, how can I stop the VA Disability Compensation and revert to my previous full pension?

    Thank you.


    Hi there. Can you tell me which US Code governs “VA Offset” and how to avoid paying it? I am 100% permanently and totally disabled through the VA, DFAS and SSA but I am still being hit with VA Offset of over $1,000 a month. According to your article I should not be charged with VA Offset. Thanks for any assistance you can provide.

  7. carlos olvera says

    Ryan, thanks for the insightful article. I have a question. Is there a scenario where your VA compensation exceeds your military retirement pay based on dependents and the retirement pay is withheld? I ask because I just received a letter from the VA stating that they are withholding part of my compensation while they work with the service (Army) department. I am a 30 year veteran with 100% disability, total and permanent.

  8. Derek Berryhill says

    So, I am in the Army Reserves (O-5) with over 20 years of service (I have my 20-year letter). I am 100% T&P with VA; I am also 60% disabled with the Army….awaiting my retirement order. I understand that I will have my Army disability retirement pay offset by the VA compensation and my Army disability will be taxed. My question is, when are taxes taken out? Before the VA offset or after the VA offset? In my case, it’s about $640 per month difference. I also understand that when I turn 55 (in my case), I will receive CDRP; so it all comes out “in the wash”, but I’ve got another 6 years before I reach age 55. I’ve Googled whatever I can, when I can, but nothing I’ve looked up speaks to this question. My gut feeling is that I will be taxed AFTER the VA offset since VA is tax-free and it’s dollar for dollar offset. But it’d be nice to know going into retirement! Thank you!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Derek,

      Thank you for your service.

      Military retirees with a VA disability rating of 50% or more are eligible for Concurrent Receipt, meaning they receive 100% of their VA disability compensation and 100% of their military retirement pay. So you should not have any of your pay offset, based on what you wrote above.
      As far as how the offset works, I believe the VA disability compensation is paid out 100% and is completely tax-free. The compensation amount is then subtracted from the member’s military retirement pay, at which point the remaining military retirement pay is subject to tax. Again, this is my understanding of how it works, but it should be confirmed with DFAS.

      Best wishes!

  9. Sarge says

    I’m a 15yr retired tx national guard member, with a ngb showing unfit to serve for health.
    I also receive 50 pct from va.
    Will I qualify for crop or crsc?

  10. Scott Henderson says

    Of course concurrent pay should be allowed for the military retiree… Disability is based on just that, being injured in the line of duty. Retirement pay is based on giving at least 20 years of our life defending this country. They are two different issues and should be treated as such. I am not sure why this has not been corrected for all retirees.

  11. MATTHEW A BAER says

    I have a question about my eligibility for both my retirement pay and VA pay. I am medically retired from the Army after 17 years and I have a VA rating of 80%. Currently I have a VA offset and my question is if I apply for the VA unemployability and if approved would I still have a VA offset?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Matthew,

      I don’t know if there is a way to get around the offset if you are medically retired. There has been a lot of work to try and get Congress to change the laws, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet.

      Best wishes.

  12. Gabriel says

    Thank you for the explanation of benefits and the examples that include actual dollar amounts, it makes things simple to understand.

    I do agree with Victor, we should be allowed to received both 100% retirement benefits and 100% of what we are entitled as disability compensation. Retirement pay for an enlisted member after 20 years of service is hardly enough money to pay for decent housing these days and the wear and tear our bodies take from serving is no joke.

  13. Victor says

    All retirees should receive full retirement and VA compensation pay regardless of rating. Throw that offset garbage out the door.

  14. Steve R Retired USN says

    I firmly believe Concurrent Receipt should be across the board. I was evaluated at 30% disabled and have served 20 years. Now, my retirement pay, which I earned is offset by Disability pay. I feel this is an injustice to those whom have given the prime years of their lives to give up their pension to repay the VA. I know other veterans I work with in the civilian sector who have served, but not to the extent of retirement, who have served and are receiving Disability which exceeds my retirement pay.

  15. Jason says

    In regards to the scenario above, a 40 percent rating would reduce my retirement pay from $2000 to $1358.72. If I enroll in Survivor Benefits Plan, does accepting the VA benefits (40 rating or less) reduce my spouses SBP annuity payments since my new retirement pay is reduced? It’s not clear, and if it is, this would take hundreds away from my spouse if i were to pass away before her.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jason,

      No, receiving VA disability compensation would not impact the Survivor Benefit Plan payout to a surviving spouse. Surviving spouses may also be eligible for certain benefits through the VA if the servicemember died from service-related causes. 

      As far as decreased retirement pay goes, while receiving VA disability compensation of 40% or lower does reduce your retirement pay, you receive that same amount in tax-exempt pay from the VA. So there is no net decrease in total compensation. The portion that is tax-free actually results in a larger take-home amount than you otherwise would have had. If your rating increases to 50%, then you would be eligible for concurrent receipt which would provide you with your VA disability compensation and full retirement pay.

      So there is no downside to taking the VA disability compensation benefits.

      Best wishes.

  16. David M Long says

    Yes, I believe pay should be concurrent for all. Currently, retirees with a rating below 50% are penalized in comparison to other service members who are not retirees. I earned my retirement pay and I don’t feel it’s right for me to have to pay back what VA gives me, while non-retirees get to keep what they receive. And saying the funds are limited is a bunch of crap, considering the Covid bill that was recently passed by Congress which gives away money to many useless causes, approximately 90% of the 1.9 trillion dollar cost of the bill. I can live without the money, but I don’t appreciate having to pay the VA back while someone that only served a few years gets to keep what they get. Offset is unfair to retirees!

  17. Pepper says

    Hi, Wayne! I totally agree! Under Chapter 61 Title, it reads that if you were on the Permanent Disability Retirement List (PDRL) with 20 years or more Active Duty or Reservist with a 20-year Letter, you are not entitled to receive both VA compensation and Retirement Pay, you can receive CRDP which is so confusing to a lot of us Veterans. The “KEY” is you cannot be on the PDRL. This rule is totally not right for those who served this country which Congress should change this!

  18. CURTIS E HANSON says

    I believe you should both military retired pay and disabled VA pension . I was rated 30 %. That 360 .00 0ff set does not help me one bit but and extra 360.00 would. If the pays are equal choose on 100% DAV and Full retirement pay except the 401 could be added since people paid into it. Push congress to adopt this proposal. Thank you

  19. Ronnie Jennings says

    Yes I think all War Time Vetrans especially should be able to without a second thought receive there VA Benefits as well as there Military Retirement which they earned. The Problem is Career Politicians who start these Conflicts and Normally only Congress can Declare War. So Congress is who we should hold Accountable for not delivering on Our Benefits. Let them go and Fight the Next Arm Conflict or War.

  20. Jamie Thompson says

    I was at Walter Reed and I was medically retired days before my 19th year. I am 100% disabled and have unemployability status. My status of 100% was months after my discharge but backdated to the first day of va payment eligibility. Is there a way or should I already have concurrent pay. I’ve been informed by multiple sources that they retain you until your 20 if you’re that close. This did not happen to me. Any assistance would be appreciated.

    • Victor says

      The program was called Sanctuary. I believe it was to protect those who were over 18 years/close to active duty retirement.

  21. Jon Legato says


    Concerning cost of living increases. I learned that DFAS rounds down military retirement payments. When DFAS was unable to identify the authority, I found that H.R.4420 (1985-1986) ( implemented a round down rule for military retired pay.

    That bill’s purpose was to amend “… Computation of Retired Pay…” by lowering the cost of living increase increase year-over-year This is accomplished by Congress’ rounding down actions. Since I retired in 1999, this represents a loss of $752.51 in earnings.

    My suggestion for future articles would be to consider this so your readers have a fuller understanding as to why they’re not receiving their earned pay.

  22. Henry Goldeb says

    This is taken off the DFAS site: 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.

  23. Henry Golden says

    Good Morning, I would like to discuss and maybe be provided with an answer to a tax question. A veteran who retires from the military after serving 20 or more years and receives 100% disability from the VA. Should the retiree deduct military retired pay up to the VA disability and only pay taxes on the amount left over as IRS Publication 525 states or am I mistaken? Thanks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Henry, I don’t believe there is any deduction for VA disability compensation when the veteran has a disability rating of 50% or higher.

      My understanding is that military retirement pay is fully taxable at the Federal level, based on whatever tax bracket you happen to be in. VA disability compensation is not taxable. You do not make any deductions from your military retirement pay when paying taxes. 

      Best wishes.

  24. Mark Ensminger says

    Hello Sir,
    There is a small military service that seems to be overlooked. The U.S. Coast Guard. I served 20 years; eligible for regular (reg) retirement (rtmt), I was discharged with both a regular 20-year rtmt and a medical rtmt. Two different departments handled my rtmt. I was retired with a 50.25% reg and 60% medical rtmts. I believe the medical one was a chapter 61???. I was and am rated at 100% (Unemployable) 90% actual by the VA. The CG Retired pay office says I can only receive a maximum rtmt pay of the 51.25%. I cannot get the 60%. Ever. I’ve heard that if you are rated at 100% (actual) you are eligible under CRDP or other law(s) to receive all your retired pay, i.e. including medical amounts over your reg retired pay. I’m losing about $300 a month.

    Next; I’m reaching here. In the mid 1960’s there was a War started. Not Vietnam. The declaration went through Congress and was signed into law by the President Nixon. Stay with me now. A properly (as far as I can tell) enacted law remains law until it is changed. The WAR was “THE WAR ON DRUGS”.
    If this is all correct, All members of the U.S. Coast Guard since then that have been hurt fighting in this WAR can potentially be eligible for CRSC. All of your criteria below COMBAT criteria below describes everyday life of a Coastie.

    Armed Conflict / Combat: direct or indirect wounds that happened during armed conflict.

    Hazardous Duty: demolition duty, diving, parachuting, aerial flight, and more.

    An Instrumentality of War: An injury sustained from exposure to an instrumentality of war, 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: 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.

  25. Mark R says

    I’m retired from the Army National Guard with 15 years active and 6 years guard. I have 20% VA disability and am getting close to collecting my retirement pension this September 2020. I was in the process of increasing my disability and had an appointment to do just that and the Covid19 thing got my VA appointment cancelled. I was going to wait on putting in the retirement paperwork in hopes of increasing my rating to 50% or more. My question is if I were to submit my retirement paperwork now, to assure my payments just after my 60th birthday, how hard would it be to change my retirement if I do get my VA disability rating increased to 50% or more after the fact?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mark,

      It’s usually best to file a VA claim as soon as possible. The VA can only backdate your award and the pay to the date you file your claim. So waiting doesn’t do you any good.

      As far as your military pay goes, just file that when you turn get 60. The VA and DFAS will work together to figure out how the concurrent receipt works, if and you are owed back pay, they will compute everything and send it to you.

      Waiting to file your VA claim only ensures that your VA claim starts later and reduces any potential back pay you may have received from filing your claim sooner.

      Best wishes.

      • Mark R says

        Thanks for the help, which did help by the way. I have already submitted a update request to increase my 20% I already have. I hoping to get that magic number of 50%.

        I will wait a while for the Covid 19 to calm down and hopefully i can get a VA appointment soon.

        Thanks a bunch.

  26. David Macias says

    I’m Retired Navy of 22yrs and also 20% VA disabled.Are they now going to give separate checks now on retirement and va disability.They take 20% of my disability out of my retirement.(offsetting) Did they sign that into law .I saw that last week on military .com.They’ve been doing that to me since 2003 when I retired .I hope it’s true could surely use it.

  27. JC says

    Hi, I currently am receiving 40% disability compensation. . Soon I will start collecting my retirement pay from Air Force Reserves. . My question is if something were to happen to me. Would my wife get survivor benefits from retirement payment minus VA disability? I know she would not be eligible for my disability compensation, So I’m worried that she would miss out on. Full survivor benefits.

  28. Jim says

    I was medically retired from the AF with an 80% disability, I only had 9 years active duty when I was injured. Currently I am receiving 60% disability pay from the VA and a very small check from the AF. Since I was medically retired why don’t I receive both retirement and disability pay? also when I went to Wilford Hall for my disability board I was told VA would give me a 100% disability but was only given a 60% rating.

  29. Terry says

    Air reserve technician 35.5 years of service both active and reserve. Med borded at 50 % base chief master Sargent pay, combat related injuries. 100 % VA rated in 2014, am now 60 and they are still not giving me concurrent pay VA and retirement. Trying to correct through DFAS with no real help. Numerous hours wasted on lengthy waits with no real help. Who can I talk to to fix this? Very frustrating. I should by law be recieving both. Help please…CMSGT TK

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Terry,

      I’m sorry to hear about this situation. I’m not an expert on military medical retirement. It sounds like you should have otherwise qualified for military retirement, regardless of the med board. So you should be able to elect to receive the military retirement based on your service and not the medical retirement.

      Unfortunately, I don’t know who makes this decision or how it is recorded in your personal profile. My guess is that this is a DFAS issue. IF they can’t help you, then I would contact the personnel or human resources office at your former installation to see if they have an expert there who can help you understand how this decision is recorded in your records and if there is anything that can be done about it. I would also ask them if they are aware of how this process works once it gets up to DFAS and the VA.

      Beyond that, I’m not sure how to handle this situation. This is beyond my level of expertise.

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

  30. Wayne Howard says

    I am 100 percent va disabled. I had enough time for retirement from the AF. I received a med discharge with seperation pay. Been through the med board twice trying for retirement before I received 100 percent rating and social security disability. I am considering an attorney and going to fed court to get retirement out of the AF.

  31. RAYMOND D Fain says

    I do not think its right that me and many other vets are medical retired but cant get our retired pay because we have Va COMP.i SERVED 12 YEARS AND WANTED TO RETIRE FROM THE MILITARY.I AND OTHERS DID NOT ASK TO BE MEDICAL DISCHARGED WE WERE FORCED TO.

  32. Ron says

    So someone disabled at less than 50% is less important than someone disabled at 50% or greater. What planet does that make sense on. If a person’s disability gets to 50% or more he gets his retirement and disability, otherwise his retirement is reduced by the disability. Why draw the line? Disability is disability.

  33. Bernard Villanueva says

    Hello, I’m currently 100% VA and receiving full military retirement pay. I am also rated 20% for Agent Orange exposure by the VA. If I apply for Combat Related Special Compensation for the 20% AO exposure, how would that affect the overall compensations that I’m receiving now…..will i get more or less.

    • reginald strother says

      I have this exact question. I tried to call DFAS CRSC and they directed me to a website. If anyone can assist with this info, it would greatly help. I can not get a straight answer. How does CRSC approval affect my current situation.

  34. Richard Bea says

    Hello I need some help. I just received 100% disability. Will I lose my military retirement now. I am retired Regular Army 24 years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Richard, No, you will not lose your military retirement pay. You will be eligible for what is called Concurrent Receipt, which means you should be eligible for both your full retirement pay and the VA disability compensation. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

      • J. Valdez says

        I am in the same situation as Richard Bea. Do I have to fill out any forms to receive both my retirement and VA disability?

  35. Enrico Guiliante Jr says

    I receive 100% VA disability and zero of my 40% medical retirement from active Army and zero CRSC applied for at the same 40% active disability that states from the Secretary Of The Army that all 19 injuries and or conditions were due to combat and all fall under the requirements needed but my application submitted only contained my official ratings and injuries/illnesses as approved by the Secretary of the Army without medical documentation showing treatment in Iraq for injuries, etc. So why isn’t the Secretary of the Army official determination rejected by the Officer that was in Command who rejected my CRSC. Who intern asked me to track down past service members for statements. One people who are in places I have no idea.? Also, why don’t I get my 100% VA and 40%Army at same time automatic cause of same Secretary of the Army determination,? Sure could use it after 67 days leave they would not let me sell back and ALL travel money and advanced from Texas De was taken back by DOD even though I have 2 dependents and am 100% VA. What a shame. I also got my separation assess award in the mail with wrong name and years for my service

    • Enrico Guiliante Jr says

      Drowning after applying for CRSC, but denied although my DD214 and initial separation memo contains all the right authorizations. Do I have to prove I can’t breath cause of the burn pits in 03 to get the CRSC or does my duties and injuries as a gunner in 06 Iraq suffice. Oops.
      No cause some officer in that office of the Army several years ago denied a good legal claim, well put together packet and only worried about his OER and bottom line. What next?

  36. Corey Gamble says

    Back in 2016 I had a rating of 30 percent and with the help of a friend I did a request to have my rating increased and it was approved for increase finally later in 2017 and I was told that I would receive my increase and also get retro pay. It’s been over 2 years since I had my claim approved but up to this date I have received not one penny of retroactive so I am asking anyone who has went through this same situation what did you do to get your problem resolved? Thanks in advance!

  37. Michael Rayborn says

    I am medically retired at age 59 with 33 yrs service and 20yrs 7 months active duty. I recieved 80% dod rating and 100% va. I recieved my first dod check at 75% of base pay. When dfas recieved my va rating they reduced my dod check by $1285.00. I was told during the my discharge that i would receive both full checks. Why did i get reduced. Everything was service connected and combat related.

  38. Robert l. Shaw says

    I am Air Force retired with 40% disability retroactive to may 2018. The rate is active 1 November 2019. How can I get the credit for the entire year of $684 for 2019. Instead of receiving about $1400 untaxable for 2 months, I should get approximately $8200 intaxed money.

  39. Jeff says

    I have a unique situation and have a few questions. I receive VA Disability pay of 100%. I recently left Federal service with retirement contributions being rec’d.

    Can I waive military retirement pay and retain retirement benefits for FERs?

    Service credit of $13,000 was paid and oh military service and FERs time combined are 13.5 years.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jeff, this is a question that is best directed to your FERS human resources office. They can help you best understand your current options and see which situation will be best for you. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  40. shawn says

    hello every one! I have been trying to find out what’s coming the deal with medical retirement and retirement.


    At 18yrs AC Navy forced to medically retired at 100% and with combat injuries that will exceed 30%.

    So does that mean I get the high-3 and 100% VA?
    18×2.5= 45% base pay
    100% VA = 3200 or so.

    Everything is so unclear.

  41. John Bond says

    I have a service related Knee replacement. At the time(6yrs ago) of the knee replacement I didn’t file a claim. I found out through an associate just recently and reading I could’ve gotten 100% disability immediately after for up to 1 year from the knee replacement. Can I go and file retroactively?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John,

      You can file a claim, however, I do not know if the VA will reward your claim going that far back. They will usually award retroactive pay from the date you file your claim, or your date of separation from the military if you file within a year of leaving the military. I do not know if they will award back pay going back 6 years.

      You can always contact the VA, your county Office of Veterans Affairs, or a Veterans Service Organization for assistance.

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

      • Jerry F says

        If you win your VA claim they will only pay you from the “date you filed” the claim. Unless you are within one year of your discharge. Then and only them will they grant you a earlier effected date. In other words of you were discharged in January 2019..and waited until June to file claim. If you are granted claim they will date it day after your discharge in January 2019. However if you don’t file until February 2020 ..13 months after you were discharged, the award will only go back to February 2020 and you lose a year of retro payments.

  42. Ronald Dotson says

    All retired Veterans should get full retirement and full VA disability payments regardless of the percentage of disability. What is law that needs to be repealed so I can start hammering my states Congressman and Senators to support repeal.

    • Greg McLean says

      Ronald Dotson, amen brother. I served my 20 years and retired honorably and was awarded a disability percentage less than 50%. I have earned a separate retirement check AND disability check. As the law stands now, any retiree getting less than 50% is paying for their own disability out of their retirement check. Let me know and I will join this fight with you.

  43. John Owens says

    Ryan Guina, The Law is not hard to follow. Active Duty 20 years of service or over, eligible to receive both retired pay and VA, Reserves or Guard age 60 or reduced age for deployments after the deadline of 2008. People get it all confused. The law reads you have to be eligible for your retirement pay by other means besides the disability to receive retirement, does not matter if DOD says you are 100%. People also have to know that VA and Med Board % is completely different. Va is anything that is disabling, Med Board is only for fitness to stay in service. Everyone points to the 50% number by DOD, but it has nothing to do with drawing both checks (DOD Retirement and VA disability) which are totally different, but Government says they are the same.

    John Owens, CMSgt, Chapter 61 Retired USAF

    • Ryan Guina says

      Thank you, John.

      There is a lot of misinformation floating around from barracks lawyers who (probably) mean well, but don’t have the story straight. That’s why The Military Wallet exists – to help get the word out there.

      Thank you for setting this straight.

  44. Scott says

    Hi Ryan, I am uncertain about a VA Waiver being deducted from my retirement pay on my pay statement.

    I qualified for military Retirement with 3 yrs 11 mos active duty in Marine Corp and 16 yrs 3 mos active duty in the Army for 50% of base pay.

    I was permanently medically Retired in 2003 at 70%. (I was medically retired under a stop loss.)

    I received a VA disability rating of 80%.

    For the first few years after 2004 I saw my VA waiver decreasing but then it stopped decreasing and DFAS is still reclaiming about 37% of my VA disability under a VA Waiver.

    I understand I will not be getting the 70% medical rating under CRDP but instead, be getting the 50% regular retirement.

    Will this difference be reflected on my Retiree Account Statement as a VA Waiver or should that have been calculated out of my Gross pay.

    Thank you in advance for any insight you may be able to lend me.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scott,

      I don’t have a good answer. If you are receiving the 50% regular retirement, then you should be receiving concurrent receipt for your VA disability compensation, provided your VA disability rating is higher than 50%.

      If that is not the case, then you will need to work with DFAS and the VA to discover what the issue is and correct it. You may need to work with a veterans benefits counselor who can help you review your case and intercede on your behalf. Organizations such as the VA, DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, VFW, and similar organizations have trained benefits counselors that may be able to help you.

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

  45. Sara says

    Hi Ryan! I’m trying to understand IRS publication 525 and how it relates to Retirement Pay and VA Disability Rating taxation. Is retirement pay, shown in box 2a of Form 1099-R, taxed at 100% or is the tax percentage reduced by my VA disability rating, which is 60%? Meaning, since I have a 60% disability rating would I only pay tax on 40% of the amount shown in Box 2a of Form 1099-R? Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Sara, Thank you for your question.
      VA disability compensation is non-taxable. My understanding is that you should only be taxed on the amount of money you received from your military retirement pay. The IRS should not tax you on 100% of the military retirement pay if you only received a percentage of it.

      That said, if you have a 60% disability rating, you should be eligible for Concurrent Receipt, in which you receive both your full military retirement pay and your full VA disability compensation payment.

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

  46. Scott says

    OK, here is my situation and questions. I have a combined 32 years in service, 20 year letter (Army National Guard), 60% VA rating combat related, was found not fit for duty for something other than my VA disability. If I am medically retired will I draw my VA and retirement now? Will I draw my National Guard pay now or upon reaching age 60? Is my medical retirement based just on the condition that made me unfit or will it include my other disabilities?

    Thanks for any help or advice,

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scott,

      This is a more complicated question than it may appear to be on the surface. The Med Board can come back with different results including immediate retirement under active duty rules (immediate retirement benefits), or they may decide you should be retired under Guard rules (retirement benefits at age 60).

      The 30% combat-related disability rating may qualify you for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Benefits. If so, that may impact your retirement pay.

      In short, there are several potential outcomes. I recommend sitting down with your personnel office or with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA, your county VA office, or a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors who can offer individualized assistance.

      I wish I had a better answer, but there really won’t be a firm answer until you receive the results from the Med Board. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

      • John Owens says

        Jerry, being retired as active duty has no effect on you getting your retirement pay immediately. Your options are – the Med board gives you 30% or whatever percent combat, and other % noncombat, the combat portion will be paid by CRSC, all items in your medical records will be looked at by the Med Board. I don’t know the numbers for CRSC. You could then be eligible for CRSC and VA.

        If they decide none of your disability is Combat then you are on the CRDP, which means you cannot draw retired pay until you hit age 60 or the age for deployments in 90-day increments, counting down your age by 90 days. This is what the Chapter 61 Retirees page is trying to fight. Everyone thinks if you are awarded 50% or higher you get both pays and you do not.

        Go to the Army webpage for Chapter 61 retirement. Read it VERY carefully. It states you have to be eligible for retirement through other means than a disability, so 20 years or age 60. Just another way for Uncle Sam to Screw us. I know I am on a rant, sorry. Chapter 61 Active Duty retired CMSgt 17.5 yrs active duty 26 for points as a USAF reservist.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Scott, Each situation is unique (depending on the outcome of the Med Board). I recommend speaking with your human resources office or your finance office for more information. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  47. jerry says

    I have 34 years service, active and national guard. I have been found unfit and in the process of being medically retired. I also have disability rating of 70%, in the process of getting it increased. will I draw both retirement and disability?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jerry, Each situation is unique (depending on the outcome of the Med Board). I recommend speaking with your human resources/personnel office or your finance office for more information. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

    • John Owens says

      Jerry, You will not be able to draw retirement and VA, unless you are able to receive normal retirement from Reserve or Guard, usually age 60. Military retired pay under 20 years active duty or being age 60 for reserve or guard pay, anything below that is dollar for dollar offset of retirement pay for VA disability pay. Find the Chapter 61 on facebook, they can help explain all this..

    • Tony Yang says

      if you get a separation pay, you will have to return it before you can draw your VA benefit. or wait until it’s garnished from your VA disability to pay in full. you cannot begin collecting any money from the VA if you got any form of separation pay from the military…e.g. medical or severance

  48. scott says

    Can’t get a straight answer for the following anyone point me in the right direction where I can hopefully

    I served 10 yrs active duty then went into the air national guard after a 15 yr break have served in the guard as a drill status guardsmen for 10 yrs have reached a combined 20 yrs my retirement pay won’t be till I turn 60 yrs I’m still in the guard with 4 yrs to go before I turn 60 their may be a MEB started on me I’m at 90% disability from the VA if I get meb prior to my retirement age how does that effect my guard retirement and VA compensation also note of that 90% 30 percent is combat related

  49. Corey says


    I have a question regarding the MEB Process for someone under my conditions:

    -Status: Traditional Guardsman with 22 years service (still in)
    -VA status: 90 total VA disability roll up (70% PTSD, 20% back, 20% neck, 10% knee, 10% hearing) all combat related.

    Put simply, I’m just DONE…Simply struggling to put in in a word.

    For someone like myself with what I have shared how will the MEB work? I already have my VA ratings and decisions with write ups?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Corey, This is a great question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer. Each MEB process is unique, and the outcome will vary by individual circumstances. Since you have 22 years of service and already qualify for retirement, you will most likely be recommended for retirement.

      However, what I can’t tell you is whether or not the MEB will recommend the traditional Reserve retirement or if they will recommend retirement under active duty status – the difference, of course, being when you receive benefits. If the MEB recommends the Reserve retirement you would receive benefits (pay and healthcare) at age 60 (or slightly earlier for pay if you qualify for an early retirement based on activations after January 2008). If the MEB recommends an active duty retirement, you would receive retirement benefits (including pay and healthcare) starting the month after you retire.

      I wish I could tell you which type of service or medical conditions would qualify for an active duty retirement, but this isn’t something I have insight into. I have asked around and the folks I have spoken with at the personnel office have said they don’t have insight into it either – this is something solely determined by the MEB. I’m sure several factors come into play, including the type of injury, how and when the injury occurred, and your status at the time of the injury. But I don’t have full insight into this process.

      I recommend speaking with your personnel / human resources office to see if they can provide additional insight, or at least point you in the right direction. I hope this is helpful, and I wish you the best during this process. And of course, thank you for your service!

  50. Charlie Brown says

    Ok so what I understand here is congress hates the military and don’t tell me they don’t. I WAS 80% disability rated, retired active duty for 20yrs. The VA ******* up my paper work after six years in retirement and with no notice cancelled my disability and cut my retirement down to 731/mo. And after reading this article where in the living hell is my spending power?!!!!! Why are they connected?!!!! Why are vets having to pay for their own disability?!!!!! It’s bull****!!!! So now I’m out 2500/mo because of this double dipping rule because VA doesn’t know how to schedule appts. So much for our govt caring about us vets. Plus calling to figure this mess out I had to call 12 times. Was blatantly hung up on 4 times, put on hold 3 times. When I finally got through I was given another number to call only to leave a message with no response in two weeks. I have three kids and one is autistic and then this happens. This country uses its volunteers for corporate greed and then dumps us back home only to take away. How is this bill a reality?! Our govt is failing us on all fronts, red and blue alike.

  51. David Kincaid says

    I have 19 years served and receive retirement plus my disability compensation at 100% . I am being deducted my retirement pay from my compensation. Are they supposed to be doing this or am I entitled to the entire amount?

  52. AJ says

    I was on an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) for the last 13years. I just got medically retired ( 50% DOD/ 50% VA). I have 13 years active (as an AGR) and 8 years guard ( as a traditional). I have a 20 year letter but it is for the guard( as a traditional). Will I get both retirement pay and VA based on CRDP. If not what will I be entitled to.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello AJ,

      You should be eligible to receive Concurrent Receipt when you are eligible to begin receiving retirement benefits at age 60. In the interim, you should be eligible to receive VA disability compensation. Please note, your situation may be different if you received severance pay when you were medically retired. If that is the case, then you should contact DFAS.

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

  53. Godfrey Butler says

    I’m retired after 23 years of service and receive a monthly pension of approximately $2800 for my service. I’m also 100% disabled and receive $3500 monthly from the VA. Based on my 100% disability, should my retirement pay be exempt from federal taxes?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Godfrey, So far as I am aware, military retirement pay is never exempt from federal taxes based on a disability rating. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  54. Ronald Eberhard says

    Jim Thompson echoes the situation effecting him, me, and thousands of other VA service connected retired service members who continue to fund our own service connected disability, simply because our VA disability rating in less than 50 percent, and our service connected disability does not qualify as “combat related”. This is what happens when our military retired pay is REDUCED or offset by the amount of our VA disability check. It’s time Congress did it’s job and pass the legislation that would provide for CONCURRENT RECEIPT FOR ALL retired service members who are also receive VA disability compensation. End the disparity and end the offset. Stop kicking the can down the road, citing “funding issues”. Retired veterans ARE IN FACT penalized due to the continuous delays by Congress. It is so hypocritical to continue to delay funding on behalf of this group of proud veterans.

  55. Jim Thompson says

    We have ALL Presidential Candidates Promising Free Health Care and Benefits for Illegals (people who have done NOTHING for America except break our laws). Yet our own Government cannot live up to the promise they made to us, Retired vets with over 20 years of service. Not only do we have a situation that pits retired HAVE Vets against the HAVE NOT Vets. I guess the HAVE NOT Vets service is less worthy and their sacrifice was not as great as the HAVE vets. If you served over 20 years of active service drawing a full retirement (you should get YOUR FULL retirement (Period). If you get a VA disability rating, no matter what the rating is, you should receive that in addition to your full retirement. The way they have it now, the Retired Vets with over 20 years of service and a disability rating of less than 50 percent are cheated out of about $8,500.00 a year. Like I said, I guess that is just fine with everyone because the HAVE NOT Vets service was less, honorable, less valuable, less meaningful and less essential than the Retired Vets with a rating of 50 percent and over. This needs to change, what is happening is not equal and in fact penalizes Retired Vets with ratings of less than 50 percent.

  56. Jason Nelson says

    Good morning-

    I appreciate both the article, and the time you have taken to answer all these questions! I understand that I’m most instances these cases are nuanced to the point of confusion, yet the information provided has been been presented in such a way as to allow for the extraction, or at least key words, for just about everyone. Great job, and quite selfless, so thank you!

    Sadly, tomorrow I will be told I need an MEB due to a recent hip reconstruction. I have 17 years in, with many of my injuries (including a serious heat injury) resulting in both permanent pain, and disability. Under the description you provided, I am unsure as to what each injury will be chalked up to, and how they will be handled (for compensation purposes).

    My question is- I heard in the last few weeks that they had changed laws so that those of us with X amount of years will be eligible for both VA and military disability. As I currently have an indefinite contract, I know I had the intent to complete my term of service, and I would have received both in three years anyway. Is this true? If not, do you see any changes coming in the near future to correct this disparity?

    Thank you in advance, and I will be bookmarking this page for my Soldiers benefit!


  57. Bill says

    Good evening,

    I retired 31 May 19 from the Air Force after 26 years. I received my disability rating letter in the mail 14 June stating my percentage and benefits are effective 1 June. My question is on the first payment date of disability. I am being told I don’t receive anything 1 July and my first payment is 1 August and that I should have retired a day earlier to get the payment for June. It seems as they are skipping a month of disability. I can’t find anything stating you miss a month when you retire. Do you have any info on this? Thank you

    • Frankie says

      I have the exact same question (with the exact same retirement date as you too)! Funny thing is, there is no option to “retire a day early” because all retirements dates are effective the first day of the following month. I’d be disappointed if that eliminated a month of service-connected disability pay. I’m going to follow this to see if we can get a straight answer here.

  58. David M Miles says

    If a veteran is 100% disabled and unemployable, do they still receive both their retirement income AND their VA Disability compensation?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, If the retiree earned a standard military retirement (20 years), then yes, they should be eligible for both their military retirement pay and disability compensation. Concurrent receipt allows for the retiree to receive both his/her military retirement pay and disability compensation at ratings of 50% or higher.

      I hope this helps. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  59. Sgt (retired) Thomas says

    Every retiree should receive both. Because we was medically discharged does not mean we did not want to complete 20 year. We was forced out because of our disabilities. It is bad enough we feel like we failed everyone who depended on us and to not be compensated for our efforts make us feel worse. It need to be addressed that if they give us permanent retirement they should give us lifetime pay regardless of years served because we did not choose to quit we was told they will not allow us to continue. So it is not our fault. We deserve to be compensated as well. Regardless of years served because we got injured due to serving our country and some of us can not find any other employment after getting retired from the service. So our families and the service member who served best as they could have to suffer because they was told “we will not allow you to continue, you have to get out “ totally unfair to the retirees who tried their best but got hurt along the way to 20years but did not make it but almost half way. So I believe if the military deem a service member permanently retired they should pay them CRDP as well.

    • David M Miles says

      I was missing the first 10 years of my medical records, and still claimed medical issues from that time period. I underwent a pretty thorough physical at the VA interview, with imaging, and had several follow-up appointments with specialists to verify the conditions. Most of them were approved.

  60. Jerry says

    Ryan, I just recently retire with 23 years of military service. I have been rated 100% totally and permanent disabled (still employable). Am I entitle to full retirement pay and full 100% disability payment? For example:
    $2900 retirement ( noted as CDRP on LES)
    $3400 va disability

    Or a combination of both with a lower payment? Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jerry, It sounds to me like you will be eligible for concurrent receipt, meaning you would receive the full retirement pay and full VA disability compensation payment. You can contact the VA and/or DFAS to verify this.

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

  61. Robert A says

    My father, deceased late last year, was a 26 year veteran of the USAF with a 30 percent disability rating. He had appealed the rating and we were just notified that the rating has been changed to 70 percent effective three years before his death. He paid taxes, with his spouse of 60 years, on the retirement pay that was at the time full retirement less a 30 percent VA disability nontaxable benefit. He was not eligible for concurrent payment but would have been with the new rating of 70 percent for the past three years. we are expecting a payment from the VA for retroactive disability. The question is whether now that the disability rating has changed and he was eligible for concurrent payment do we also amend his last three years of tax returns with his spouse?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert, I am sorry for your loss.

      This is not a situation I have come across before.

      Once you have the VA Disability award letter from the VA, you should reach out to the DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting System) office to inquire if they need to amend his previous retirement pay and/or his W-2 or 1099-R forms.

      Since he would have been eligible for concurrent receipt, his estate may be eligible for additional retirement pay (I am unsure how this works).

      If DFAS amends any of his pay forms, then I would assume you would need to file amended tax returns. It may not be a bad idea to contact a tax professional for assistance if this isn’t something you have experience with.

      I wish you and your family the best during this time.

  62. Johnnie G says

    Very good article, you are very knowledgeable on the subject. I’m a 25 year retired veteran, receiving full retirement pay and 80% VA disability compensation. I also own a Tax Preparation business. My concern is that over the last few years I’ve seen correspondence from government employees referencing IRS Publication 525 informing veterans receiving both payments that not only is their VA pay is not taxable, but 80% of their retirement pay is not taxable either. I agree that Pub 525 should be clearer, specifically the section on military and Government Disability Pensions. Have you encountered this recently? No matter what section I read, the retirement is fully taxable if receiving the tax free VA check. Am I missing something ? I’m planning to contact the IRS directly for clarification in hopes of final validation.

    • Heather says

      Hi Johnnie,

      I’m not the author but I am an EA, so I can answer your question. You are correct, the retirement is fully taxable. The emails going around among retiree and govt. workers are false – someone is interpreting the law 100% incorrectly. Publication 525 is just a laymen’s summary of the tax law that states VA disability is nontaxable. Most of our military retiree clients are getting concurrent receipt – fully taxable retirement and fully nontaxable disability. There is no need to amend anything, as the VA and DFAS have computed everything correctly according to their VA ratings. I even have had a client that used an unscrupulous preparer to amend 3 years of federal taxes. The IRS denied the claim, and the client had to pay back all money received from state amendments.

  63. Larry Iloff says


    I am about to have total knee replacement to my right knee which is service connected at 10% now. I understand you can receive 100% for up to 1 year then get examined after that year where you will receive 30% minimum for the knee replacement. I receive retirement pay, will they suspend my retirement pay during the 1 year that I receive temporary 100%.
    thank you

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Larry, this is a good question. I would think you would receive Concurrent Receipt, which would give you both the VA disability compensation and your full military pay during this period. Concurrent Receipt occurs when you have a rating of 50% or higher. That said, I always recommend verifying pay issues with the VA and with DFAS. Best wishes for your surgery and recovery!

    • Charles says

      My understanding to getting Temp 100% after surgery is to make sure your doctor has put that info in your order upon discharge, but the doctor has a criteria that your leg or knee surgery has to meet to get that temp 100%. I worked as Veteran Service Officer for a few years, and have seen only a few cases to which a knee surgery got Temp 100%.

  64. Mary Letizi says

    I think disabled veterans should receive both. Currently, I receive disability pay from the VA. I did not expect to go through what I did and my disability is very personal. Although, many women in the military has had similar experiences to my situation.

  65. Juan Lobo says


    I have a 100% service connected disability + 21 yr retirement. I’m receiving both VA disability and my full retirement (dual receipt). Many of my service connected disabilities are related to combat.

    Question: Is there any benefit applying for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)? A fellow veteran of mine in the same exact condition stated that you can reduce your tax burden on your retirement check with CRSC. This is based on the percentage that is combat related. For example; if half (50%) of your service connected disabilities are approved by your service for combat related, you would receive half (50%) of your retirement check tax deferred.

    BTW, you would also continue to receive 100% of your VA disability + retirement checks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Juan, I admit I am not a full expert on CRSC. But I believe that is a true statement, according to DoD guidance:

      See the following quote –

      “TAX CONSIDERATIONS: The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) has determined that all CRSC payments are exempt from Federal income tax under section 104 of title 26, United States Code.” Source –

      From what I can see, there’s really no downside to applying for this.

      Best wishes, and let us know how it goes!

  66. Ted says

    I want to know if I was medically retired and I’m 80 percent VA Disability which program can I claim to get both checks. Right now I just have a waiver and getting just the VA. I went up to 60 percent in 2015 and 2019 80 percent. Yes under 20 years

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Ted, Those who are medically retired from the military are generally given the option of VA disability or military medical retirement pay, whichever is higher. I do not believe you will be eligible to receive both forms of payment.

      That said, each situation may be unique. I recommend speaking with DFAS, the VA, or your the personnel or human resources office at your local base. Any of these organizations should be able to provide additional information on your specific situation and advise you of your benefits.

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

  67. LB says

    I recently was told to amend my tax returns based on something in IRS PUB 525 and other related publication. I receive a military pension and a VA Disability. My percentage is 90%. What I was told is to contact DFAS to have withholdings changed based on I would only have to pay tax on 10% of my Pension income from Federal income tax. My state doesn’t tax Military pensions. This sound great but maybe too good to be true. How would one learn about this rule and who do you check with? Thanks for any assistance.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello LB, I would contact a tax professional in your area and ask if they are familiar with these situations. If so, I would hire them to amend your tax return for you and help you verify you need to change your withholding with DFAS. You should be able to handle the withholding change at DFAS with a phone call.

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

  68. JC says

    Hi Kermit, I am looking at my 2018 1099-R and it only lists the my total annual retirement pay on block 1 (Gross Distribution). Which year of your 1099-A combined both your retirement pay and your VA disability pay? Could it be an error?

  69. Kermit Westfall says

    Everyone agrees that Military Retirement Pay is taxable and Disability Pay is not taxable. Is everyone aware that both pays are reported on the 1099R as one amount, not separately. The question is, how much should I report as taxable on my Federal Income Taxes when I file. I receive $2,000 per month in retirement ($24,000 annually) and $950 per month in disability ($11,400 annually). The total amount on my 1099R is $35,400. All of these figures are estimated as I do not have the exact figures in front of me this hot second. Lastly, I have a VA Disability Rating of 50%. Do I pay federal taxes on $17,700 ($35,400 X 50%) or $24,000-just the retirement portion? Also, what is the correct way to report these amounts on the Federal Taxes?

  70. Gerald says

    I retired in 2005 after serving 20 years. I was awarded 40% disability. Multiples injuries while serving in the Army. It is a slap in the face to be told your disability pay will be deducted from your retirement pay when a veteran that serve only two years is paid for disability in full. It’s time to change the system.

  71. Mark Moulden says

    So basically what your telling me is that I (with a rating of 30%) will lose my VA disabilty check when my retired pay kicks in? Offset or not. I will lose the $275. 00 per month. Nice Work Congress.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Judd, Thank you for your question. No, I do not believe it is possible for a military member to receive 100% base pay for a medical retirement. There are special formulas involved, so it would be best to run your specific situation by your finance or personnel office.

      That said, it may also be possible to receive VA disability compensation in addition to retirement pay, but again, there are stipulations about this. In some cases, it makes more sense to take the retirement you have already earned and also apply for the VA disability rating and compensation.

      Each situation is case by case and you need to have someone help you run the numbers for your specific situation. You can have someone help you do this on base, or through a veterans service organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc.

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

  72. Robert Riley Jr says

    Military Retiree receiving retirement pay. My VA compensation pay of 60% just got approved. Will I get both retirement pay and VA disability Compensation?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Robert, Military retirees who have a disability rating of 50% or higher are eligible for Concurrent Receipt, meaning the retiree will receive both their full retirement pay and full disability compensation without any offsets. So yes, it appears you will receive both.

  73. Rudy Lopez says

    My father-in-law retired from the Marines in 1975 and had a VA disability rating of 30%. His military retirement pay was offset by the amount of compensation he receive from the VA.

    Recently Dec 2018, he was awarded 80% VA disability and back dated of Aug 2018, but now he is concerned that the VA withheld the rest of his VA back pay until a DFAS audit to see if I will be awarded any CRDP back pay. As of yet, his retirement pay was never offset since the new VA rating and has seen no change in monthly military pay. Should he be contacting DFAS to resolve his pay inquiry?

  74. Trista Kirby says

    i received Military retirement pay for two months while waiting for my VA claim to be processed. My VA disability pay in now greater then my retirement pay, so I now only receive VA pay. With me being back paid on my VA to cover the two months I got retirement pay, is the two months or retirement pay tax exempt? If so what form do I need to show this when filing my tax return?

  75. Maureen says

    Hi Ryan, Excellent article!

    I was just awarded a 90% VA disability and am retired military. My VA date of entitlement is February of 2018 and I retired in 1993. My VA back pay was very small compared to hat I was expecting, I haven’t received my Notification Letter yet (been a week so far), I’m concerned the VA withheld the rest of my VA back pay until a DFAS audit to see if I will be awarded any CRDP back pay. From what I’ve read on CRDP, it only affects those that retired within 6 years of their VA eligibility date, which is well past that 6 years in my case. I’m assuming I will not receive any back pay from DFAS for CRDP, but do you know if I would still receive the rest of my VA disability back pay (they withheld approximately 9 months of VA back pay).

    Also, once they see I’m outside of their 6-year rule, would they just send it back to the VA with no back pay entitlement through DFAS? My retirement pay was never offset since I waited until last year to file my VA claim. Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Maureen, the VA will only award back pay to the date you filed your claim (or your retirement date if filed within a year of retiring). It’s possible the VA made the correct back payment amount, since you waited so long to file your claim.

  76. Bill says

    I am 100% IU VA Disabled Vet I only did 16 years prior to injuries, so I don’t get retirement plus VA, just the VA but my question is I also got CRSC when I was 90% when the upped me to 100% IU my CRSC stayed the same amount, but I’ve been told it was supposed to raise also? I’m not complaining by any means just asking?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Bill, I’m not 100% certain, but I think it might be due to the fact that there is a difference between 100% IU and 100% schedular. The schedular rating means that is the true rating based on the combined VA ratings. IU is Individual Unemployability, which means the actual rating may be lower, but the VA has determined the veteran is not capable of maintaining full-time work. So they pay the veteran at the 100% rate, even though their actual rating may be lower.

      This is only a guess on my end. The VA customer service department should be able to provide full details based on your specific situation. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  77. Phil Karns says

    How would my retirement pay getting offset by my VA disability compensation eventually affect my spouse, once I die?
    Would the amount she is entitled to as a spouse decreased or be affected in some way?
    This is hypothetical since I not “rated” yet by VA and I’m 58 so not drawing my Reserve retirement yet, but just tying to figure best route to go so as to no negativly impact what my wife would end up with, eventually.
    I tend to think it would not affect what she would bentitled to but can you confirm?

  78. Jason says

    I have recently retired and have been issued a 100% disability rating from the VA. I understand that to be non-taxable. My question is, does that also include retirement pay as being non-taxable?


    I was forced to go through MEB by my commander which resulted in being found unfit for duty, and being Permanent Disability Retired (PDR) at 16+ years of service. After being awarded my 50% military disability rating and my 100% permanent and total VA disability rating I get informed that I will only be able to collect my VA disability and none of my military retirement, even though I was forced to undergo the MEB process by the chain of command. I really hope someone out there realizes how disrespectful it is for someone with multiple combat tours and 16+ YOS with a squeaky clean record to not be eligible for any of his retirement all due to being forced out involuntarily. Leaves a definite sour taste in your mouth about your service that those in charge don’t see my service as worthwhile enough to receive some compensation for the time I did serve. 16 years or 20 years, I didn’t do this to my body… it was incurred through my service and some sort of ‘thank you’ would be wonderful… and not a damn Meritorious Service Medal.

    • Charles Flowers says

      I agree 100%. I was medical retired 60% and I am 100% VA. I had less then 20 years of service and had planned on going 20. I had to get out when they decided I was broken. I did get CRSC in the large amount of 199.00 bucks a month. That goes real far with a family of 4.

      • Sgt (retired) Thomas says

        I did the same. I did not get CRSC. I think that all military retirees should get retiree pay because we do not choose to get out we are forced out because of a disability we couldn’t control. It do not only effect the service member but our families as well. It seems like a punishment to not be able to complete service that we wanted to but couldn’t because we got hurt in the process.

  80. Marta Bengal says

    I am retired military and also receive VA Disability compensation. I would like to get a part time job to supplement my income. Will my disability compensation be terminated if I get a job? Thank you.

  81. Debbie Jackson says

    What if you medically retire how do a medical retiree got into this equation? And are they eligible to receive both VA compensation and Retirement compensation?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Debbie, Thank you for your question. In most cases, military members who are medically retired before reaching 20 years of service have to choose between their military retirement pay and VA disability compensation.

      The best thing to do is contact your branch of service’s personnel or human resources office or the VA for specific information about your case. They will be able to look up your profile and give you specific information and answer your questions.

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

  82. ronald h. owensby says

    I started drawing my reserve retirement in 2OO5. I was just awarded 1OO% service connected disability do I get to draw both va disability and va compensation for the 1OO% va disability.

  83. Chris Berryhill says

    Is CRDP only for veterans who retired with 20+ years? Because I was medically retired after 10 years in service with a 90% VA disability rating. So would I be eligible for both forms of payment?

  84. William Mills says

    I retired and met MEB at the same time from the Army getting out at 50% later on to receive 90% from VA which increased to 100%. They have been taking a VA Waiver since 2009 and I need an understanding of why they are still taking this out even after my rating changed.

    Thank you

  85. James M says

    Retirees with a VA rating under 50% are getting ******* over actually. I retired as a E-6 so my monthly pension is is a bit over $1800 and with a 30% VA rating I get roughly $503 a month compensation. With the offest of that amount being tax free, I might be able to buy a meal for myself at Mcdonalds once a month.

    It amounts to being nothing but a huge waste of my time.

  86. Bob Costello says

    Well this explains why is 2004, I all of the sudden got 15% better than I was the year before and dropped from 50% disability to 35%.

  87. Angela says

    My father retired from the Army in 1986, Purple Heart recipient. I just did his VA disability claim and he is now 100% disabled due to dementia connected to traumatic brain injury and PTSD, that does not include the other service connected ratings that he got. I want to make sure that I understand correctly what this article is saying. So he will receive both is retirement and his VA disability because he is over 50%? Or am I not understanding this article? I have been doing his claim by myself and have been learning as I go. I didn’t know about the combat related had to be filed with the Army. Please respond and let me know or point me in the direction to find out for sure. Thanks

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Angela, Thank you for your comment. Yes, based on the information you provided, he should qualify for both his retirement pay and the full VA disability compensation based on his rating. The VA should be able to provide more information regarding when the disability payments should begin.

      I recommend working closely with the VA regarding his care and his benefits. If you need additional assistance, I recommend contacting a veterans service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, and similar organizations. Many organizations have trained benefits counselors that offer free benefits claims assistance.

      I wish you and your father the best.

  88. Eric says

    If I am receiving 50% disability and retired from the National Guard with 23 years of service do I have wait until age 60 to still receive my retirement or can I start getting it now?

  89. Joel says

    GREAT article. However, under the section titled “The Value of Concurrent Receipt is Enormous”, you have a small error in the summary sentence. The difference isn’t quite as high as you state, because the $641.28 restored to the retirement pay is now taxed, whereas in the initial case it wasn’t. Still a HUGE benefit, but not quite as high as you state. The difference would actually be $10,821.96 – $641.28 * (Tax Rate). Might also be slightly less than that if having $2000/mo taxable bumps you into a higher tax bracket than having $1358.72 taxable.

  90. Roger nelson says

    Question 1. What is the va waiver?
    Question 2: if you dont sign a va waiver will I qualify for crsc or CRDP?
    Question 3 do I have to fill out a va form to qualify for crsc and crdp?
    Question 4 can you receive BOTH crsc and CRDP?
    5 How do I get in contact with someone who can help? Tried calling army dfas and no one could help

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Roger, Thank you for your question. This is too complicated to be handled by email. I recommend consulting with a trained veterans service officer who can offer customized claims assistance and recommendations based on your specific situation. 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.

      The best thing to do is to contact a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization. They have counselors who offer free, individualized claims assistance.

      Here are some recommended organizations.

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

  91. Lorraine Millican says

    I was active duty fr 21 years. My military retirement is reduced by th same amount of my disability pay. I’m 80% disabled. I contacted th paycenter twice n they gave me some bs reply. I’ve been too sick to persue this until just recently. Should I see a lawyer?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Lorraine, Thank you for contacting me. I recommend first contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors who should be able to assist you, often free of charge. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  92. Dean Siegrist says

    I believe that if you earned a retirement and “earned” a disability while serving your country, you should receive both and not be penalized. It’s just wrong to think that you served all those years and then are forced to take a reduced amount because of a disability (that you are receiving compensation for).

    • Michael says

      Yep. My GF served 2 years and wound up with a busted shoulder from having a missile fin nearly sever her arm. She gets 80% VA disability at a rate of around 1600 per month. I served 20 years, retired, and have a VA rate of 80% and I make the exact same amount she does. I retired in 2008, and even then I was offered either retirement pay, or disability. They said you couldn’t double dip. So…here I am 11 years later making the exact same as someone who only did 2 years. Doesn’t seem right, does it?

      • THILL says

        Michael – you should get your full retirement plus an additional 80% if your disability is service connected/related. Go back to the VA and have them give you the correct amount, it sounds like you are owed 11 years worth of back pay for the CRDB. That is a sizeable amount of money!

    • JOHNNY R ADAMS says

      Compensation is for the injury!
      Retirement is totally separate!
      It shouldn’t even be a question.

  93. Rob Moore says

    Before I retired, I was divorced from my wife of 22 years. The divorce decree states that she receives 43.5% of my retirement pay. If I am approved for VA compensation, will her portion of my retirement pay be reduced roughly by the amount of VA conpensation? I know this is a unique question but any legal precedence been set in these cases?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rob, Thank you for your question. There are legal precedents for these types of situations. However, divorce and military retirement benefits are extremely complicated and vary by state. So I strongly recommend contacting a lawyer regarding your situation.

      From what I understand, VA disability benefits are not considered military retirement benefits, and should not be split during retirement. But how that impacts military retirement pay can depend on state law, the divorce decree, and other factors. This is especially applicable if there is an offset to military retirement pay.

      Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. You will need to consult with a lawyer that specializes in military retirement and divorce.

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

  94. Bet says

    It seems in 2004 they agreed to change the law but isn’t it still discrimination when it applies to 50% and above. You earn your retirement and now you pay for your disability through your retirement because your under 50% because of government funding. Oh, and the saving in taxes is lost if your state taxes your military/federal/SSI income.
    What happens in the private sector? SSI disability is tax free.
    Well, at least we did get a retirement and not like the military now (Jan 2018) paying into a 401K for their retirement. Unbelievable.
    Election time… we might just look up those representatives supporting veterans.

  95. Eugene says

    Hi, I retired from the Air Force last year after 20 years. I was awarded 100% T&P from the VA and currently receiving full retirement pay and VA Pay. Question for you is that I have 2 disabilities that were combat related and also have the medical records that state so. One combat related disability was awarded 40% and the other 20%. I don’t have anything being offset in my pay, so I was wondering should I apply for CRSC or would it do me no good to apply?

    Thank you and I appreciate your help.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Eugene, Thank you for your comment. I am not certain if it makes a difference, since you are already rated 100% disability and receiving both full retirement pay and the disability compensation.

      However, there may be some benefit to being rated with CRSC. I would contact a benefits counselor at the VA or a Veterans Service Organization. They have trained counselors who should be able to help you better understand what difference, if any, it would make to have the CRSC designation applied to your claim. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  96. Geo says


    I am 23 1/2 year retired Navy Vet, collecting retired pay at 80% CRDP disabled VA pay. I was working but just recently had to resign due to medical reasons. I had a surgical procedure that is preventing me from continuing to be employed. How do apply getting 100% disability and my retirement through the VA?

  97. Ronald says

    Hi, I retire from the NC Army National Guard in March 2017. I ‘m 100% total and permanent disability from the VA. I ‘m 55 yrs old and did 36 yrs of service, i want to know if i qualified for CRDP.

  98. Yvonne Dent says

    I did 17.5 years Active Duty Army and was medically retired May 2001. I did 11.5 years as enlisted (SFC) and 6 as an officer. Retired as a Captain. I was medically boarded out. I fought to stay for 20 but failed. I have been upset and disappointed since then. Payment from the VA is insufficient to sustain me monthly after dedicating so many years. I just received 100% P/T but it’s still no different. I thought of filing a lawsuit but hate to do it and waste money that I don’t have. There has to be a way for better compensation then lose the case. I was so darn close to 20..and can’t survive on the measly $$ I receive monthly.
    Please..any ideas?? Thank you so much

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Yvonne, Thank you for your question. I am not an expert in this area, and I’m not sure what can be done. I recommend speaking with a veterans benefits counselor at the VA or with a Veterans Service Organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, VFW, American Legion, etc. They have counselors who offer free claims assistance customized to your needs. I wish you the best of health and thank you for your service!

  99. John Doty says

    I am a military retiree that I have my VA payment Offset from my military retirement pay. I just received a letter that said I have an overage. How can VA take money from me when I pay my own VA check with the offset.

  100. Joe says

    I have over 20 years of service but I only have 6 as a commissioned officer. I am probably going to be medically retired due to several injuries/surgeries. My question is since I am over 20years and it is the military telling me I need to retire and it is not my choice to retire do I still get my O3E retirement or can they say I didn’t meet my 10years commissioned service and retire me at my former enlisted rank?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joe, Thank you for your question. This is a situation I don’t have a firm answer on. There are some exceptions to the 10-year rule. I recommend speaking with your base legal office about your options. They should be able to walk you through your specific situation and help you understand your options. In particular, you want to ensure you understand whether or not you will be receiving a medical retirement, or a traditional retirement. Whichever you receive may impact your retirement pay, and/or ability to earn retirement pay in addition to VA service-connected disability compensation. There are a lot of moving parts, and it’s essential you have someone who can walk you through your situation as the details become available.

      It’s also worth contacting a Veterans Service Organization for assistance with your situation. They may or may not be able to assist you with this specific case, but they can help you with your transition and any subsequent claims for veterans benefits, including a VA service-connected disability claim. Here are some VSOs that offer trained benefits counselors that can assist you (often for free).

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

  101. Jonathan says

    I was medically separated today after 22 years and am hearing conflicting numbers when it comes to VA and retirement. I was rated at 80% for DOD and 90% by the VA. I’m trying to figure out what my budget will be and it’s getting confusing.

    One side of the aisle says I will get my 55% retirement for 22 years plus my VA comp.

    The other sides says that because I was rated so high my retirement will be 75% of my base pay and I will still receive VA comp.

    I was always under the impression I had to choose. Either 75% of my base with no VA comp, or 55% with VA comp.

    My plan was always 55% base pay with VA. The retirement services representative told me 75% base pay and VA comp will be paid.

    His reasoning was there was a ceiling as to how much you’re allowed to make based off of your rank and so on. If you haven’t reached your ceiling, retirement is escalated up to 75% until you do. For those at 100% VA comp, their retirement is reduced from 75 because both maxed out exceeds the ceiling.

    None of it makes sense to me and everyone has a different answer.

  102. Pat Colby says

    First off ~ Thank you for taking the time to address the concerns of Military members!

    My situation is also rather unique.

    I’m retired with 20+ years of Service and receiving the appropriate (normal TIS) Pension.

    I’ve been provided a 50% VA disability CRDP payment for the past 14 years. No issues there.

    I’m a couple of years away from being eligible for Social Security. Since I’ve paid into this program my entire life, I’m pretty sure I’m eligible to receive normal Social Security benefits. Not Disability, just the routine Pension.

    Can I draw regular Social Security on TOP of my current payments when I reach retirement age? Will my Pension or VA check be offset/effected?

    Thank You for your response.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Pat, Thank you for contacting me. Your military retirement pay and you VA disability compensation do not impact your ability to draw Social Security Retirement Benefits or change your Social Security benefits beyond regular Social Security rules.

      For example, your Social Security Benefits may be taxable if you earn over a certain amount of income. But your earnings won’t otherwise be impacted by your military retirement pay or VA disability compensation.

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

  103. Rob says

    I am Retired Army Soldier (non-medically) with 24 years of AD Service since 1 OCT 2017. I just got my decision packet in the mail on 19 JAN 2018 with a 90% rating.

    I am happy with the decision but very confused about the wording in the packet. In the “We Have Withheld Benefits” part, it says I am not allowed to receive full military pay and full VA compensation at the same time.
    Then, it says, if your VA Compensation is less than retired pay, which mine is, you will receive compensation payments. The Service Department will pay the difference between your compensation and your retired pay. Then, it says, “FOR NOW”, we must withhold part of your compensation until 1 JAN 2018. We must do this to prevent a double payment. By working together with the Service department, we will make sure you get your full combined payment.

    In English, what does this mean? Will I get retro pay from 1 OCT 2018 to the first day I became a Veteran. This is not a simple explanation that a normal person can understand.

    Finally, when you get Special Military Compensation Pay, is that a separate Direct Deposit from the VA Compensation or is it one transaction? Again, not a simple answer can be found. Anotherwords, do you get 2 separate direct deposits on the first of the month.

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Rob, Thank you for contacting me. My understanding is that the VA needs to verify your information with DFAS to verify you should receive both the full retirement pay from DFAS and your full disability compensation payment from the VA. In some cases, a debt from the member, severance pay, or a certain disability rating may require the VA to withhold payments. It sounds like you won’t have this issue, and it seems like the VA just wants to verify this before they send you a payment that could potentially increase a debt. The VA should provide back pay from either the date you filed your claim, or your retirement date. You should be able to verify all of this by calling the VA customer service line. They should be able to review your case and give you the official determination and an estimate of when you should receive your disability compensation and the estimated payment. If there are any disconnects, then you may need to coordinate with DFAS (but the two agencies typically work together to get everything straightened out).

  104. Justin says

    I am a reservist with 14 years 8 months. I have a 40% VA rating and just received word I am being put no the Permanent Disability Retirement list. Will I receive the 40% va disability pay and the PDR pay at the same time, or will 1 of them be cut short by the other

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Justin, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have the answer to this question. I recommend working closely with your personnel or human resources office to find out what your pay and benefits will look like when you retire. It would also be a good idea to work with a Veterans Service Organization when filing your VA service-connected disability claim. Many VSOs have trained VA benefits counselors that offer free benefits claims assistance. Check out the DAV, VFW, AMVETS, American Legion, or a similar organization. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  105. David says

    I just received 100% permanent disability retirement after my MEB. A friend told me that the VA cannot give me less than 100% VA disability rating because the military gave me 100% PDRL. Is this true?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello David, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t know the details of these rules. I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization for assistance with your VA disability claim. Many of them have veterans benefits counselors that offer free benefits claims assistance. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  106. Tim says

    I retired from Air Force in 2006 and my disability grew a couple years ago to 50%. I was receiving retirement and VA disability.
    My condition just worsened, I just jumped to 100%.
    The letter the VA sent stated If your VA compensation is greater than your retired pay, we will pay you compensation, and you will not receive retired pay.
    Does this mean I will stop receiving Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP)?
    I will actually receive slightly less compensation and am unable to continue in my current job. Double whammy.

    • Tim says

      Update from DFAS.
      It takes up to 120 days to compare all the numbers and make everything correct.
      Because I am already receiving CRDP I will continue to receive and because I am already receiving it should only take two to three weeks to finish the review and make everything correct.

      It’s a shame that they have to write such vague letters. If they know all of the information then it seems to me, after reading other posts on here, that they could send a more complete ‘This is your situation’ letter without all the ‘This is the law’ language but you may qualify for some of this other stuff. Seems to me they would already know.

      God bless you all and thanks for your service as well.

  107. M.C.W. says

    My husband just went from a 30% disability to 100%. The VA has already reimbursed him back pay from April to present. The VA was originally taking money out of his retirement and making a portion of it tax free. Now he should be receiving both retirement and VA in full amounts. My question is, although the VA has begun paying him the 100%, how long does it take for his retirement to be received in it’s full amount? And do they reimburse back pay for the difference in rating as well?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello MC.W., Thank you for contacting me. You will need to contact DFAS, the organization that runs military pay. Provide them with a copy of the VA award letter and work with them on the pay issue. They should be able to answer any questions you may have. I wish you both the best!

  108. Maj Fuad (0-4) says

    I am being retired medically within a short period of time. The following are the facts:
    Total service (all AD): 22 years
    VA disability ratings: 100%
    DoD ratings (MEB): 70% (combat related)

    My question is how much would I be expected to get paid (VA and DoD combined?
    I appreciate your response.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Maj Fuad, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have the ability to answer your question – there are many factors unknown to me based on your comment. In addition, military medical retirements are complicated and each situation is unique. The only way to answer your question is to sit down with your personnel or human resources section and have them run the numbers based on your situation. You could also contact DFAS or the VA, though both will probably only want to comment on their own portion of your benefits. Finally, you could try visiting a Veterans Service Organization. They have trained counselors who may be able to assist you free of charge. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service.

  109. Vincent Buotte says

    I just received my 20 year letter, with 4 years Army active duty, 3 years Army reserves, and almost 14 years Army National Guard. Which would be 21 years total service. I’m currently on the MEB medical board. They offered me 60% for Army. I receive 100% VA compensation = 90% with unemployability. Will I receive both with CRDP? 2010 deployment in Iraq. Service connected.

  110. curtis bailey says

    I am a 20 year retiree with a 70% VA disability, if I receive a 100% VA disability rating and the 100% compensation is more than my retired pay compensation will I receive both or have to forfeit my retired pay. Example retired pay $ 1,525.00 and VA compensation at 100% $3,078.11?Would I receive $4,60311 or $3,078.11?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Curtis, Thank you for your question. A 20 year retiree should already be receiving both the full retirement pay and full disability compensation once they have a disability rating of 50% or higher. So yes, you should receive both. If this is not the case, then please contact DFAS or the VA to get the bottom of this.

  111. Alex Connor says

    Great written article. Thank you for taking the time to provide such valuable information to a handful of service members, those who gave the best years of their lives serving our nation; just to get lost in the waves of bureaucracy.

    My short story: I am in the National Guard, injured my back and neck in May of 2015 during an Airborne exercise on the weekend drill with my unit. My 6 years contract with NG was supposed to end this month but I had to extend for another year because I just initiated the “medical discharge/retirement” process. (It took 2.5 years to get a signature, of course). I just finished my (C&P) exam last week and I guess the process is moving forward.

    I found so many helpful information on the web, however, it’s only talking about submitting your claim within a year of separation, or as soon as possible after separation to be eligible for back-pay (if possible).

    My question is: I am still in the service and currently going through the medical process, do I get any benefits at all? when does my effective date starts?

    *I already found unfit for duty.

    Thank you and God bless.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Alex, Thank you for contacting me. The VA generally awards a disability rating based on the date the claim is submitted. So that may the case for your situation. However, I’m not 100% certain on this, and I’m not sure how that would impact you if you were awarded back pay, since you would need to choose to waive your military or VA disability compensation for the dates you would earn both on the same day.

      So I’m not sure how things would work in your case. I recommend working with a veterans benefits counselor at a service organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained benefits counselors that offer free claims assistance. They should be able to help you.

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

  112. Jorge I. Gomez says

    I have received an audit error worksheet from The Board at the VA with two different time period calculations; one begins August 2013 until November 2016, the other from April 2010 until April 2017 and yet both calculations come up with the same results: $65,450.61.
    How can this be correct? If I’m being paid regular retired pay and VA disability, why the payment for both, in the calculations, show same results and why they don’t start from 2004/2003? Or even before.
    My disability process, due to destruction of records and denials after denials by the VA, started in 1991/1992, but now approved. Since my disability claim covers since 1991, shouldn’t my VA disability back pay be more along with my retired pay? I had been told by several agents at the 1-800-827-1000 that when my case was decided it would be retroactive to 1991/1992 and yet the two different calculations, one with an error but no explanation as to how the error occurred.
    I thank you in advance for any help you can give me. My Texas Veterans counselor hasn’t helped me with these questions. I have to answer with VA form 21-0958 dated 20 July ASAP.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jorge, Thank you for contacting me. Unfortunately, this isn’t something I have experience with. This requires hands on assistance. If the Texas Veterans counselor isn’t able to help, then I recommend going directly to a VA counselor or to a different veterans service organization, such as the DAV, AMVETS, American Legion, etc. They have trained counselors and offer free veterans benefits claims assistance. You should be able to find someone who will be able to assist you.

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

  113. Bryan Bursiek says

    I am retired with 20 my years 3 months of service effective 1 Nov 16 and just received my rating of 80%. I was told my retro can take up to 6 month the VA benefits packet I received in the mail says my original award date is Nov 1, 2016, which is my effective retirement date. The DAV rep told me a claim still has to process thought DFAS for SBP and if I quality to receive both. My question is will I still receive my initial payment on July 1 2017, which I haven’t receive so maybe August 1, 2017 will receive both July and August. Not sure how the retro will work as the rep said it can take up to 6 months. Also the benefits letter stated we have withheld benefits as you are not allowed to receive both full military retirement and full VA compensation at the same time. I thought this was not the case anymore unless they are still using wrong verbiage. Any help would be appreciated as I was told I should still receive my full military retirement and VA compensation once it starts up.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Bryan, My understanding is that you should be eligible for concurrent receipt based on your disability rating. I would contact someone at DFAS or the VA if a portion of your pay is withheld for any reason.

      Regarding payments – it can take a little time to get the payments started because the VA has to coordinate with DFAS and then they have to be in the system by a certain date in order to meet the monthly pay deadline. The VA is generally good about processing back pay, though it can take a little bit of time. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  114. CW4 James Payne says

    I currently have 31 years with the Army Reserve and will be retiring in 4 more. I also currently have 40% disability due to diabetes (discovered after I returned from a tour in Kuwait in support of Enduring Freedom 2011 – 2012) and for arthritis (found in 2010 after a tour in Iraq).

    Now I’m not sure these could be defined as training related or not. Could you enlighten me on this situation.

    Thank you

  115. Carl Von Hinken says

    Hello Ryan- Thanks for the info and assistance you provide.
    My question is this:
    I recently had my left knee replaced related to a service connected disability. Working with my VSO, I applied for a temporary 100% rating because of the replacement and a permanent increase from the 10% I was getting to 30% disability on that knee. I received a letter from the VA indicating approval of that, but that I can not get my military retirement and full disability at the same time. I interpret that to mean that for the 13 months I’m getting 100%, I won’t get any retirement pay.

    Can that be correct?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Carl, Thank you for contacting me, and I wish you a speedy recovery!

      I am not familiar with this situation. I recommend asking the VA for the regulation behind this so you can verify and read it for yourself. You can also verify with DFAS or contact a Veteran’s Service Organization for a free benefits review to better understand this situation. Some organizations that offer free claims assistance include the DAV, AMVETS, American legion, etc. I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

  116. Frank Young says

    YES. If you are going to pay 50% and up concurrently and paying non-retirees with 40% or less the full amount that did not retire, how is that a fair system. Doesn’t retirees with 40% and less still deserve the compensation that non-retirees with 40% or less get. What’s wrong with this picture. Why is my 10% service connected disability not as important as a retiree with 50% VA compensation and an military veteran with say, 10 years service and 10% disability. The laws need to be changed to to make this a fair system.

  117. John says

    Hello Ryan,

    I just transitioned out of the Air Force with 9 years of active duty on April with a medical retirement of receiving TDRL “Temporary Disability Retirement List” with a 50% VA Disability. Found out in the past that only 20 plus years retirees are eligible to receive CRDP if VA Disability is 50% or more. Was wondering since that’s the case, I get a VA waiver of the 50% rate on my RAS statement which deducts my retirement amount. Does this mean I only receive only the deducted retirement pay of $526.22 or do I also receive a check from the VA of $838.64 as well.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello John, My understanding was that you would receive the greater of the military medical retirement pay or the VA disability compensation. But military medical retirement is a tricky topic, and one I am not well versed on. I would contact DFAS to have them review your case file and give you personalized feedback. That’s always the best in these situations. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  118. William says

    I had been awarded an increase from 20 % to 30 % after an appeal spanning 6 years. When I inquired about back pay from the VA I was told many things but the one that ****** me off was to amend my last 6 years of tax returns.

    No one seems to know a law enforcement or a correct answer that can be verified. Help please!

  119. Carl Soto says

    Hello, I was medically retired after 7 years from the service and was given a 40% rating from the Army and was receiving a retirement check. I later received a rating of 60% from the VA and was informed that I cannot receive both. I had to choose between my Army Retirement pay and VA Disability Compensation. I choose the VA Pay since it was a greater amount and is tax free. My question is since I am rated over 50% with the VA, could I now receive both Disability Compensation and Retirement?

    • chris says

      Yes you will get them both. you will not be taxed on all the money you will not be taxed on the Disability pay.

      • Hilary says

        Similar situation to above. I was medically retired at 17.2 years (ouch). The military rated me 60%, the VA rated me 100% total and permanent. When I went to finance to complete my paperwork I was originally told I was entitled to both payments. Then I was told I could only receive one. I chose my VA money. But, I was also told that I would begin receiving my Military Retirement pay when I was 62. I’m a little lost. I understand CDRP, but I don’t understand why I would be entitled later. And if the gentlemen is entitled to receive both VA and Retirement, am I?
        Thank you so much for this site and your insight!

  120. Tracey Cain says

    I am a civil service employee (FERS) considering buying back my military time. I receive a retirement check that is offset by my VA disability check. I am 30% disabled. If I am no longer receiving military retirement pay, do I also lose my disability pay?

  121. James says

    I currently receive 100% VA Individual Unemployabilty Total and Permanent disability. I have received it since 1999. I received my Reserve retiree 20 year letter for retirement at age 60 back in year 2008. Since I am currently receiving 100% VA IU, do I have to wait until age 60 to get my CRDP?

  122. Walter Gibson says

    Hi I have a question my retirement date was Jan 1, 2017 21 years of service, and I was awarded 80 percent disability on 27 March 2017. When should I receive my back pay. 1 April everything was sent off for audit. Thanks

    • Bryan Bursiek says

      Walter did you receive your pay as I am in the same situation with 21 years of service and 80% rating. Not sure when I receive my monthly payments or my retro payment.

  123. Darnell Dixon says

    As a honorable retired 20 year Navy Veteran, I paid my dues and earned my full Navy retirement check. I am currently at 30% disability. Therefore, my retirement check is offset, and I feel like that is not fair.
    If any retired military person is at 50% and above, their retirement check is not offset, what makes them get a full retirement and disability check?
    Are 50% disability retirees any better than 40% disability retirees? I believe we also should get both full amounts, don’t offset a person’s retirement check and talk about the portion being tax free. That is a bunch of bull. Once again, let’s be fair and equal.

    • JoeAH says

      I feel you, I am in the same situation now. I fight 2 years plus to get a rating of 30% and they tell me that I mark on my Document to get retire check instead of disability. I don’t know all the answer, I though it work this way if you a honorable retiree and serve 20 years you get your retirement check. Now I apply for disability and got award 30%, my retire pay still look the same. If I am making $1900 retire check -Disability of 30% say $470, should equal to $1430 is tax and the $470 is not tax is this correct on this statement. Now the hard question going to thru the disability phase of this that took over 3 year is there any backpay for those three years? Where is the compensation here help me anybody.

  124. Mike D. says

    Hello Ryan,

    I just retired back in November and have been receiving my pension for 20 years of service. In January I was awarded 100% disability through the VA which I have been receiving half of what i was entitled to. As of this month I noticed on mypay in the notes section that I am entitled to CRDP which totaled to the other half of my VA disability. So am I to receive that other half too and if so who pays it DFAS or VA? I only ask because I don’t see any pending payment to me for that amount

  125. Jeff Hanke says

    Seems to me that it is a simple matter. I earned my retirement pay by giving 27 years of service done and done. I earned my disability compensation during that time of service and it is compensation for a reduced quality of life. Both were earned and both should be paid in full. My pension should not be reduced by the amount of my compensation. In reality I get my full pension but I lost my compensation. The tax savings is minimal because the compensation is not taxed anyway.

  126. Mike says

    Hello Ryan,
    The VA recently notified me I have been overpaid on my 30% military disability pay. They are correct, and I’m about to pay the debt in full. My VA disability pay is offset from my military retirement pay. So, once I pay the VA, will I receive an equivalent (minus taxes)”refund” to my military retirement pay, since DFAS was overpaying the VA (with my retirement pay) during this period?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Mike, Thank you for contacting me. I haven’t heard of the VA refunding the taxes. I don’t know if they do that or if it is even possible. You would have to contact them to verify. Sorry I don’t have a better answer.

  127. Kimberlin Bain says

    My question is about my military retirement. I am currently awaiting to be put into the MEB. I just received my 20 yr letter, I have been told I should be getting 100% and 100% from both the Army and V. A. Ratings. Will I receive both checks or will I have to apply for my Guard retirement at the age I will be eligible. Also will I be eligible for CRSC with all my injuries are combat related.

    Thank You

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Kimberlin, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer for you. These situations can get complicated very quickly, and I don’t want to give the wrong answer. I suggest setting up an appointment with your human resources office to get an overview of how your benefits will work, and what you can expect in retirement. It’s best to get everything in writing (or get references) when possible.

      This will give you the official sources for your situation, and give you references for the future. I wish you the best of health, and thank you for your service!

    • mack says

      Kimberlin, you stated that you just received your 20 year letter, so you will only get 50% of your Base Pay for the Army Retirement.

      Your VA Ratings are 100% then you would get the 100% Disability through the VA, however, if you are a M-Day Soldier and not AGR, then yes, you will receive your Retirement pay when you turn 60, unless you were Deployed after 2008, and get part of the time towards Retirement Pay to be added (Which means if you were deployed for 6 months you may be able to get 6 months set into your Retirement meaning you would start getting that pay when you are 59 and 6 months.)

      Since you have 20 years, and VA Ratings then you should put in for the Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP), so your VA check is separate from your Retirement check, plus since you are retired with 20, those two checks would be paid separately, and not be joined together i.e. $3,791 100% Disability (VA), and $2,283 (20 yrs as a SFC/E-7 @ 50% of Base Pay). You would have to check your RPAM to see your points and what your retired pay is supposed to be.

      • Ron says

        Hello Mack. My situation is similar to kimberlin and NG retirements have been shot around the target but you zero’d in really close. I have 22 total years service and 12 are AD. The others are NG.

        I am rated 100% PTSD as of 2017 this year which is now P&T and no additional evaluations. I have a NG retirement letter and the order. Problem is I’m 41 years old. Can’t get paid for retirement until about 59 with tour offset.

        Do I apply for CRSC and let them determine if I am eligible for it? It reads like the other CRDP will be determined for you at the point of applying for CRSC. Also, I have the urge to apply for Social Security since I’ve been rated P/T for ptsd and not working. This came from 30% anxiety in 2011 to 70% ptsd, then 100% IU…then regular 100% PTSD P/T all in 2017.

        Thanks in advance

  128. Eric says

    Good morning. I have a VA rating of 50% and it looks like the military will be requiring me to go through a MEB and PEB. If the army decides to medically retire me, will I be allowed to collect both VA and my military retirement compensation even if they Army Reserves medically retires me? Thanks

  129. Joseph Kearns says

    I retired 1 November 2016. My VA disability claim date is 1 Nov also. I received a rating of 100% permanent and total. From what I understand my compensation should be retroactive to 1 Nov. Today when I logged into Ebenefits and searched payment history the amount that is scheduled to be paid is no where near the amount that I calculated. Would there be any reason that my VA compensation would be effected by my Military retirement?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joseph, Thank you for contacting me. The best way to know for certain is to contact the VA. They will help you understand everything. You can also read your VA disability award letter. That gives the effective dates for your disability rating. For example, if your claim was made in multiple parts, then you may have a rating starting on your retirement date, then a higher rating starting on a different date.

      Finally, disability is paid a month after the fact. So the benefit for the month of November is paid in December. If you receive back pay in February, it should be for 3 months (November, which would be paid in December, December, paid in January, and January, which would be paid in February).

      Finally, there can be a little bit of time while DFAS and the VA get everything sorted out. It’s not uncommon for the pay to take a couple months to settle in. They are usually good about making up any required back pay, but it may not be immediate.

      I hope this points you in the right direction. If not, then definitely give the VA a call. They will be able to explain everything and help you correct any problems that may exist. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  130. Thomas Ferri says

    Retired in 1981 after 20 years with US Army. Applied for VA Disability for several medical problems after retirement and was granted 50% service connection. Have been receiving monthly payments from DFAS and from VA (CDRP) since award. Reapplied for additional VA rating due to Agent Orange related conditions in 2002, repeatedly denied through courts for 15 years until recently when I won my Agent Orange appeal against the VA in appeals court they finally agreed my medical conditions were service connected (Vietnam 68-69), however, stated 0% additional rating regarding payments . Agreed to another exam and meeting with board at VA. After couple weeks, today I received packet stating I now had another 70% disability ratings for my Agent Orange appeal. Further that I get nothing for back pay because I can’t receive a VA payment and full retirement?? Also, the letter from VA says nothing about the 50% rating I had from previous VA awards? Shouldn’t the 50% and 70% be added together for a new rating? I expected back pay from 2002 after winning my Agent Orange case. It seems that I should be getting a considerable amount of back pay (2002-2017), but again VA states can’t get two payments from DFAS and VA . I won my case but gained nothing for the rating increase. Shouldn’t the VA provide DFAS with their final decision for audit? Some thing seems very wrong with this VA decision after my 15 years of battle with them. Please help!

    • Rita Conley says

      My situation is like yours. I have been 60% and filed for compensation for another situation. I was awarded another 10%. Now I have a letter stating that I can not get both VA and DFAS. It states on my letter that I am now having my case audited.
      I hope you get your back pay. You deserve it.

      Rita Conley

  131. Joseph Spence says

    I have a question on the off set option. I am initially rated a 30% rating with several other part of the claim being deferred for further tests. I understand how the off set works but what happens when the effective date is all the way back to 1 Jan of last year? Are you suppose to get that back pay? Just confused on how that works.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Joseph, Thank you for contacting me. Yes, I do believe you should receive back pay to the date you filed. However, I’m not sure how that works when you have already been paid through DFAS. You will need to contact DFAS or the VA for specifics.

  132. Suzanne Thompson says

    My husband was medically retired in 2012 from the military due to being injured in Iraq in 2010. (Sent to Walter Reed and placed in WTU) He was deployed with a national guard unit and had served 12 years active and the rest national guard time for a total of 23 years. He was told he doesn’t qualify to receive both military and VA pay since he didn’t serve 20 years active duty. Is his correct? Also, we pay monthly for SBP which entitles me to half of his retirement when he passes but he isn’t even receiving retirement pay. We are just confused and want to make sure it’s correct!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Suzanne, Thank you for contacting me, and I’m sorry to hear about your husband’s injuries. I pray he will make a full recovery.

      Military medical retirements are different than a 20-year military retirement. I believe the retirement pay for medically retired military members is the greater of VA service-connected disability pay, or the military medical retirement pay (determined by military disability rating, years of service, base pay, and a special formula).

      Your husband’s unit (or another unit close by) should be able to show how the numbers work and which retirement pay you are receiving and why. Each case needs to be looked at on an individual basis.

      If your husband is receiving VA service-connected disability compensation in lieu of retirement pay, then it could make sense to pay for the Survivor benefit Plan if you are not receiving military retirement pay. This plan is like an insurance plan and will ensure you would receive 55% of his military retirement compensation if he predeceases you. There is no provision that would allow you to receive any portion of his VA service-connected disability compensation. So if you want to guarantee some future cash flow, the the SBP may be a good option for you. Not everyone elects to pay for SBP if they have sufficient life insurance or will not need the retirement pay. Each situation is unique, and I would encourage you to run the numbers and make sure this is a benefit you wish to continue paying for if you find it meets your financial planning needs.

      I hope this is helpful. I wish you and your husband the best!

  133. Lawrence Frontz says


    I just began to receive 10% disability. I have seen and understand the reduction in retirement however, if I was to pass away, what happens to my retirement for my spouse? Does she receive the lower amount (I realize at spousal rates), or will my retirement go back to the normal amount. In other words, will my taking the 10% hurt her in the long run if something happens to me?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Great question, Lawrence. VA disability compensation stops on the day the veteran passes away. Then the Survivor Benefit Plan starts. The SBP is based on the base retirement pay. It is not impacted by VA disability compensation benefits. A veteran’s spouse will receive the SBP based on the amount of retirement pay they were receiving when they died.

      I hope this answers your question. And I hope you have a long time before you or your spouse need to worry about this!

      • Sassy Smith says

        However their is a form you and the spouse have to fill out and get notarized, so you are giving permission for him or her to keep reviving the benefits from the sbp. It is something that is pretty new. My husband and I had to sign it in March, 2017. What person in their right mind d would not sign it.

      • David Gonzales says

        If the SBP payment is based on the amount the deceased Retiree was receiving we are talking about the reduced amount caused by the offset. Or does it mean the SBP is based on the Retiree’s Military Retired pay before the offset began?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Hello David, Thank you for your question. The Survivor Benefit Plan only applies to military retirement compensation, not VA disability compensation. So it is based on the amount of retirement pay the veteran has earned prior to any deductions or off sets. I hope this is helpful. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  134. Edmanuel says


    There is a question above that does not have an answer and its literally the same questions I have. Dale Johnston on October 26, 2016 at 4:16 pm asked “I am in the process of being medically retired from the military at 40%. I also have a claim pending for VA disability. If my VA claim hits that magical 50% or greater, would I be eligible for CRDP, or is that just for retirees that went the full 20 years? Thanks.”

    My wife will likely be medically retired this next year and she will be on her 19th year. Do you have any advice or answers to the question?

  135. June Greenlaw says

    My husband served in various capacities in the military for over 30 years. Unfortunately, he was medically retired shortly after he returned from his last deployment to Afghanistan due to a cardiac event that took place while taking a PT test. His total active duty years only added up to 17.5. His disability is rated at 90%, but classified as permanent and total. Initially we received both his full retirement and va disability. About a year after we started receiving payments, they stopped all retirement payments stating he wasn’t eligible for both because he had less than 20 years. I called to ask about it and was told to stop asking because they might make us pay back what we received. We were told he could apply for crsc. He did and it was denied. He has 30% for his heart and 70% for PTSD as well as several other smaller ratings. Crsc said he had to send documentation to prove his disability was combat related. How do you prove PTSD was combat related? The va said all his disabilities were service connected and medical records show ptsd is related to his last deployment. Apparently they want a specific event that caused his trauma. Any advice?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello June, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have personal experience with these types of claims. I recommend contacting a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors who can assist veterans on an individual basis. I hope this points you in the right direction and I wish you and your husband the best!

  136. Tom says

    Question please, I retired after 22 years of active duty, went through an MEB and was given 90% by the VA, I am eligible for CRDP and My retirement check from what I understood wasn’t going to be reduced by the VA waiver because of my 22 years and my disability amount. but DFAS is taking out 469. out of my monthly check calling it a VA Waiver. I thought this was inaccurate but wanted to do my research before I take it to DFAS to see about getting it removed or fixed.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Tom, Thank you for contacting me. We have an article on Concurrent Receipt, and it doesn’t seem like your pay should be withheld at a 90% service-connected disability rating. The only thing I can think of is if you received a medical military retirement instead of a regular military retirement. I recommend sitting down with a veterans benefits counselor at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, AMVETS, etc. They have trained counselors who will be able to review your specific situation and explain your benefits and offer advice. I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

    • Doug Strand says

      I was in the same boat. I received a DoD medical retirement of 80% even though I had only served 20 years (50%) toward a normal retirement. The extra 30% in disability pay I received was withheld. I presume the same thing happened to you.

  137. jeral shelton says

    I think, overall, the biggest question I have is as a military retiree (pension and tricare) how is the VA helping me? At the end of the day, due to tinnitus, the VA gives me 10%, which I lose $113 net a month from my pension. Of course, I know this lowers my taxable income; however, I don’t think not be enough to see a difference during tax time.

    Frankly, I’m a little gun-shy from re-submitting my claim for my back, because I do not want lose more of my net pay (e.g. anything under 30-40% will be taken right out of my pension.


    • Sara says

      If you are a regular retiree with a rating of 50% or higher, you are entitled to your DoD Retirement pay AND all of your VA Pension. They should not be offsetting each other.

    • Shannon Cheeks says

      The amount that VA offsets from your retired pay should still be coming to you in form of an additional payment (one from DFAS and one from VA). Until you arrive at the magical 50% disability rating, you will receive 2 partial payments totaling up to the amount of your full retired pay.

      The offset amount will come out of your retirement pay, but the total of both payments should add up to your full retirement pay. If not, you should contact DFAS, VA or both and work out a retroactive payment.

      Taking this information into account, receiving a disability rating of say 40% will still help you at tax time. A higher amount of your retired pay will be tax-free. If you can get to 50%, you will receive full payments of both retirement and disability.

      Hope that helps.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jose, Thank you for contacting me. If your pay is offset, you should receive two payments – one from DFAS and one from the VA. I believe both payments should arrive around the first of the month. You will need to contact each respective agency if there is a late or missed payment.

  138. Dale Johnston says

    I am in the process of being medically retired from the military at 40%. I also have a claim pending for VA disability. If my VA claim hits that magical 50% or greater, would I be eligible for CRDP, or is that just for retirees that went the full 20 years? Thanks.

  139. Antonio Martinez says

    I’m an army vet that spend 11+ years in the army and hold 80% disability with the VA. when I medically retired from the army with 60% the VA took that check and said they are entitle and only receive one check. can some one tell me the reason why i can not get both checks.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Antonio, Thank you for contacting me. Military Medical Retirements can get complicated. Each situation is unique, so I recommend contacting the finance or human resources office at the closest military base to you. They can sit down with you and explain how medical retirements work and how it works for your situation. You could also try contacting DFAS – they should be able to explain this to you as well.

      Also, there is a calculator on the DFAS website that will help you estimate your Medical Retirement Pay. Just type in your base pay, military retirement rating, VA disability rating, and additional information and it will estimate your retirement pay. I hope this points you in the right direction.

    • Sara says

      Antonio, the only way to legally receive VA compensation AND DoD Retirement pay, is if you retired from the military under normal circumstances. In other words, 20 years of service or TERA.

  140. Myla Jones says

    My husband retired as a Chief 3 years ago and it still waiting for his disability rating. He has hearing loss from being around B52’s and had a mysterious rash after serving in Saudi during the Gulf War. Shouldn’t he have an answer by now?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Myla, Thank you for contacting me. Each VA disability claim is handled on a case by case basis. 3 years is a long time to await a decision, but it is not unheard of. It’s also not unusual for disability claims to be lost, misplaced, misfiled, or has some other issue that delays the decision. In some cases, the VA puts a claim on hold while they are awaiting information such as copies of medical records, test results, or other information.

      At this point, I suggest he contact a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, AMVETS, or similar organization. They offer free veterans benefits claims assistance and can help your husband research why his claim is taking so long, and help him with the process. I hope this points you in the right direction!

  141. Patti says

    I have a question. If a veteran is rated 80% disabled mostly due to chondromalacia (sp) of the knees but works full time delivering pizzas to 3 story apartments every night isn’t that cheating the VA system?? I was told above a certain rating you cant work full time hours anymore can someone please answer this question.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Patti, There is no language I am aware of that prevents a veteran from working when they have an 80% disability rating. As for cheating the system, that is not for me to judge. That needs to be determined by the VA. The VA often schedules periodic medical reviews to reassess disability ratings. Ratings can be increased or decreased based on these medical reviews.

  142. Alain M. Polynice says

    Hello Ryan Guina. I was medically retired from the Army June 30, 2016 at a 60% medical disability rating and I was awarded a 60% rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs. I had over 20 years of active duty service time, so I was eligible for regular retirement prior to being medically boarded. According to your article it states the following:

    “If you have a combined disability rating of 50% or greater, you should be eligible to receive Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP). If you receive CRDP, you will receive your full military retirement pay along with your full VA disability compensation. There will be no reduction to your military retirement pay.”

    According to my VA Award Letter, I am scheduled to receive my first VA compensation pay on August 1, 2016. It appears that I will receive my full VA pay. However, I recently received my Retiree Account Statement (RAS) for my military retirement pay scheduled to be deposited on August 1, 2016, and it shows a portion amount of my VA pay (61%) is deducted from my military retirement pay under a category listed as VA Waiver. Obviously I’m not getting my full military retirement pay if this VA Waiver deduction is going to occur for the remainder of my life. Is this VA Waiver supposed to happen? If not, who do you recommend I speak to about this? I have seen so many different interpretations of CRDP that even the person I contacted from DFAS provided me with a completely different interpretation.

    Any assistance you can provide to me would be greatly appreciated.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Alain, Thank you for contacting me. I don’t have a good answer here. My understanding is military retirees with a 50% or greater disability rating receive both their full retirement pay and their VA disability compensation with no offset.

      I would contact DFAS and the VA and ask if there is anything in your file that is listed incorrectly or hasn’t been coordinated correctly. For example, verify with DFAS that you are receiving a regular military retirement, and not a medical retirement. The difference can be substantial in some situations. I would also verify with DFAS that you should have concurrent receipt and not any other form of retirement + disability pay. With the VA, verify they have accurately communicated your disability rating with DFAS and that you should receive concurrent receipt.

      My hope is this is just a hiccup since it’s your first payment. Hopefully it’s just a minor communication issue or something that can be quickly and easily resolved. If it’s something more than that, you may need the assistance of a veterans advocate. I’d start with a representative from your local Veterans Service Organization (DAV, AMVETS, VFW, etc.). They should at least be able to point you in the right direction if they can’t offer the specific assistance you need. I hope this points you in the right direction. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

      • Alain M. Polynice says

        Hello again Ryan Guina. I appreciate your response to my previous post and I have an update to my situation that I would like to share with you and others out there who may be confused regarding Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP). Understanding that each individual’s situation may be different and unique, my situation may help those in a similar situation as mine.

        I saw the Retirement Service Officer here at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio earlier today. He was a breath of fresh air. He was able to accurately articulate and explain to me what is going on with my retirement pay as listed on my Retirement Account Statement (RAS) as well as dispel a lot of misinformation that is floating around about CRDP. Below I’ve detailed what my situation is regarding the VA Waiver issue on my RAS. Hopefully my situation can serve as a means to educate others so that they don’t fall under the same assumption that I fell into prior to becoming a civilian.

        The RSO said, without a doubt, federal law DOES NOT permit two disability checks to an individual (medical retirement disability pay and VA disability pay). In my situation, I was awarded a 60% disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs. That percentage was also used for my Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) determination. My situation was a 60% rating on the DOD side and a 60% disability on the VA side. By the grace of God I had over 20 years of active federal service time so I was also eligible for regular retirement prior to being medically discharge. My service computation calculation shows my active federal service time is 20 years and two months which is a 50.43% retirement percentage multiplier under DOD Financial Management Regulation, Volume 7B, Chapter 3, October 2011.

        When I was awarded my 60% disability rating on the DOD side, my thinking was that my retirement pay would be 60% of my current Base Pay ($7,526.70 x 60% = $4,516.02 a month). Wrong! First off, my retired pay base is first calculated as the high 36-month average of the Basic Pay on the PEBLO Estimated Disability Compensation Worksheet – DA Form 5892. My high 36-month average for retired base pay, as calculated by DFAS, was listed as $7,390.00. So the following situation applied to me:

        If I had a regular retirement due to longevity of service (LOS: 20 years plus of active service) my retirement pay would have been:

        $7,390.00 Base Pay (Higher Average)
        x 50.43% (Retirement % Multiplier for 20 years 2 months of active service)
        = $3727.00 (Retirement Pay)

        Since I was medical retired rather than doing a regular retirement, my retirement pay was calculated as:

        $7,390.00 Base Pay (Higher Average)
        x 60% (Disability Rating)
        = $4,434.00 (Retirement Pay)

        However, there is a problem. Where the problem occurs is that the VA is also paying me for 60% disability as compensation:
        ($1227.09 Veteran with Spouse and Child rate)
        (See 2016 VA Disability Rate Chart)

        As I mentioned earlier, according to the RSO, federal law DOES NOT permit two disability checks to an individual (medical retirement disability pay and VA disability pay). So, what DFAS does, under CRDP, is in order for me to receive my full VA disability pay AND my full retirement pay, DFAS applies a VA Waiver which negates my DOD 60% rating and downgrades me to the retirement pay that I would have received for longevity of service (20 plus years) if I wasn’t medically boarded. So, to make a long story short, the VA Waiver listed on my RAS is the amount difference of my 50.43% LOS retirement pay and my 60% DOD disability pay:

        $4,434.00 (60% DOD Disability Pay)
        – $3727.00 (LOS Retirement Pay)
        = $707.00 (VA Waiver)

        I was told by the RSO that I will see this VA Waiver on my RES until I die.

        So theoretically, I do in fact receive my FULL retirement pay (LOS) and my FULL VA Compensation Pay. I just don’t get the perks of having my DOD retirement pay at the 60% level because federal law DOES NOT permit two disability checks to an individual.

        It is important that service members going through a medical evaluation board (MEB) process who have over 20 years of active federal service understand this when they are trying to figure out their finances and not assume that they will get more money that they think they are entitled to when federal law says otherwise. Luckily, I learned this a month into being a veteran so I can adjust my finances and my budget.

  143. Jim says

    I served 15 years in the military and I got medically discharged at 30 percent and the VA rated me 40 percent. Since 1997 to 2015 I never up graded my disability. But over the years my disabilities got ton worse. I went from 40 percent to 80 percent and ( 100 percent IU). I have talked with many veterans and was told to try to apply for CRSC. Will it off set my VA PAY?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Jim, Thank you for contacting me. Each situation is unique. I suggest speaking with a trained benefits counselor to help you file your claim and understand what your pay and benefits will look like if the claim is approved. Many organizations offer free benefits claims assistance and their counselors will be better able to help you review and file your claim and understand your options.

  144. Stephanie Holland says

    I just went from TDRL to PDRL and my CRSC benefits dropped from $1K to $185 a month. I called DFAS and they could not say why except that when you go from TDRL to PDRL the formula changes. But the rep I spoke with seemed unsure of herself. What is the correct answer?

  145. Roscoe Graham says

    I was medically retired in 2009 after a combination of service of active and reserve then active again. I was medically retired with 30% of my base pay. I also receive 40% VA disability compensation. My retirement is off set with VA compensation with retirement paying just 200.00 a month. Is there ever going to be a time when I can receive both checks are that is not possible now a days? What if I get an increase in VA disability up to 5o%?

    • Ryan Guina says

      I’m not sure, Roscoe. These situations can get complicated and I’m not an expert on medical retirement and how things change if your VA disability rating changes. I would contact DFAS for a full explanation of your retirement pay and how it would change if your situation changes. Some veterans benefits counselors may also be able to help. You could try contacting a benefits claims officer at the DAV, VFW< or other Veterans Service Organization.

  146. Jimmy says

    The very first statement of this article is 100% wrong. At 10% you will NOT get a check from the VA. Please check your facts.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Jimmy, The statement is true, in principle, as it is written. Members are eligible to receive compensation from the VA if they have a VA service-connected disability rating of 10% or higher.

      There are times when members may not receive the compensation directly from the VA. This article goes on to explain one situation, such as when members are retired military and they are not eligible to receive Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP).

      Another instance is when members have their disability pay recouped because they received separation pay or some other reason. This topic is explained in-depth in this article: VA Disability Compensation Withholding, Offset, & Recoupment.

      And if you want to get technical, the VA now primarily sends electronic payments via ACH. So most people receive an electronic money transfer instead of a check.

      All sources for this information are listed in the corresponding articles. Here is the VA Source regarding disability compensation.

      If there is another situation in which a veteran will not receive compensation with a 10% disability rating, then please provide an example or a resource and I will be happy to update this article accordingly.

  147. Harold R. DeHaven says

    Question: My friend was retired by the Navy for Disability and is drawning 30%. Will he be able to retain his military ID and TriCare if he starts receiving Disability Pay from the VA? He had less the 20 years in service. Also, will he wife be able to retain her Dependent ID Card. I sure he cannot have both as far as pay, but, does he still keep his Retirement Benefits?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Harold, Thank you for contacting me. If your friend received a military disability retirement, then yes, he should have full retiree benefits, including the ID card, TRICARE, base access, etc. The pay issue will depend on the type of retirement, his rating and other factors. I would encourage him to speak with DFAS for a run down on his retirement pay. I hope this is helpful.

  148. Mike Smith says

    Thank you for the help.

    I have a situation that I am currently in.
    I was a Ssgt in the Air Force for 15 years. I was honorably discharged from service because of high year tenure; married with 3 kids.

    Two months ago, a reserve recruiter contacted me and asked if I would like to join. I had told them that I didn’t think I qualified because a few of the disabilities that I have. I can’t do the run or walk test for the military PT test, sleep apnea and back spasms every now and then. The recruiter still entered me to get enlisted, but was denied, which I had a feeling that I would.

    Two months later, I received a call from the reserves, they pushed my application through and they thought they should look further into my case because I only have 5 more years to complete, I was still able to do my job, just reached high year tenure for my rank and was not put up for the medical board. So they want me to do a MEPS physical and waive me for the walk and run because of my feet so I could join and complete the remaining 5 years.

    Also at the same time, I was about to start applying for claiming VA disability.
    When the VA rep looked over my records, they told me I could get 70% for my conditions.

    I needed some advice on which would be more beneficial: to join the reserves or claim disability?

    Here is a portion of what is listed in my medical records as chronic conditions.
    Sleep apnea
    Back muscle spasm
    Lower back pain
    Midback pain
    Tendonitis posterior tibial (both feet)
    Pes planus deformity (both feet)

    Thank you very much for the help!

  149. Doug says

    I have read the article. I have no questions. I think it is terrible that a military retiree, whose VA Disability percentage is 40% or below, and is NOT eligible for CRSC or CRDP has to forfeit the portion of his/her retirement pay because they have a disability.

    You speak of increased purchasing power because my measly 10% VA compensation is tax free. How dare you! Give me what I am due, and you will see real purchasing power!

    Let’s look at it like this: At current rates, my 10% compensation is $133.17. If it WERE taxable, I would only lose $30.00 a month. Enter my retirement pay. At current rates, my gross is $997.00 a month. So is my offset a pre-tax deduction? If not, I’m losing money! Even so, I’m still losing money. It’s as if $133.17 of my retirement pay is being sent to VA to pay my VA Compensation.

    I am 60 years old. I served my country well, by virtue of the fact that I was allowed to retire. During my term of service, I became 10% disabled. I AM entitled to both payments. Let’s see how much buying power I have when I have both payments, in full, at my disposal! Right now, I’m losing $133.17. Add that money back into my retirement pay, and I would only lose about $30.00. Still want to talk about increased buying power from the offset? There is NO comparison!

  150. R Hamilton says

    I am a TPU reservist with over 35 “good years” and still attend monthly drills and Annual AT’s. I have a permanent 100% VA rating and am drawing Social Security Disability pay. I drill for points only and don’t get reserve drill pay due to my VA pay and SSD. I was injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, however, my “proof” from each combat zone is minimal because I chose to try and downplay the extent of my injuries to remain in the reserves. The evidence from Iraq is more substantial than from AFG. I was also injured several times from being a paratrooper but again, minimal evidence (two “buddy letters” as the AFB I was treated at didn’t keep my medical records). Regardless, the evidence has been substantial enough from everything to obtain a 100% VA rating (I have many injuries with one pending). Lastly, I can’t find anyone who can explain the process for a medical retirement for reservists (retiring before age 60). I’m 54 yrs old.

    I have a few questions: 1) Do I need to apply for CRDP when I retire from the Reserves or will it automatically happen? 2) Do I need to be concerned with CRSC? 3) What is the process for reservists who “medically” retire before age 60? Would I lose my normal retirement at age 60? I had 2 back surgeries and a knee replacement after returning from AFG in 2013 and continuing with the reserves is becoming difficult. Thanks!

    • Ryan Guina says

      R Hamilton, Thank you for contacting me. This question is very specific and well outside my level of expertise. I recommend you speak with someone in a personnel department who thoroughly understands this process. They can help you understand your options. Another option is to contact a veterans benefits claims advisor with a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. They have trained counselors who can help you better understand your options.

      You can also check out the Physical Evaluation Board Forums. They have some experts (and others with personal experience) whi might be able to help you navigate this scenario.

      I wish you the best with your health and with this process. Best of luck, and thank you for your service!

  151. Renee says

    My disability rating was just reduced from 50% to 40%; does that mean I will now no longer get the separate VA check?

  152. Cbristo says

    I am currently in the may reserves, total of 13 years. I received a VA compensation disability rating of 100% dating back to the filing date of June 2014. I’ve not received any notice from dfas regarding pay issues, I still receive my reserve pay along with the va disability pay each month. The navy reserve has submitted me for a fit for duty/ retention review board. They will determine medical speak or medical retirement. My question is, should I be requesting for them to submit for the medical retirement instead of the fit for duty?
    If they medically sperate me, can still pursue the medical retirement after that?
    Many thanks for all the fellow veterans show served and offered their details. Is unfortunate that we suffer the most while our less qualified legislators and politicians only sit in an office for a few years and get full retirements and benefits with no questions asked.

  153. Jim says

    I recently retired from the AF Reserves. I filed for VA disability and received a rating of 40%. A few questions:

    1) Will I receive retroactive pay from the date my claim was filed?

    2) Will I receive the full 40% rate until my retirement kicks in at age 60?

    3) If so, at age 60 when my retirement pay kicks in, what happens to the amount of the 40% rate I receive since I don’t have the 50% to qualify for concurrent receipt.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hi Jim, Here are the answers to your questions to the best of my knowledge:

      1) Yes. 2) Yes. 3) You will continue to receive your 40% disability pay from the VA. Once your retirement pay starts, you will receive your retirement pay, minus the disability compensation. The disability compensation will remain tax free and will be paid by the VA. The difference will be taxable income and will be paid by DFAS. Example: If your disability compensation is $400 per month and your retirement pay is $1,000, you would receive $400 from the VA (tax free), and $600 from DFAS (taxable).

  154. LESLIE MAC says

    I retired in 2012. Got a rating of 30% in 2013. My retirement check was offset with my VA disability. I got a new rating in 2014 of 40%. In 2015 I get a increase to 80% with a effective date of June 2014. Will I get retroactive pay from VA and DFAS? Explain please.

  155. alex says


    I am a recently separated Chief Warrant Officer Two rated at 50 % Army and 90 % VA. With my 50% being higher than 90 % VA, does the difference between the 90% and 50% Army the only thing that is taxed? And will I receive two separate deposits from VA and Army?

  156. Walter Stevens Jr says

    I am 100% with the VA and medically retired with over 20 YRS service I tried to get CRDP and was told I couldn’t I would need to file for CRSC. My time was spent in both active and national guard. My injuries were received while in Iraq. Is this true I don’t qualify for CDRP.

  157. Mark H says

    Hello! I have 18 years of active duty, been diagnosed with a condition that is baseline 30% and is considered service connected. I will be over 50% once the claim is final. I am very confused about the PDRL and Concurrent Receipt. I can most likely push out 2 more years for a full retirement but that is not 100%. If I am medically retired with less then 20 years (18 or 19 total) – can I still receive the concurrent receipt pay in addition to my retirement.

    I would hate to lose my retirement and only get VA pay…but I would be very willing to lose a few dollars of a 20 year retirement and retire now at 18.

  158. Filomeno says

    It should not only think. It should be a must. All disabled retired vets should get their full retirement pension regardless of rating. Your Explanation of benefits is right to the point pensions and disability payments are COMPLETELY different types of compensation. You failed to mention another good point how we the retirees not getting compensated for. Say you have a vet with 3 years of service and with a disability of 40%. He receives his compensation for life and if he works say the post office or any job, his pay will not be offset. Is that fair for us? I don’t think so. We sustained the disability while serving our country. What makes the retires with 50% and above rating special… I am also following up the concurrent laws and every congress/senate session there is always a proposal to extend the Concurrent to all retirees regardless of rating but it never passed to the next level. We don’t have enough senators and congressmen supporting it. Hope more senators/congressmen will understand this situation and will give all the benefits afforded to al veterans and retirees.

  159. Suzie B says

    My husband recently retired with 18 years service in guard and was medically retired.
    He has a disability rating of 90%, 70% is due to PTSD with the VA. I believe with the army his disability rating is 70 or 80% Should he apply for the CRSC if he has combat evidence CAB or CIB? Also just curious if this will mess up his VA benefits pay? And last question, will he need to apply for CRDP or is that automatic?

  160. Alainna says


    I just received my PERMANENT DISABILITY RETIRED LIST letter (effective August 1, 2015), rated at 30% and disability incurred in a combat zone. I already receive 90% disability pay from the VA. Will I now be receiving both retired and VA compensation? Do I have to apply for the exceptions you stated above? Thank you.

  161. Stephen says

    Great discussion and very confusing. I was medically retired (Jun 2014) from the Army with 70% from the Army and a 90% overall rating (connected/combat related) according to the IDES VA system. I had 22 ½ years of service at that point in time. My first retirement check I received (x) amount for military retirement and (y) amount for VA disability. The next month I received (x) amount minus a VA waiver ($1130.00) and the same (y) amount for the VA disability. Simply, my net “real” dollar income was decreased by the VA waiver amount. Apparently, I do receive CRDP and everyone tells me I’ll benefit for this, but all I’ve seen is a decrease in my monthly income by ($1130) and DFAS and the VA say I benefit from this – can you explain please? Thanks

  162. brian Allen says

    Good Afternoon,
    Was there a change to policy as of 1MAR2015 that you can no longer receive FULL retirement check AND VA Disability %
    In my example E-7 Navy retiring at 22yrs in August of 2016. Lets say for the example I am getting 80% VA disability. The rumor is I will no longer receive BOTH checks and that I will only receive the higher of the 2(retirement or disability) PLEASE LAUGH AT ME AND TELL ME IM WRONG!!!!

  163. Jimmy Vasquez says

    I’m so lost. Sp here we go a few months ago I was medically discharged from the Army with almost 12 yrs as a SSG/E6. The Army and VA both rated me at 100% disabled. I fell into the TDRL category until my PTSD and HIP replacement gets stabilized. Prior to exiting the military I was helped filling out documentation to file for CRSD. I have numerous combat related disabilities ranging from several 10% to 50% or more. My way of thinking is I wouldn’t be entitled to any pay from CRSD because I choose the VA compensation over my retirement which would have been about 2,400. I think the calculation was 75% of my base pay and I elected the VA compensation at the 100% rate with dependents is 3,268. Since my retirement was never offset I cannot be compensated under CRSD, correct me if I am wrong, please???

  164. Clem says

    Does DFAS notify you of when they have completed the audit of your military retirement pay record for retroactive pay of CRDP? If so, how do they notify you? Thanks, Fred

    • Ryan Guina says

      Fred, Thank you for contacting me. To be honest, I’m not certain. In my experience, the VA always sends a notification letter. I know DFAS is not the VA, but I would assume there is some requirement to inform members if there is a change to the benefit. I would contact DFAS to inquire about this question, but also to follow up on the process to ensure they are still processing your file. The last thing you want to happen is for them to be missing information and not working on your file while they could be simply because you didn’t know they needed anything from you or anyone else. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

  165. Jeremy Reter says

    I retired in June 2011 and I just received my VA award letter stating that I am 30% service connected disability. I understand from what everyone has told me that they go back to the time you retired but how do they figure in that “back pay” so to speak?

    I’m disappointed that they determined some things to be not service connected but that is for another discussion but I think if they did consider those service connected then I would have made the 50% level.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jeremy, Thank you for contacting me. Your award letter should include an effective date. The VA will use this date as a starting point for your disability compensation, and give you back pay to that point. For example, if you are due to receive 30% compensation from June, 2011, then the VA will award you back pay from June 2011 – Nov. 2011 at the 2011 rate, Dec. 2011 – Nov. 2012 at the 2012 rate, Dec. 2012 – Nov. 2013 at the 2013 rate, etc. (Rates are increased for COLA in December each year, which is why the payments increase on those dates). If you have dependents, then your rate will reflect that in your back pay.

      If your ratings have different award dates you would follow this process for each combined rating. Normally the combined rating will be the same date if you retired, but it all depends on when you filed and when the VA determined the award for each disability. You can also speak with your VA rep and they can explain this to you based on your file.

      • Marty says

        Backdating your disability from the VA Is done according to the date you filed for a specific disability. It does not go back to your retirement date. I’d jump for joy if it did, I retired 17 years ago. But I filed in 2011 and again with more complaints in 2012. So they backdated the first 10% from my 2011 letter and 20% to 2012 for the specific problems outlined in that letter. I’ve got no doubt that once they are educated on how to read a medical record book my disabilities from the 2012 letter will go up significantly, and with back pay to 2012.

        I just got my award letter a few weeks ago. Today I got my DFAS letter. Now my retirement has been decreased appx $400 as that is what they pay for 30%. What I didn’t realize is that they decreased my retirement pay by the same amount. Since I split my retirement pay with my ex she is gonna be real surprised to find out she now “rates” $200 per month less. All things considered I come out $200 ahead. ($400 disability minus my half, or $200 of my retirement). It’s only gonna be temporary as I should see a much larger percentage soon. But in the meantime my ex is gonna take it in the shorts $200/mo. Oh well, life’s a ***** and then you die. She not the one disabled. I’d gladly trade the pain and all that goes with it.

    • Stephen VSO says

      Benefits are not retroactive to your retirement date, it’s to the date you filed the claim.

      Exception: If you filed an original claim within 1 year of retirement from service and the claim was subsequently granted by the VA, then benefits would be paid back to your retirement date.

  166. Adam DeMello says

    In 1978 I was awarded 10 per cent disability and have been deducting the amount of equal disability from my federal tax returns and now I am having my disability from my retired pay and received two checks. However now the IRS is denying my deduction??? Am I ok?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Adam, I am unaware of any deduction on federal taxes for a service-connected disability rating, or for disability compensation. The Disability compensation is non-taxable, but it is not deductible. You just don’t pay taxes on it when you receive it, or afterward. Beyond that, I don’t know how to proceed. You may need to speak with a tax professional for advice.

  167. LTC DeVine says

    I retired from the Army in 2005. I filed for VA disability in December 2014 and was given a 70 percent disability rating May 28, 2015. Will I receive the back pay from my filing date? I was told by the VSO helping me that I will not receive the back pay from my filing date to the date of the award because I am retired is that true?

  168. Pia says

    Hi there, I just finished reading all that and I’m a little lost in all of this.
    So my husband was in the ARMY for around 3 1/2y and is now medically retired from the ARMY with 60% and the VA has him with 100% disability due to an accident which left him with an TBI. At the beginning in 2007 we got around $2500 from the VA and $1000 from the ARMY. After a couple of months they decided that the VA pay was higher and that they made an mistake in calculation and dropped our ARMY pay to a now $200. Is that right? Or are we supposed to get the $2500 VA plus the $1000 ARMY?!

    Thanks for your answers in advanced!

  169. Owen Stiles says

    This is an interesting discussion. I think I have been misinformed or not informed properly on receiving military retirement and, it appears, crdp. Apparently I opted in the past for CSRC not knowing the parameters of the other crdp option and the military offset. This is confusing. So, here I sit with csrc and VA 80% disability (100% for unemployability) and it seems from reading your article I should have opted for CRDP and VA disability with over 50%. How can I rectify the situation now? Which option would give me the better amount of compensation?

  170. James Jones says

    What happens if you are permanently retired from the military and then years later your VA rating of 40% goes down to 20%? Will retirement pay increase to offset still?

    • Ryan Guina says

      James, Thank you for contacting me. Your retirement pay is already being offset at the 40% rate. If your disability rating is reduced, you would receive less money from the VA, and your retirement pay would only be offset by the amount you receive from the VA. So the offset should decrease. At the end of the day, you will still receive the same amount of money. The only difference is how much of that is tax free in the form of VA compensation. The final dollar amount will remain the same, but your spending power will decrease a little bit. This should be handled automatically between the VA and DFAS, but make sure the numbers match up, just in case something is missed. I hope this helps answer your question.

  171. Ollie says

    I just received 90% service connection. I have 22 years total service, 16 of which are active duty then 6 years with the National Guard. I am still in the National Guard. Can I stay in the Guard or do I need to retire and if so how do I retire medically. Lastly, what type of payment would I be eligible for?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Adam, Thank you for contacting me. I’m not sure what you are referring to when you mention taking a 30% lump sum. Was this on your disability payment? Normally disability payments are given on a monthly basis. I’m not sure how to answer your question, because I’ve not seen this situation before.

  172. James says

    Retirement pay is for our service. I served honorably for 21 years and get a retirement check each month. My VA disability just got approved at 20% so now my retirement check gets reduced by the amount of my VA disability. So I still get the same amount per month as someone that retired with 21 years, at my grade, and has no VA disability. The “non taxable” benefit is going to be $3,000 per year. Based on the incomes of my wife and I, that will make zero difference in our taxes. I understand the national budget concerns but if there is so much wasteful spending on “pet projects”, why can’t there be spending for those that served this country?

  173. Dan says

    My ex is entitled to 20% of my retirement pay monthly for LIFE thanks to the USFSP law. I have a 20% VA disability rating so the ex only getting 20% of my TAXABLE income (not my $263 VA disability money). My 20% was rated over 10 years ago and my issues have gotten worse. I may be getting 50% VA disability in the near future. I’m wondering with the concurrent payments if the ex would now get 20% of my taxable income (since the $263 would now move to another bucket). I know I’d get more non taxable income with the 50% disability but hate the thought of the ex getting more in her pocket! Only married 8 of out 20 years of service and divorced for 17 years now.

  174. John says

    Soc sec and long term disability compensation from work is also complicated. I didn’t realize that it would be better not to take soc sec, just take the employment disability until it runs out. That way it would not be reduced. Then take social which would be increased because I wait to take it. Anyone see dumbness in this process. I loose long term work disability because I start soc sec? Nuts.

  175. John says

    First, the average military retiree just gives up applying because the rules on rating are extremely complicated, worse then filing a tax return. What is happening, everyone knows that retirees should not be subject to an offset but just because of budget restrains, 40% and below take the hit so ordinary taxpayers do not have to pay for that disability. Everyone one else in this country can get their disability and the work and retire with no offset. But then I had to retire from civil employment for medical reasons. I started drawing normal soc sec. My employer paid disability is taxed because the employer paid the premium. If the employer gave me the extra amount equal to premium, the government would tax that money but not my disability – Wow! So I get disability that I have to pay tax on and the when I get normal soc sec, my disability payment is reduced that exact amount. You can’t win with this. But us military folks get hit the hardest. You only get a tax savings. More Spending power, yes, but at a great expense to you retirement pay. I was told I would have medical care for life, but when I retired I started having to pay for Tricare, and then take Part A & B medicare. Now my health insurance is now $1400 a year. So much for free health care promise. Does anyone see what is happening here? I have to take a cut because the current military needs weapons systems. I am a weapons system. So I not only help the government take care of buying weapons systems, they make me pay for my own disability instead of them. Screw the tax break!

  176. William says

    I have a similar situation that was stated by
    “I just received my rating of 40%. Not too concerned about not making the 50% threshold. However, I retired 1 Jan 2014 and it’s probably going to be April before I receive any award. My question is, since I’m only 40%, how do they “back pay” an award that is only a tax deduction which should have been applied to my 2014 return? Will they take a couple of months of retirement pay and send me the VA tax-free offset?”

    And I agree that retired pay should not be deducted for a less that 50% Disability, I like all the other retiries payed for my retirement with my service to our country, we excepeted the low pay and unstabilty of military life served over 20 years and earned our retirment.

  177. Mark Dehner says

    I am being discharged with 16 years active duty on 50% Disability and 70% VA. I am in the National Guard full time, but I have total of 36 years total. I have been told that I will receive my VA check now but not my Retirement check till age 60. Confused by this….

    • Ryan Guina says

      Mark, I’m not 100% clear on how military retirement works for Guard and Reserve members. You have 16 years of active duty, which is less than the 20 years required for a normal military retirement. Some active duty members are given a medical retirement if they are not able to serve any longer, and others are given a medical discharge (there is a big difference between a medical discharge and a medical retirement). Based on what you have written, it seems like you are receiving a medical discharge, not a medical retirement. But you are eligible to retire since you have 36 good years of service. So it seems like you are eligible to receive the normal Guard or Reserve retirement, under which your benefits start at age 60. I recommend confirming this with your personnel department so you have a full understanding of your benefits now, and when you reach age 60.

    • Ian says

      I was medically retired after 12 years and the VA rated me at 50%. I have read that I am not entitled to both due to the fact that my retirement was only 12 years not 20. Please confirm and thanks

  178. Larry says

    I retired 31 May 2013 with 22yrs Active Duty and just received my VA rating of 90%. Am I entitled to receive both my VA Pay and Retirement pay without penalty? Also would I qualify for the CRSC payment? The award letter from the VA states that they have sent a copy of my award letter to my “RPC” and they would make the determination if I am entitled to concurrent payment of benefits and retired pay. Man this is confusing. Thanks and Good Luck everyone!

    • Ryan Guina says

      Larry, Concurrent Receipt rules state you should be eligible to receive both your full retirement pay and the VA disability compensation. If that is not the case, you should contact the VA or DFAS to determine if there are any issues holding up the payment process.

      Regarding CRSC – that is determined by your branch of the service. You have to apply with your branch that for it to be awarded. My recommendation is to visit with a case officer at a Veterans Service Organization. Many of them offer free benefits claims assistance, and they can help you understand your benefits and help you apply if necessary. Here are some recommended organizations. Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Lisa says

        My husband has a disability rating of 70% he was on the TDRL list and is now on the retirement list they are asking him to choose if he wanted to get the lump sum of retirement or keep it like we are now, the question we have is if he takes the lump sum does that cancel his VA pension? and he won’t be eligible anymore?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Lisa, I’m not familiar with the option of taking a lump sum payment for retirement. I have never heard of that option, so I can’t comment on it. I recommend sitting down with someone from his military personnel or finance unit and have them help you run the numbers to determine what the exact situation would look like for both cases. Then you would need to choose the best option. Make sure to get something in writing before signing any documents or making any formal decisions. You may also consider speaking with a Veterans Benefits Counselor at a Veterans Service Organization such as the DAV, VFW, etc. They can often point you in the right direction. Another option would be to speak with a financial planner with experience working with military members and veterans. I wish you both the best.

  179. Bill says

    I just received my rating of 40%. Not too concerned about not making the 50% threshold. However, I retired 1 Jan 2014 and it’s probably going to be April before I receive any award. My question is, since I’m only 40%, how do they “back pay” an award that is only a tax deduction which should have been applied to my 2014 return? Will they take a couple of months of retirement pay and send me the VA tax-free offset?

  180. Tia says

    Now I’m even more confused. I recently retired in Nov 14 from the Army. The Army rated me at 80% and the VA 100%. I was told only those with 20 years or more of service could receive the CRDP. I was also under the impression that as of now, being able to claim the CRDP is being phased out. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.

    • James says

      I was medically retired Nov 14 as well, and they dfas told me the same thing. I could not receive my retirement pay (CRDP) until I would have hit my 20 year mark as well. Really does not make any sense to me since it is two completely different sources of income. Wish someone would fix this.

  181. Antonio Q. Recio says

    I retired from US Army Reserve in 2011. VA is still “adjusting” my VA Comp Pay for military pay I received back in 2009. VA reduces my check but then DFAs doesn’t adjust accordingly so I find myself being penalized twice for having served my country. I find that policy to be disgusting and appaling.

    If I had known in advance that my VA Comp Pay was to be taken back in full from my Retirement Pay, I would have not gone thru the many years and hazzle of applying for VA Comp Pay to begin with.

    Of course I believe Concurrent Receipt should be extended to all military retirees. Anything less is a dishonor.


  182. Chuck says

    Yes I believe all veterans that were medically retired under chapter 61 with less than 20 years should be able to collect their military pension, and there VA disability. I’m one of the veteran’s retired chapter 61, not by choice 15 good years and was medically retired. I contracted a lung disease during training, got denied CRSC. Once a solider gets kicked out of the military they are really on their own to fight for their full retirement.

  183. Vince Ryder says

    Of course all disabled retired vets should get their full retirement pension. You wrote it very clearly–pensions and disability payments are COMPLETELY different types of compensation. The politicians and bureaucrats don’t worry about the immorality of screwing people over who’ve served their country for decades as long as they can fund their pet projects. Disgusting.

    • Norman Pickett says

      I agree with Vince. The option of choice is ridiculous. However much qualifies CRSC pay that first then rest in CRDP. I got ******* by VA raising my total disability to 100% from 90% with IU which equals 100%. DFAS cut my CRSC down to 70%. VA remained the same at 100%. Loss of $1500/month immediately caused me to lose my home. Yes I could have switched to CRDP then caused us to once again start filing income tax every year after almost ten years of not having to file. The VA and CRSC and DFAS are not on the same page of the law and my Republican representatives refuse to submit any bill to help any veteran period.

  184. Jerry bench says

    How do I get my full va pay and full retirement pay if I qualify in both categories ? Who do I contact to get to the bottom of this ?

  185. Jeannie Hurlbert says


    It doesn’t happen “often”, but I think you need to add a little section about Voluntary Separation Incentive; VA Pay; and Retirement Pay. I was totally confused for a very long time, but now I understand that the VA pay will continue…and the VSI must continue to be paid, then be repaid, before the Retirement pay will start. So while some retirees get a double benefit, others do not–No matter what your disability rating is!

  186. Dennis Smith says

    I am a Medically Retiree 100% Disabled Vietnam who has only 2 years of active duty service. I stepped on a land mine in Vietnam and spent 6 months in the hospital. I was Medically Retired from the Army and have the benefits of a full Retiree and I took the Disability Pay from the VA. Over the years I have heard that I can and can’t receive (CRSC) and or (CRDP) by different groups. No one seems to have a correct or accurate answer. Would you be able to shed any light on the subject?

  187. Marvin L. Nichols says

    Yes, I believe that we should get our disability pay as well as retirement pay. Our retirement pay is given for length of service. Disability pay is given for those of use who have sustained some type of injury. I have asbestos due to having been aboard old minesweepers during the Vietnam Conflict. My disability is given at 30%. Others in the same situation get disability pay even if they have not retired. I also still have pain in my chest at times due to this asbestos, but even if the VA is also compensating I lose some of my retirement. I am NOT getting equal treatment as other members.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Marvin, Take a look at this article: Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) Benefits (link).

      You may qualify for CRSC because your disability came from asbestos exposure while serving on a military vessel. That would be considered an instrumentality of war. I recommend speaking with a Veterans Service Officer for assistance in filing a claim. Here are some recommendations.

      Best of luck, and thanks for your service!

      • Mary says

        A lot of us reservist retired due to medical conditions caused by deployments to the desert and many of us have 100% VA, and over 50% Military ret but some are getting CRSC and others are not. Why are we not getting CRDP? Is it only for Active Duty ranks, not reservist deployed to IQ and AFG? I retired thru the WWP after 33 years for pay and 26 credible, 12 1/2 active duty. I get Army ret at 70%, CRSC at 80% and 100%VA but my military pay is still offset by VA and the CRSC does not come close to covering it. One friend called and asked abut his and they told him he did not qualify at all, even though he has 80% Army and 100%VA after Iraq and WWP. Not sure what is going on. Is it the fact we are reservist and eligible for original retirement at 60 or the reduced due to NDAA 2008? Will we get it once we reach that age?

      • Ryan Guina says

        Mary, I believe your situation has to do with the fact that you were in the Reserve Corps and aren’t eligible for a full military pension until age 60. I would contact DFAS to verify this is the case. They should be able to explain all benefits to you, and let you know what you are receiving and why. I hope this points you in the right direction.

    • AT says

      I recently received an 80% rating from the VA. Unfortunately, I already receive $2600 in Army retirement. My VA award is around $1900. Roughly, my tax break means I pay taxes on about $700 of my retirement check, which nets me a whole $55 more each month. So, 21 year retirement, 80% disability nets me about $2755??

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