Requesting Advice

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Good afternoon. New member here.

*I have 24 Years of military service and 17 Years of Active Duty [about 6,200 AD Points].

I have read several threads on various websites to determine the correct answers for my situation. However, I am unable to determine accurate answers in order to create the "best" path forward. That said, I thank you in advance for any opinions or suggestions you offer.

Big Picture: I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (PSA) three years ago with fusion of my lower spine, and I have been on two different biologics since then (Humira then Cosentyx). After receiving a waiver, I was going strong until I needed to have a knee surgery one year ago. After a subsequent blood clot following the surgery, PSA issues, and crazy, medicine-related Tinnitus issues, I required a MEB.

During the MEB process, I fought, scratched, and clawed to remain in the military. Fortunately, I was Retained, and I am proud to say I won the MEB battle. However, this may have been prideful on my part. My situation has changed…and I wonder if my will to remain in the service is costing my family, and this is where I would like to solicit your opinions.

After I was retained, I decided to pursue a civilian job, and I left active duty (two months ago) while remaining in the National Guard. However, I am still in need of at least one additional knee surgery, and the incomplete surgical repair from the first surgery is hampering my ability to do everything I need to do in my civilian occupation. Furthermore, my family watches me limp my bad wheel around my home, and I wonder if I should have let Uncle Sam kick me out when they were ready. I think the Disability Retirement would have been generous (70% O-5 pay, if I understand the process correctly).
I don’t regret fighting to remain in…I just wonder if it was prideful move that limits my family—especially since I am having a rough time still, physically speaking.

Two questions:

1) Can I go back on active duty to have my surgery and therapy completed using the INCAP process? (The previous surgery was related to an injury on AD, and I was receiving treatment while on AD too).

2) If I don’t go back to active duty, and I am remanded to the MEB process again as a member of the ANG, will the Disability Retirement be less than what it would have been if I was medically retired while on active duty? (There is a lot of conflicting information on Active Duty vs ANG Disability Retirements, and the DFAS website doesn’t expand on it).


Thanks in advance for any of your replies/opinions. I appreciate the help.
 

RonG

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Registered Member
A few related comments.

1. Re: "I think the Disability Retirement would have been generous (70% O-5 pay, if I understand the process correctly)." Yes, but as a disability retiree your retired pay would have been reduced by the amount of VA compensation received. If there was any residual retired pay, you would keep that.

2. Some of the waived/lost retired pay might be replaced by approved CRSC.

3. Disability retired pay computation, per DFAS:
The multiplier for disability retired pay is the higher of:
  • 2.5 percent for each active duty or active duty equivalent years of service, or
  • disability percentage assigned by the service at the time you retire (whichever is higher)
  • The multipler is used in conjunction with the average high three for base pay to determine the amount of retired pay (e.g., high three x 60% = disability retired pay.)
Either way, the multiplier is limited to 75 percent by law. If you are on the Temporary Disability Retired List, the minimum multiplier is 50 percent while on the TDRL.
Again, your retired pay would be reduced by the amount of VA compensation received. If there was any residual retired pay, you would keep that.

Ron
 

Guardguy11

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Good afternoon. New member here.

*I have 24 Years of military service and 17 Years of Active Duty [about 6,200 AD Points].

I have read several threads on various websites to determine the correct answers for my situation. However, I am unable to determine accurate answers in order to create the "best" path forward. That said, I thank you in advance for any opinions or suggestions you offer.

Big Picture: I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (PSA) three years ago with fusion of my lower spine, and I have been on two different biologics since then (Humira then Cosentyx). After receiving a waiver, I was going strong until I needed to have a knee surgery one year ago. After a subsequent blood clot following the surgery, PSA issues, and crazy, medicine-related Tinnitus issues, I required a MEB.

During the MEB process, I fought, scratched, and clawed to remain in the military. Fortunately, I was Retained, and I am proud to say I won the MEB battle. However, this may have been prideful on my part. My situation has changed…and I wonder if my will to remain in the service is costing my family, and this is where I would like to solicit your opinions.

After I was retained, I decided to pursue a civilian job, and I left active duty (two months ago) while remaining in the National Guard. However, I am still in need of at least one additional knee surgery, and the incomplete surgical repair from the first surgery is hampering my ability to do everything I need to do in my civilian occupation. Furthermore, my family watches me limp my bad wheel around my home, and I wonder if I should have let Uncle Sam kick me out when they were ready. I think the Disability Retirement would have been generous (70% O-5 pay, if I understand the process correctly).
I don’t regret fighting to remain in…I just wonder if it was prideful move that limits my family—especially since I am having a rough time still, physically speaking.

Two questions:

1) Can I go back on active duty to have my surgery and therapy completed using the INCAP process? (The previous surgery was related to an injury on AD, and I was receiving treatment while on AD too).

2) If I don’t go back to active duty, and I am remanded to the MEB process again as a member of the ANG, will the Disability Retirement be less than what it would have been if I was medically retired while on active duty? (There is a lot of conflicting information on Active Duty vs ANG Disability Retirements, and the DFAS website doesn’t expand on it).


Thanks in advance for any of your replies/opinions. I appreciate the help.
Welcome to the forum! There is a lot to digest here so lets get started.

1. The only way to go on orders in the Guard for medical stuff is through the MEDCON process (AFI 36-2910). INCAP is separate from MEDCON but works through the same approval channels, and is also described in that AFI. Have you applied for VA benefits yet? Using the VA hospital in your situation would most likely be the only way to get the government to pay for your service connected injury. Since you are a DSG now, you could have tri-care do it if you are covered by reserve select, but you wouldn't be on orders.

You could apply for MEDCON for the service connected injury, but I can tell you from dealing with the approval agency that your chances of getting on it are slim. MEDCON is meant for ARC members that were injured during active duty service WHILE apart of the ANG. Your previous active duty service stuff will most likely have to be handled via VA channels.

2. RonG is the man with this stuff so I will just add my 2-cents onto his post. Disability retirement is called Chapter 61 retirement. There are several differences between disability retirement, normal guard retirement, and active duty retirement. I will spell out those differences below for Chp 61 and normal guard retirement, but before that, there is another aspect to this as a DSG member. The only way you become eligible for Chapter 61 MEB is if you were on orders for greater than 30 days WHEN your unfitting condition happened, or on orders of less than 30 days pulling drill status. There is a lot of nuance to this so please ask questions if you are unsure what status you were in.

Here is an excerpt from AFI 36-3212 on ARC member disability processing:

8.1. Purpose. This chapter provides the guidelines for processing through the disability system certain ARC members who meet eligibility requirements in paragraph 8.2 Paragraph 8.3 gives an ineligibility guideline. The Air Force disability system will evaluate ARC members who meet the basic requirements for disability benefits under 10 U.S.C., chapter 61. Further, Ready Reserve members who are pending separation for a non-duty related impairment and Reserve members who are not on a call to active duty of more than 30 days and who are medically disqualified for impairments unrelated to the member's military status and performance of duty shall be afforded the opportunity to enter the disability system for a determination of fitness only but shall not be afforded disability benefits (see section E para 8.19).

Disability retirement:
- Start pulling a pension now as long as your DOD disability rating(s) that you are found UNFIT for service is(are) at least 30%
- Whatever the UNFIT ratings equate to will equal your retirement percentage, up to a max of 75%
- Points no longer matter in a Chapter 61 retirement
- In this sense, a chapter 61 retirement would get more money than a normal active duty retirement EXCEPT your VA benefits cannot be concurrent if you do not have 20 years of TAFMS, which it doesn't sound like you do. Meaning your VA benefits will reduce the taxable DOD retirement dollar for dollar. As an O-5, you will most likely max out your VA benefits depending on what is wrong with you.
- Qualify for all active duty retirement benefits (medical, dental, Base access, etc)
** There is an Combat Related Special Compensation option that if is applicable could add to this equation as RonG mentioned

Guard retirement:
- Start pulling a pension around age 59 depending on Title 10 time post the NDAA of 2008
- Pension is based on the point system
- Eligible for a tri-care benefit before hitting retirement age, but it is almost $1000 a month
- Can received VA and retirement concurrently if VA disability is 50% or greater
 
Last edited:

Guardguy11

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Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
After re-reading your initial post, I do want to point out that while it initially doesn't seem you qualify for Disability Retirement, you should qualify for a normal Guard retirement. Even if the process you out via the IDES process with no disability benefits, you would still be eligible for VA benefits immediately for any service connected injuries.
 

RaiderX

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
With all that has been said above, you are looking at 1000 points remaining to get to the 7200. Using 65 points per year, it would take over 15 years to get those additional points. Can you do what you need to for that period of time? That is the question you need to answer your self.
 

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Welcome to the forum! There is a lot to digest here so lets get started.

1. The only way to go on orders in the Guard for medical stuff is through the MEDCON process (AFI 36-2910). INCAP is separate from MEDCON but works through the same approval channels, and is also described in that AFI. Have you applied for VA benefits yet? Using the VA hospital in your situation would most likely be the only way to get the government to pay for your service connected injury. Since you are a DSG now, you could have tri-care do it if you are covered by reserve select, but you wouldn't be on orders.

You could apply for MEDCON for the service connected injury, but I can tell you from dealing with the approval agency that your chances of getting on it are slim. MEDCON is meant for ARC members that were injured during active duty service WHILE apart of the ANG. Your previous active duty service stuff will most likely have to be handled via VA channels.

2. RonG is the man with this stuff so I will just add my 2-cents onto his post. Disability retirement is called Chapter 61 retirement. There are several differences between disability retirement, normal guard retirement, and active duty retirement. I will spell out those differences below for Chp 61 and normal guard retirement, but before that, there is another aspect to this as a DSG member. The only way you become eligible for Chapter 61 MEB is if you were on orders for greater than 30 days WHEN your unfitting condition happened, or on orders of less than 30 days pulling drill status. There is a lot of nuance to this so please ask questions if you are unsure what status you were in.

Here is an excerpt from AFI 36-3212 on ARC member disability processing:

8.1. Purpose. This chapter provides the guidelines for processing through the disability system certain ARC members who meet eligibility requirements in paragraph 8.2 Paragraph 8.3 gives an ineligibility guideline. The Air Force disability system will evaluate ARC members who meet the basic requirements for disability benefits under 10 U.S.C., chapter 61. Further, Ready Reserve members who are pending separation for a non-duty related impairment and Reserve members who are not on a call to active duty of more than 30 days and who are medically disqualified for impairments unrelated to the member's military status and performance of duty shall be afforded the opportunity to enter the disability system for a determination of fitness only but shall not be afforded disability benefits (see section E para 8.19).

Disability retirement:
- Start pulling a pension now as long as your DOD disability rating(s) that you are found UNFIT for service is(are) at least 30%
- Whatever the UNFIT ratings equate to will equal your retirement percentage, up to a max of 75%
- Points no longer matter in a Chapter 61 retirement
- In this sense, a chapter 61 retirement would get more money than a normal active duty retirement EXCEPT your VA benefits cannot be concurrent if you do not have 20 years of TAFMS, which it doesn't sound like you do. Meaning your VA benefits will reduce the taxable DOD retirement dollar for dollar. As an O-5, you will most likely max out your VA benefits depending on what is wrong with you.
- Qualify for all active duty retirement benefits (medical, dental, Base access, etc)
** There is an Combat Related Special Compensation option that if is applicable could add to this equation as RonG mentioned

Guard retirement:
- Start pulling a pension around age 59 depending on Title 10 time post the NDAA of 2008
- Pension is based on the point system
- Eligible for a tri-care benefit before hitting retirement age, but it is almost $1000 a month
- Can received VA and retirement concurrently if VA disability is 50% or greater
A few related comments.

1. Re: "I think the Disability Retirement would have been generous (70% O-5 pay, if I understand the process correctly)." Yes, but as a disability retiree your retired pay would have been reduced by the amount of VA compensation received. If there was any residual retired pay, you would keep that.

2. Some of the waived/lost retired pay might be replaced by approved CRSC.

3. Disability retired pay computation, per DFAS:
The multiplier for disability retired pay is the higher of:
  • 2.5 percent for each active duty or active duty equivalent years of service, or
  • disability percentage assigned by the service at the time you retire (whichever is higher)
  • The multipler is used in conjunction with the average high three for base pay to determine the amount of retired pay (e.g., high three x 60% = disability retired pay.)
Either way, the multiplier is limited to 75 percent by law. If you are on the Temporary Disability Retired List, the minimum multiplier is 50 percent while on the TDRL.
Again, your retired pay would be reduced by the amount of VA compensation received. If there was any residual retired pay, you would keep that.

Ron
Ron,
Thank you for the reply. I will start working my VA Claim (now that I have my DD214 in hand).
I can't claim to understand the residual retired pay you describe...but it gives me something to go look up. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Question regarding the third bullet point, "The multiplier is used in conjunction with the average high three for base pay to determine the amount of retired pay (e.g., high three x 60% = disability retired pay.) ---- Does that mean an AD member will have a higher Disability Retired pay since his/her Base Pay would be higher than a Reservist during the same three-year period? Clearly a Reservist doesn't achieve the same/actual level of Base Pay over a three-year period as an AD member does. Or, is it the same regardless of status (and the Gov't simply uses Base Pay as a starting point)?

Again, I really appreciate the information. Your post was very informative.

Thank you.
 

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Welcome to the forum! There is a lot to digest here so lets get started.

1. The only way to go on orders in the Guard for medical stuff is through the MEDCON process (AFI 36-2910). INCAP is separate from MEDCON but works through the same approval channels, and is also described in that AFI. Have you applied for VA benefits yet? Using the VA hospital in your situation would most likely be the only way to get the government to pay for your service connected injury. Since you are a DSG now, you could have tri-care do it if you are covered by reserve select, but you wouldn't be on orders.

You could apply for MEDCON for the service connected injury, but I can tell you from dealing with the approval agency that your chances of getting on it are slim. MEDCON is meant for ARC members that were injured during active duty service WHILE apart of the ANG. Your previous active duty service stuff will most likely have to be handled via VA channels.

2. RonG is the man with this stuff so I will just add my 2-cents onto his post. Disability retirement is called Chapter 61 retirement. There are several differences between disability retirement, normal guard retirement, and active duty retirement. I will spell out those differences below for Chp 61 and normal guard retirement, but before that, there is another aspect to this as a DSG member. The only way you become eligible for Chapter 61 MEB is if you were on orders for greater than 30 days WHEN your unfitting condition happened, or on orders of less than 30 days pulling drill status. There is a lot of nuance to this so please ask questions if you are unsure what status you were in.

Here is an excerpt from AFI 36-3212 on ARC member disability processing:

8.1. Purpose. This chapter provides the guidelines for processing through the disability system certain ARC members who meet eligibility requirements in paragraph 8.2 Paragraph 8.3 gives an ineligibility guideline. The Air Force disability system will evaluate ARC members who meet the basic requirements for disability benefits under 10 U.S.C., chapter 61. Further, Ready Reserve members who are pending separation for a non-duty related impairment and Reserve members who are not on a call to active duty of more than 30 days and who are medically disqualified for impairments unrelated to the member's military status and performance of duty shall be afforded the opportunity to enter the disability system for a determination of fitness only but shall not be afforded disability benefits (see section E para 8.19).

Disability retirement:
- Start pulling a pension now as long as your DOD disability rating(s) that you are found UNFIT for service is(are) at least 30%
- Whatever the UNFIT ratings equate to will equal your retirement percentage, up to a max of 75%
- Points no longer matter in a Chapter 61 retirement
- In this sense, a chapter 61 retirement would get more money than a normal active duty retirement EXCEPT your VA benefits cannot be concurrent if you do not have 20 years of TAFMS, which it doesn't sound like you do. Meaning your VA benefits will reduce the taxable DOD retirement dollar for dollar. As an O-5, you will most likely max out your VA benefits depending on what is wrong with you.
- Qualify for all active duty retirement benefits (medical, dental, Base access, etc)
** There is an Combat Related Special Compensation option that if is applicable could add to this equation as RonG mentioned

Guard retirement:
- Start pulling a pension around age 59 depending on Title 10 time post the NDAA of 2008
- Pension is based on the point system
- Eligible for a tri-care benefit before hitting retirement age, but it is almost $1000 a month
- Can received VA and retirement concurrently if VA disability is 50% or greater
Guard Guy 11,

Awesome information. Thank you for your inputs; I truly appreciate the information.

For clarification, I was an AGR for 12 years, and the conditions/injury were discovered and/or occurred while on AGR status.

Even though you say it may be a long-shot, I'll contact my Medical Squadron to discuss MEDCON Orders in advance of the next surgery. (I'll make sure I fully read & understand AFI 36-2910 prior to doing so). In the interim, I will also create an account with the VA and begin to navigate their system to request the VA's consideration regarding my medical situation.

Again, thank you for adding to the information being presented by the other (awesome) individuals in this forum. I appreciate the advice/information!
 

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
With all that has been said above, you are looking at 1000 points remaining to get to the 7200. Using 65 points per year, it would take over 15 years to get those additional points. Can you do what you need to for that period of time? That is the question you need to answer your self.
Raider,

Great question.

I think I'll make a solid decision after I fully realize how the next surgery effects my mobility. If it improves, I would prefer to remain in and keep serving. At my current grade, I can remain in service for six more years...
If my mobility/pain doesn't improve: then I'll be following the advice/suggestions on this site carefully.

Thank you for the feedback. Much appreciated.
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
LearningFast,

RE: "Ron,
Thank you for the reply. I will start working my VA Claim (now that I have my DD214 in hand).
I can't claim to understand the residual retired pay you describe...but it gives me something to go look up. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.
Question regarding the third bullet point, "The multiplier is used in conjunction with the average high three for base pay to determine the amount of retired pay (e.g., high three x 60% = disability retired pay.) ---- Does that mean an AD member will have a higher Disability Retired pay since his/her Base Pay would be higher than a Reservist during the same three-year period? Clearly a Reservist doesn't achieve the same/actual level of Base Pay over a three-year period as an AD member does. Or, is it the same regardless of status (and the Gov't simply uses Base Pay as a starting point)? "
--------------------
Reply.

1. Residual retired pay example for CH 61 retiree. Factors: retired pay = 4000; VA compensation = 3000
The retired pay is reduced by the amount of VA compensation. 4000 minus 3000 = residual (left over) retired pay

2. High three average base pay, regardless of AGR/Reserve or Active Duty:
The "High three" is determined by the total of the highest 36 months of base pay divided by 36 (months) = "high three"

3. Naturally, a retired E-8 would have a higher average base pay over 36 months than an E-6. Additionally, the fact that an active duty member might have more opportunities for promotion and higher rates of pay than a reservist is not a consideration in the "high three" determination and formula for computing retired pay.

Ron
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
More about "High Three" or the total of the highest 36 months of base pay divided by 36 (months).

Your DFAS RAS (Retiree Account Statement) will have gross retired pay in the upper left portion of the form on page one. Example: $5000

One can divide the gross ($5000) by the multiplier (example 60%) to determine high three. 5000/0.60 = 8333.33 high three

From the info you have provided, it seems unlikely that you have received your first DFAS RAS. However, the high three will be useful later in determining the longevity portion of retired pay if you have approved CRSC or later become eligible for CRDP.

Ron
 

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
RonG,

Great. Thank you for the clarification.

(I'm literally on a separate Web page now looking up Residual Retired Pay information for Chapter 61 Retirees).

I'll apologize in advance for the stupid question:

Using your Residual Retired Pay Example for a CH61 Retiree...
The final retired pay equals 1,000?
Or,
Is it simply a matter of the VA paying 3,000 of the 4,000 instead of the DOD paying the entire 4,000? (The retired pay still equals 4,000, right? It seems to me that it is just funded by two pots of money. Is that correct)?

Hopefully that make sense.
Again, my apologies for the bad question.
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I understand it is new to you and confusing. It is somewhat like buying a car. The customer might buy 10-15 vehicles during their lifetime; the car salesperson might sell that many cars in a month.



You said:

Using your Residual Retired Pay Example for a CH61 Retiree...
1. The final retired pay equals 1,000?
Or,
2. Is it simply a matter of the VA paying 3,000 of the 4,000 instead of the DOD paying the entire 4,000? (The retired pay still equals 4,000, right? It seems to me that it is just funded by two pots of money. Is that correct)?

My reply:

A. You lose retired pay in the amount of VA compensation. In most cases, the VA comp is higher and the retiree receives zero retired pay. The example I used shows a case where 1000 is left and the retiree gets to retain it. It is deposited at his financial institution.

B. In all the scenarios I might show...the retiree keeps all their VA compensation.

C. The VA pays VA compensation regardless of the amount of retired pay; the VA is not paying part of the retired pay. There are hundreds of thousands of veterans who receive VA compensation and they are not retired.

D. By law, a CH 61 retiree's retired pay is reduced by the amount of VA compensation received. Reason: The retired pay is disability pay too. There is a much more lengthy answer that can be provided...

E. Yes...there are two pots of money. The DFAS pays retired pay, CRSC and CRDP to retirees. The VA pays VA compensation to retirees and other veterans.

Ron
 

LearningFast

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Ron,

Thank you for your patience.
Your explanation helps me understand better, and I will continue to learn about the financial side of this scenario.
(Either scenairo sounds like a fair deal).
With appreciation,
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I am glad we could help.

You might find the following interesting:

Source: Congressional Research Services Report
LINK to Report <---

In 1891, Congress first prohibited payment of both military retired pay and a disability pension under the premise that it represented dual or overlapping compensation for the same purpose. The original law was modified in 1941, and the present system of VA disability compensation offsetting military retired pay was adopted in 1944. Under this system, retired military personnel were required to waive a portion of their retired pay equal to the amount of VA disability compensation, a dollar-for-dollar offset.1 If, for example, a military retiree received $1,500 a month in retired pay and was rated by the VA as 70% disabled (and therefore entitled to approximately $1,000 per month in disability compensation), the offset would operate to pay $500 monthly in retired pay and the $1,000 in disability compensation.

The advantage for the retiree was that VA disability compensation was not taxable. For many years some military retirees and advocacy groups sought a change in law to permit receipt of all, or some, of both payments. Opponents of concurrent receipt frequently referred to it as double dipping, maintaining that it represented two payments for the same condition. In the FY2003 NDAA (P.L. 107-314), Congress created a benefit known as Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC). CRSC provided, for certain disabled retirees whose disability is combat-related, a cash benefit financially identical to what concurrent receipt would provide them. The FY2004 NDAA (P.L. 108-136) authorized, for the first time, the phase-in of actual concurrent receipt (now referred to as Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments or CRDP), and a greatly expanded CRSC program.

Ron
 

RonG

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Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
RonG,

Great. Thank you for the clarification.

(I'm literally on a separate Web page now looking up Residual Retired Pay information for Chapter 61 Retirees).
You might not find the term "residual retired pay" in the documents you review. That is precisely what it is, but they probably use "amount remaining" or similar.

Here is the major source of information for the computation of retired pay:
Comptroller, Computation of Retired Pay LINK <---

Ron
 
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