What is Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)?
CRDP is a program established by Congress that allows service members to receive their military pension and monthly VA compensation, assuming they meet the basic requirements: (1) 50% or greater VA rating or Individual Unemployability (IU) finding, and (2) earned a normal retirement based on length of service, or would have earned a normal retirement if not for being medically retired (known as a chapter 61 retiree). There are many great articles that break down CRDP. Rather than repost information readily available, I want to clarify that there is a “cap” on compensation for those entitled to CRDP.
Where is the confusion?
Service members unable to perform their jobs may undergo review for medical separation or medical retirement. This process is known as the military’s Disability Evaluation System (DES). A service member will be subjected to a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB). The MEB will make one of three findings: (1) place the service member on limited duty or profile, (2) return to duty, or (3) forward the case to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). When referred to the PEB, the PEB will assign ratings for the medical conditions which render the service member unable to perform his or her job. *Note, the VA is involved in the process and the PEB applies the VA ratings, which I am not elaborating on in this article. The percentage assigned by the PEB equates to a portion of a service member’s base pay, usually based on an average of their previous 36 months base pay. Confusion arises when someone is eligible for a normal Length of Service (LOS) retirement, such as reaching 20 years of active duty service, but is subsequently processed through the military’s DES. Whether the DoD assigns a 50% or greater rating (75% is the max attainable), the service member will be retired and eligible for CRDP (assuming they meet the 50% or IU VA requirement), but limited to their LOS retirement amount plus VA compensation.
A service member with 20 years of active duty has a medical condition and subsequently referred to the PEB. The PEB assigns a 75% rating and the VA a 100% rating. A service member may believe they will receive 75% of their base pay plus their full VA monthly compensation, but that would be in error. Congress specifically capped CRDP at LOS retirement amount plus monthly VA compensation. This means a service member with 20 years of active duty service would receive their 50% LOS retirement amount (20 years x 2.5% = 50% of base pay) plus their monthly VA compensation for a 100% schedular rating, not 75% of their base pay plus their monthly VA compensation.
*In extremely rare circumstances a service member’s assigned percentage from the PEB will result in a monthly military medical retirement amount greater than his or her LOS amount plus full VA monthly compensation. In that situation, the veteran will receive his or her medical retirement amount, reduced by his or her VA compensation.
As you plan to transition from the military, or have transitioned but awaiting your first military pension and VA payment, know what you should receive in order to properly prepare for your future.
10 U.S.C. § 1414 – Members eligible for retired pay who are also eligible for veterans’ disability compensation for disabilities rated 50 percent or higher: concurrent payment of retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation.
Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP), https://www.dfas.mil/retiredmilitary/disability/crdp.html, (last visited August 04, 2017).
*Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice.