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  • HM1 Holt,

    The issue that they are talking about is the Presumption of Fitness Rule, that says those within a year of being retired/separated for non-disability reasons are "presumed fit." However, that presumption can be overcome. From SECNAVINST 1850.4E, Encl. 1, "The PFit rule can be overcome when certain conditions exist. Previously, if within the presumptive period an acute, grave illness or injury occurred leading to an otherwise Unfitting medical condition and the natural progression of that condition would normally result in either a significant life-span reduction/death or deterioration to the point where it could warrant a permanent disability rating of 60 percent or higher the member would overcome the presumption. This revision eliminates the 60 percent threshold. See paragraph 3305."

    I think that given the severity of his condition (if he is wheelchair bound all the time) indicates that he should be found unfit. However, in the long run, I am not sure it will matter from a benefits point of view. If found unfit, he will be given the higher of his rating or 2.5% times years of service. This will put him at or near 75% (depending on his actual years of service), which is the statutory cap on military retirement disability. If he is found fit and retired, he will get roughly the same, 75% of his base pay. Either way, he will be eligible for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) reducing his offset of VA disability pay.
    Under any scenario, I don't see much of a gain or a loss. I think he will pretty much max out (or near to it) his compensation.
    The only other thought I have is that for him, the longer he stays until 30 years of service the better.
    I have a lot of respect for Sailors like him who have put in long careers. I hope it all works out well for him and please feel free to ask any questions.

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