SABO Case: Need Help with Impacts, Questions and Required Forms

A Mitchell

Registered Member
Jul 9, 2012
My late husband was medically retired from Walter Reed in November 2006 and passed away of his injuries in August 2007. He was placed on TDRL with a 90% disability rating and 0% PTSD rating and no severance pay. The SABO case ruled with an 80% permanent disability rating for him and provided a corrected DD215. My daughter and I have been receiving SBP benefits mostly from the VA and a small amount from DFAS.

I am not sure how this impacts us - positively or negatively. In my letter from the Dept of Army - US Army Physical Disability Agency - they have instructed me to fill out a DD Form 2656. When I called to inquire how to fill out this form, I was told by the RSO they weren't sure why I would have to refill out this form since I was receiving benefits and redirected me to another number. I called there twice and was met with folks who were kind but didn't know anything about the SABO case. They too weren't sure why I would need to fill out this DD Form 2656, nor could they tell me how this might affect us, if at all. Nor could they tell me if I needed to fill out additional information since this Form 2656 requires my husband's signature or if it would be accepted if I put "DECEASED" in that signature field. (Their response to the question of how do I handle this area if he is deceased - what information do I need to provide or include? was "if they Physical Disability Agency instructed me to fill out this Form then they must know that he is deceased. I guess put "Deceased" in that field and hopefully they will accept that").

I have had many headaches over the past 5 years dealing with the VA and the Social Security office with relation to his benefits. I'm a bit antzy about filling out this paperwork with not a clear direction of everything I am supposed to do and dealing with folks who don't seem to know about this case.

Could anyone tell me what I should expect? Do I need to fill out any forms and file anything with the Social Security office? The VA? Are there additional forms or information I need to include - such as a death certificate - with this packet? Do I really need to fill out this packet if I already have a Form 2656 on file? Is there any information that I need to know about to prepare me anything - could this affect us positively or negatively where taxes might be concerned - benefits withheld or requirements to payback anything?

Thanks so much!

A Disconcerted Widow

Ed Mercanti

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Mar 22, 2012
I don't know what "the SABO case" is. And there are a fews gaps in the information you provided.

It would appear that your husband was placed on the TDRL and was later discharged from the TDRL without severance pay.

Later, your husband's military records were corrected to show he was permanently retired, rated 80 percent disabled, instead of being placed on the TDRL. Assumably this was due to the addition of the PTSD.

Once a record is corrected to show that a veteran was actually retired, then the law provides that he/she must make an SBP election. I would presume as the next of kin, you are making this election in his stead.

While it would appear to be a "no brainer" to take the SBP, its a two sided sword. If you elect it you will be billed for SBP premiums from the date of retirement (the date your late husband was originally placed on the TDRL).

I assume what you're receiving from the VA is DIC (Dependency and Indemnity Compensation) which is not SBP.

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
May 15, 2007
Condolences for your husband's passing.

This is a tough one to answer without knowing all of the issues and the situation. I would not take anything as gospel that I write about this, there may be issues or facts that might change things.

First, if you already have a 2656 on file, then I don't understand the need for a new one.

As for the Sabo suit results, unless there is some sort of impact based on combat related findings, I don't see any impact of the increased rating. The maximum that can be paid out is 75% of retired base pay, so either 90% or 80% still results in same pay. But, with your husband's passing, the payment is cut short and the SBP is what remains.

Have you filed for any survivor benefits from Social Security? Are you receiving DIC from VA?