Thoroughly Confused

FSI1212

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I'm cross-posting this from vets.yuku.com because I just found this forum and I think this may help me out more than the other. We'll see.

First of all, thanks for viewing and potentially answering my question. I've browsed a few of the posts, but they are all from people over 20 years in service. I'll start by explaining my career thus far and then get into the medical stuff. Feel free to ask any questions as I realize this may be confusing.

I joined in August 2009 (Air Force if it matters). I was active duty up until January 2015, when I palace chased to the reserves. No break in service. Started reserve duty the day after I was separated from active duty. That put me at 5.5 years of active duty service. I am a traditional reservist so the whole one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year, etc. I was deployed April of this year, but was returned early due to mental health conditions (returned after only 5 days in country). That is my service history. Essentially, 7 years of total service next month.

Now for the medical story. When I separated from active duty, I was rated 30% combined disability from the VA with 10% for depression, 10% for acne, 10% for tinnitus, and 10% for runners knee. I was treated outpatient for depression while I was active duty for about a year. The condition never went away, but I managed it, until after I separated from active duty and ended up in a mental hospital April 2015 for suicidal ideation. After that, I saw the VA psychologist and he explained that would definitely get me some disability (which it eventually did). Fast forward a year to April 2016 when I was deployed. I notified the doctor during my pre-deployment health assesment of my mental hospital stay exactly a year prior and my disability for depression, but he cleared me anyway. 5 days in, I was returned home due to suicidal ideation, anxiety attacks, and some pretty hefty depression. Just this past Tuesday, I am at an active duty base seeing a psyschologist for an assesment. I had been told by military doctors in the deployed location that I may have BPD, and this was echoed by my therapist that I have been seeing for over a year for my depression. HOWEVER, the psychologist I saw with the military said that I may not have BPD just based off what I was telling her from my symptoms, experiences, etc. She also said that she was already leaning towards an MEB recommendation rather than administrative separation based on my case file. I am going to get tested with a civilian psychologist with a BPD screen, depression screen, anxiety screen, and ADHD screen (unrelated to my military career).

Now to the juicy part: my question. If I am MEBd, and lets say eventually medically retired, what happens to my 30% combined disability? I understand the depression disability may change, but what happens to the physical disabilities? I will still have them physically, but will I still receive compensation if I receive medical retirement pay. Bonus question: How the heck do I calculate retirement pay, disability pay, etc. if I am medically retired? I found the formula that is the Disability Rating x Basic Pay, but it comes to like 43,000 dollars at 40% (which is minimum for medical retirement). Is that a yearly amount? And how does that factor in with my prior disabilities from active duty?

Sorry for the long post, but I'm doing my best to lay out my career so far and such. Again, feel free to ask any questions for clarification. And thank you for any help.

Bonus bonus question: Some of the posts over at the other forum say the "magic number" for medical retirement is 15 years, but I was under the impression that you could be medically retired at any time in service as long as you have at least a 30% disability rating. Anyways, what are my chances of being medically retired? I realize you probably don't know and feel free to say that, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
 

msHampton

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
The DOD rates you on conditions that prevent you from serving. So you have a 30% combined VA rating - but the DOD may only give you 10% for the depression if it is at a level that stops you from serving. If this is the only item and rating you receive from DOD, they will simply medically separate you. Request an LOD to be initiated for your PTSD as it is service connected and can be related to your recent deployment. Inbox me - I am in a semi-similar situation (Joined July 2009 - Palace Chased Dec 2014 - currently awaiting MED Board decision from Regular Reserve - I'm also on no points no pay due to migraines).
 

gsfowler

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Bonus question answer:
The other forum is incorrect on "medical retirement" You can get TERA at 15 years, but medical retirement is given if you have greater than 30% disability of unfitting conditions.

Juicy Part: As far as your current rating is concerned, it may change if the VA reexamines the conditions (if you claim them with the Air Force).

Bonus question answer:
Medicial retirement pay is calculated as the higher of:

a.) 2.5 times your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty) x your years of service or

b.) your disability rating (maximum 75%) x your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty)

here is a good form to do the calculations

Since you are currently reservist, this would be calculated as if your were on active duty

Juicy Part II: Here is an example of how you could potentially calculate medical retirement pay

Say you are enlisted and your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty) is $4000.00. You get medically retired (TDRL because most BH conditions are not considered stable) at 50% for your depression with anxiety. Your medical retirement from the AF would be $2000.00 per month taxable.

Now lets say you had no other conditions which changed with the VA, so you are now 50% TDRL (depression/anxiety) 10% tinnitus and 10% knee. Your combined VA rating would be 59.5% which would round up to 60%. Your VA C&P award would be $1059.09 if you are single. This award would offset your DoD retirement of $2000.00 so your would get $1059.09 from the VA tax free and $940.91 from the AF (taxable).


NOW HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER...

Make sure that when you do your evaluation for mental health, your are 100% honest and do not try to game the system.

You may find yourself with a personality disorder diagnosis and separated for a condition not a disability. If you are medically retired because of a BH diagnosis, then you will be "temporarily retired" at 50% or greater, because BH conditions are not considered stable.

An example of this is your 10% diagnosis with the VA for depression. If you were depressed at the level of 10%, then you should have had no issues performing your duties related to your deployment. If you were sent home after only 5 days in country, then the condition they sent you home for existed prior to that period of active duty and was more severe than 10%.

On the other hand, if you managed perfectly fine at 10%, then once you were in theater, everything went south. If this cannot be explained away with any other diagnosis, you may find yourself being diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, Acute. AD, acute is considered a personality disorder and non compensable. The Air Force could separate your for a "condition not a disability"

Do you see where I am going with this? The AF has many options to separate you without benefits. (you already mentioned bi-polar) I would not want this to happen to you. Make sure that they get your diagnosis correct to protect your future.
 

FSI1212

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Bonus question answer:
The other forum is incorrect on "medical retirement" You can get TERA at 15 years, but medical retirement is given if you have greater than 30% disability of unfitting conditions.

Juicy Part: As far as your current rating is concerned, it may change if the VA reexamines the conditions (if you claim them with the Air Force).

Bonus question answer:
Medicial retirement pay is calculated as the higher of:

a.) 2.5 times your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty) x your years of service or

b.) your disability rating (maximum 75%) x your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty)

here is a good form to do the calculations

Since you are currently reservist, this would be calculated as if your were on active duty

Juicy Part II: Here is an example of how you could potentially calculate medical retirement pay

Say you are enlisted and your retired pay base (average of top three years active duty) is $4000.00. You get medically retired (TDRL because most BH conditions are not considered stable) at 50% for your depression with anxiety. Your medical retirement from the AF would be $2000.00 per month taxable.

Now lets say you had no other conditions which changed with the VA, so you are now 50% TDRL (depression/anxiety) 10% tinnitus and 10% knee. Your combined VA rating would be 59.5% which would round up to 60%. Your VA C&P award would be $1059.09 if you are single. This award would offset your DoD retirement of $2000.00 so your would get $1059.09 from the VA tax free and $940.91 from the AF (taxable).


NOW HERE ARE SOME THINGS TO CONSIDER...

Make sure that when you do your evaluation for mental health, your are 100% honest and do not try to game the system.

You may find yourself with a personality disorder diagnosis and separated for a condition not a disability. If you are medically retired because of a BH diagnosis, then you will be "temporarily retired" at 50% or greater, because BH conditions are not considered stable.

An example of this is your 10% diagnosis with the VA for depression. If you were depressed at the level of 10%, then you should have had no issues performing your duties related to your deployment. If you were sent home after only 5 days in country, then the condition they sent you home for existed prior to that period of active duty and was more severe than 10%.

On the other hand, if you managed perfectly fine at 10%, then once you were in theater, everything went south. If this cannot be explained away with any other diagnosis, you may find yourself being diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder, Acute. AD, acute is considered a personality disorder and non compensable. The Air Force could separate your for a "condition not a disability"

Do you see where I am going with this? The AF has many options to separate you without benefits. (you already mentioned bi-polar) I would not want this to happen to you. Make sure that they get your diagnosis correct to protect your future.


Hey thanks for the reply. I just read this. I was diagnosed with CHRONIC adjustment disorder at 10% out of active duty and that is what is being compensated by the VA. From what I've been told, I should not have even been deployed if this was the case. Either way, the military psychologist noted in my file that this would be a compensable condition if the LOD were finished and I was MEBd.
 
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