Many Veterans have questions about getting their retirement pay and getting pay for compensation, or injuries/conditions that are considered to be service-connected disabilities. We have many Veterans in our system who have served more than 20 years and have also sustained injuries while in the service, or have been diagnosed with a service-connected disability.
For a Veteran to receive military retirement pay, the Veteran must have served on active duty or in the National Guard or reserves. He or she can qualify for retirement pay based on: the length of time in the military service, usually 20 years or longer; or, having a disability, if his or her military branch of service found that the Veteran was unfit for duty.
Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a Veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while in the military service. It is also paid to certain Veterans disabled from VA health care. These benefits are tax-free. The amount of disability compensation depends on how disabled the Veteran is considered to be. The Veteran may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if: he/she has very severe disabilities or loss of limbs; he/she has a spouse, children, or dependent parent(s); or if he/she has a seriously disabled spouse.
The laws regarding receiving retirement and disability compensation state that the Veteran can receive both retirement pay and disability compensation, however, for example: if a Veteran receives $1000.00 a month in retirement pay and $200.00 incompensation, $200.00 of the retirement pay may be waived and received in the form of compensation. The advantage is that the compensation pay is not taxable income.
There is a law called “Concurrent Receipt” published 07/10/04 that means that qualified military retirees will be paid both their full military retirement pay and VA disability compensation. This law phases out the VA disability offset, which means that military retirees with 20 or more years of service and a 50% or higher rated disability will no longer have their military retirement reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation. This program is not a VA run program, but run by the Department of Defense. If a Veteran qualifies for the Concurrent Receipt, he/she should have automatically received an increase in his/her military retirement starting in January 2004. Veterans should remember that to qualify for this, they must be a military retiree with 20 or more years of good service, or National Guard and Reserve with 20 or more good years. They also must have a VA service related disability of 50% or higher.
Understanding how the law works can be very confusing with each Veteran having different circumstances in regards to their retirement and ability to receive compensation benefits. There are many different criteria that a Veteran must meet to qualify for retirement pay, compensation pay, or for Concurrent Receipt. Our team at Jan Dils is here to help Veterans understand how and why they may be entitled to compensation and how that works with their retirement pay. We are always just a phone call away and have a wonderful, friendly staff who are ready to answer questions. If you would like answers to your questions, please call 1-877-526-3457 and we will be happy to help