Separation Pay

When vets separate from the service before their commitment is finished they are sometimes given separation pay, depending on the situation. This payment is intended to help vets transition back into civilian life. Vets can be asked to separate because of personnel cutbacks, disabilities or other reasons.


When vets are asked to separate, voluntarily or involuntarily, they are typically offered a separation pay. To veterans this seems like a great deal. After all, getting some money to help buy a house or pay off some bills can’t hurt.


But sadly this separation pay comes with some strings attached. When vets accept this payment they unknowingly disqualify themselves from receiving disability benefits from the VA, until they “pay the VA back” for their separation pay.


Federal law requires vets to repay any separation pay before being eligible for disability benefits.


Disability Separation Pay


The military can ask soldiers to separate if they are on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL). The TDRL is a list of military personnel found to be unfit for military duty by reason of physical disability which may be permanent, but which has not sufficiently stabilized to permit an accurate assessment of a permanent degree of disability.


Not all TDRL separation cases will qualify for separation pay. If you are on the TDRL and are asked to separate you must meet the following criteria to qualify for separation pay.


  • be found unfit for duty
  • have less than 20 years of service
  • and have a disability rating of less than 30%.

If you have questions about VA disability benefits or your claim has been denied, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Jan Dils Attorneys at Law is not afraid to take on the bureaucrats of the federal government to help vets get the benefits they need.


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