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The Veterans Voice

Top 5 Questions When Qualifying for Combat Related Special
Compensation Benefits
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By Chip Hollingsworth

  Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) provides special compensation to retirees who have reduced retired pay because they’re receiving U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation. This means that qualified military retirees with 20 or more years of service that have "combat related" VA-rated disability will no longer have their military retirement pay reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation. Instead they will receive both their full military retirement pay, and their VA disability compensation.  Once a military retiree has been determined to be qualified, they will receive their regular retirement pay plus an additional sum based on their VA disability rating.
Here are the top 5 questions we hear most often:

1.How do I qualify?

In order for members to be eligible for CRSC, they must meet all of the following criteria:
-Receive military retirement pay for one of the following reasons:
-Served on Active Duty, the Reserves, or National Guard with 20 years of creditable service;
-Served on Active Duty, the Reserves, or National Guard and is also a permanent medical retiree (Chapter 61) regardless of years served;
-Served on Active Duty, the Reserves, or National Guard and is classified as a Temporary Disability Retirement List retiree regardless of years served; or
oServed on Active Duty, the Reserves, or National Guard and is classified as a Temporary Early Retirement Act retiree with 15-19 years served.
-Have 10 percent or greater VA rated injury that is combat-related.  Military retirement pay is reduced by VA disability payments (VA Waiver).  Must be able to provide documentation that injury was a result of one of the following:
-Purple Heart
-Armed Conflict
-Simulating War
-Hazardous Service
-Instrumentality of War
-Agent Orange
-Radiation Exposure
-Gulf War
-Mustard Gas or Lewisite

2.What’s the financial benefit to me?  

The CRSC monthly payment ranges from $133 to over $3200. The amount you receive depends on your disability rating, number of dependents, and other factors.

3.Where do I start if I think I may qualify? 

  To receive Combat Related Special Compensation you must submit your application (DD form 2860), through your parent military service branch. Each service branch has the authority to determine your eligibility. For more information on how to apply contact your parent military service branch’s CRSC website.

4.Will I have to pay tax on this compensation? 

  No. CRSC is a non-taxable entitlement; therefore, DFAS will not withhold taxes on CRSC payments. Normally, any monies paid by the VA are non-taxable. If you have any other questions regarding the taxability of VA payments, please call the VA at 1-800-827-1000.

5.If I die before my spouse, does he/she get my compensation? 

  Deceased retirees may not receive CRSC after the last day of the month prior to their death. However, the deceased retiree's designated beneficiary is entitled to any unpaid CRSC due at the time of death. Retroactive increases to CRSC that was paid during the retiree's life also will be issued to the beneficiary.

  Additionally, CRSC pay will be retroactive to the date of eligibility on your award letter. It can go as far back as June 1, 2003, but may be limited to your retirement date or the date of your qualifying VA disability award (whichever is later). The effective date for CRSC applicants who qualify based upon the expanded definition (under section 641 of the NDAA FY08) is either January 1, 2008, the date of the qualifying VA disability award, or their retirement date (whichever is later).

  You may receive more than one payment if you receive a new rating from the VA allowing for a retroactive increase or if you apply for reconsideration with your branch of service. You also may receive multiple payments if you are due monies from both DFAS and the VA. Each agency is responsible for issuing payment of their portion of the entitlement.

  Submit your question to AskDFAS. Or, if you are due money from DFAS only, call 1-800-321-1080. If you are due money from DFAS and the VA, call toll free at 1-877-327-4457.

  Questions concerning disability ratings or payments due from the VA should be directed to the VA at 1-800-827-1000.

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