Am I eligible for CRSC?

Discussion in 'Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC)' started by SGT Bob, May 2, 2012.

  1. SGT Bob

    SGT Bob Active Member

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    I just came across the following on the VA site...

    In order to be eligible for CRSC you MUST meet all of the following criteria

    1. Receiving military retired pay for one of the following: 20 year Retiree, Medical Chapter 61, Temporary Early Retirement Act, and Temporary Disabled Retirement List Retiree
    2. Have 10% or greater VA rated injury that is combat-related
    3. Military retired pay is reduced by VA disability payments (VA Waiver)

    AND...must be able to provide documentary evidence that your injury was a result of one of the following:
    • Training that simulates war (e.g., exercises, field training)
    • Hazardous duty (e.g., flight, diving, parachute duty)
    • An instrumentality of war (e.g., combat vehicles, weapons, Agent Orange)
    • Armed conflict (e.g., gun shot wounds [Purple Heart], punji stick injuries)

    My "referred conditions" are; left foot injury, left wrist injury and spinal injury. The foot and wrist occured during PT but the spinal injury occured during combatives training. Would that qualify as "Training that simulates war?"
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  2. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Site Founder Staff Member

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    As far as the combatives, yes, that should be considered good for CRSC.
  3. SGT Bob

    SGT Bob Active Member

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    Wow, thanks for the quick response Jason. What proof would I need and at what point would I apply for it?

    I noticed that it says to submit; "Official documentary evidence that supports “HOW” the specific disability being claimed meets the criteria for combat-related." But it also says DO NOT include personal or buddy statements. So...what would I use for proof???
  4. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Site Founder Staff Member

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    Line of duty determinations, medical treatment notes stating the history of the condition (hopefully stating, that you injured it during combatives), decisions of the PEB would all be good sources.
  5. Skyracer930

    Skyracer930 Member

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    What if you don't have an injury but a disease that started down range for instance in my case type 1 diabetes? My peblo says yes but I would love a second opinion
  6. usafaviator

    usafaviator PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Jason, have you seen anything coming about with illnesses/disease from burn pits being recognized under CRSC? My Flight Doc and my civilian pulmonologist have documented that my issues were caused by the pits/toxic inhalation. Sorry to hi jack your thread SGT Bob, but you have posed an excellent question.
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  7. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Bear in mind that the CRSC branch will only have documents which you provide. So make sure you provide your DD Form 214 along with the applicable medical records. If you can get your hands on a document which shows that combative training was scheduled for the day in question, all the better.

    Skyracer, unless "downrange" was Vietnam, diabetes won't qualify you for CRSC. The mere fact that you were injured or contracted a disease while in a combat zone does not establish CRSC eligibility.
  8. mhaynes15

    mhaynes15 Member

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    The answer to that would be no for type 1 diabetes. I developed asthma in iraq but that was not determined 'Combat Related'.
  9. usafaviator

    usafaviator PEB Forum Regular Member

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    mhaynes, I think we are in a similar position. I remember you mentioning that you were around burn pits...and (since it is unusual for somebody to develop asthma as an adult out of the blue), your issues could very well be related to the smoke. My question is- could the burn pits fall under the hazardous duty or instrumentality of war category...
    Just wondering if anybody has investigated this much.

    SGT Bob, I would tend to agree that if you have the documentation linking the spine injury with the combat training, you might have a good defense.
  10. mhaynes15

    mhaynes15 Member

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    Whats up brother,

    I think I could qualify for CRSC if Al Qeada was using burn pits to attack us. haha.

    I have researched it. It is a very controversial issue as of late, if you were in OIF in the late periods, all fobs stopped using burn pits and started to have their trash picked up by local nationals. Burn pits were filled in. Incinerators were considered too expensive to buy and run. A VA doc actually spoke to me concerning this while getting my C&P exam.

    The DoD still claims there is not enough evidence to link the burn pits to Asthma, COPD, Chronic Bronchitis, etc. etc.

    When they did air tests in 'Balad', they couldn't get a proper air sample. Oh, how convenient ;P
  11. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Regular Member

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    As for burn pits, the only CRSC criteria that MAY fit would be instrumentality of war. But that would be a stretch. Instrumentality of war is something that is unique to the military, such as a cannon. If fire pits are used in the civilian community (which I think they are), it would not be an instrumentality of war.
  12. usafaviator

    usafaviator PEB Forum Regular Member

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    mhaynes, funny you mention Al Qeada....come to think of it, there sure were a lot of Hajis running around the base posing as TCN's...who know what they might have tossed into the pits :D
    Ed, I understand where you are coming from, however, Agent Orange is listed in the regs as an instrumentality of war, and it was not used to injure/kill people (rather, it's intended use was as a defoliant), but the many Vietnam vets that were swimming in it over there (my father included) are proof today that it had the same effect (post) as chemical warfare or any other different means of warfare. Please keep the input/ideas coming because I'm wrapped up pretty heavily in the burn pit issue and have pulmonary disease that only presented after that particular trip to Balad, Before I went, I ran 8 miles per day x 6 per week. Today, at 37, I can't do 1 mile and have been diagnosed with asthma, COPD, restrictive and obstructive/intrinsic lung disease (including constrictive bronchiolitis), hypothyroidism/Hasimoto's (autoimmune disease) and thyroid cancer....all airway/pulmonary related diseases (and obviously endocrine as well). Any input/discussion I can get is much appreciated.
  13. hawkdrivermtp

    hawkdrivermtp PEB Forum Regular Member

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    I know burn-pits were still being used up North in OIF up until I left Jul 2010. Had to fly around it every day on approach to the airfield. Very good reference point during the day due to the smoke and night from the visible flames when flying towards the FOBs/COBs.
  14. mhaynes15

    mhaynes15 Member

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    Very true...they could have been tossing in giants blocks of Sulfur. haha.

    I have a similar issue, although not as bad. I used to run two miles in 13:00 or less before 2007. I was in Kirkuk regional Airbase and my platoon's AO was actually the old field in kirkuk AND our living quarters was next to the airfield which for some reason had sulfur in the area. Odd?...Kirkuk, Fob Warrior, or for you AirForce guys, Kirkuk Regional Airbase, had a HUGE burn pit. So huge, in fact, that we would go to the burn pit to find thrown away furniture and other items. It wasn't a pit at all in reality, it was just a large piece of the FOB where trash was piled thee stories high and slowly burned.

    After i got home, I could barely run two miles in 16:00, and eventually after three years, i developed asthma and I could only run two miles in 21+ mins. OUCH.
  15. mhaynes15

    mhaynes15 Member

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    True, even down south near bagdad in June 2010, the COP I was on was still burning trash....about 200 meters from our CHU's. haha.

    Were you in Schofield? or Wheeler?

    I noticed you were using Tripler.....I was stationed in Schofield from 2005-2008. 3rd BDE, 2-35 IN. CACTI.
  16. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Regular Member

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    You bring up very good points which I would not even try to argue. As a frame of reference, I wrote all the cases for the ABCMR where retirees were appealing the denial of their CRSC claims during the first 3 years of CRSC. What I would look for in cases like this was a finding that the condition was a presumptive CRSC condition. There are many conditions which are presumptive for Vietnam vets because of Agent Orange. While the BCMRs are not bound by presumptive findings, an applicant would have to overcome a fairly lofty hurdle to get a disease approved for CRSC that wasn't a presumptive.
  17. usafaviator

    usafaviator PEB Forum Regular Member

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    Good points Ed, thanks. I might ping you again as soon as I hear from the board to ask advice if you don't mind.
  18. Jason Perry

    Jason Perry Site Founder Staff Member

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    I think it would be difficult to win a case based on disease generally as well as burn pits. The reason for this is that you must have some nexus evidence. Remember, while on orders, everything is presumed to be service incurred or aggravated. This is the hurdle for compensability. Essentially, for being compensable, there really is no issue with how a condition was incurred. However, the issue with CRSC (and 10 a/c findings at the PEB) deals very much with the "how."

    So, as a first step, you would need evidence (presumably they would use a "preponderance of evidence" standard) to show that your disease/disability was incurred as a result of a burn pit. I would think that this would generally be hard to show; probably the best type of objective evidence would be if you had a disability occur right after exposure to fumes from a burn pit and you sought treatment immediately (and, hopefully, the treatment notes state that the disease/disability was incurred immediately after such exposure). That would probably help you get to a finding that the burn pit caused the disability.

    The next step would be showing that the burn pit was an instrumentality of war. I tend to think this is actually too broad. I think, for example, this scenario would work: Soldier is on a detail that is concerned with burning captured or old military munitions (be they chemical or standard munitions). The only thing burned at the burn pit on the date of exposure is munitions. The Soldier is hit by a cloud of smoke when the wind shifts, immediately starts coughing and has to be treated immediately (with the type of documentation shown in the previous paragraph). If the stars aligned and all of this was shown by documentation, then I think it is a viable claim. Of course, this would be a very rare occurrence. So, I think it goes beyond burn pits as instrumentality of war- I would think you would have to drill down to what was burned and its nature.

    The problems I see are that most conditions are not acute, but develop over time (this is not an issue just unique to burn pits...I can't count the number of cases where I have seen an airborne troop, with hundreds of jumps, who develops back or knee problems...if there is not an instance of a particular hard landing on a jump causing the problem, then most times their condition will not be combat related; this seems disingenuous to me...I don't see why there should be a distinction between 1 jump and the cumulative effect of 125 jumps; the only issue it seems to me is a problem of "proof."). How can you show that the condition, developed later, was caused by exposure to burn pit? It may be possible, but very difficult. Further, if you show it was the burn pit, how can you show that it was not the trash or normal detritus burning that caused the disease,instead of the munitions that were burned? I suspect that with rigorous investigation, one could parse out individual chemicals with certain diseases/disabilities...but this would be hard for the average applicant. (Take Agent Orange, again...after enough scientific investigation, eventually Congress and the Secretary of Veterans Affairs got involved with the result of there being "presumptive diseases." Note that this is a statutory and regulatory fix- it is not the case that individuals are required to "prove" their exposure (nexus) and the combat related nature of the condition...also as an aside, it is not the case that the "military nature" of something must solely be related to "killing" the enemy...the test is a little more broad than that....I don't have authority for this, but I think military aircraft shows a good example. Take two pilots, one in a cargo transport aircraft and the other in a F16. Both have neck injuries due to a tight maneuver that exposed them both to high G forces. Both events could come from maneuvers in a aircraft (lets assume no issue with avoiding anti-aircraft fire or hostiles in the air). But, due to the nature of the F-16, I think you could successfully argue combat related as an instrumentality of war; I think you would lose the argument in the cargo aircraft scenario (I cheated a bit with the hypotheticals- I actually successfully argued high G's in a military jet/F16 as combat related).

    Most every case is really dependent on the facts. I am not saying anyone should give up their claims...I just think everyone should be aware of the potential issues.
  19. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Regular Member

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    I don't mind.
  20. hawkdrivermtp

    hawkdrivermtp PEB Forum Regular Member

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    I was stationed at Wheeler from 2000-2001, 2003-2006, and from 2009 to present. Three trips over here. First was short because I PCSd for Flight School.

    I saw burn-pits all over that country. Afghanistan too. I wonder if exposure to all the $#!T Ponds would warrant compensation in anyway!

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