Combat Related Special Compensation
Passed by Congress in 2008, Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a program to assist disabled, retired combat veterans. Before CRSC, veterans could not concurrently receive retirement pay from the Department of Defense (DoD) and disability benefits form the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to CRSC, any monetary benefits received from the VA was subtracted from the amount of DoD benefits issued. This was done since money received from the VA is not taxable whereas any DoD income is taxable. CRSC is one exception to this process. The other is Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) which is discussed in another blog.
CRSC allows a Veteran who qualifies to receive some, if not all, of the DoD money that was subtracted by VA compensation. In order to qualify, a Veteran must meet certain criteria:
- Eligible for and/or receiving military retired pay
- Be rated at least 10% by VA
- Waive your VA pay from your retirement pay
- File a CRSC application
- Have a combat-related disability incurred as a direct result of:
- Armed conflict: injury from direct combat (includes problems resulting from environmental issues, like smoke inhalation);
- Hazardous duty: duties which are considered dangerous, like explosive ordinance disposal;
- Instrumentality of war: military equipment designed primarily for military service; injury must be a result of use of equipment and not due to negligence; or
- Simulated war: field training exercises/war games
CRSC money is not taxable and can be retroactive if an audit from the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) determines you are owed retroactive payment. Any retroactive payment due will be paid by the VA and may go back as far as June 1, 2003 but can be limited based on:
- your overall CRSC start date
- your Purple Heart eligibility
- your retirement date
- your retirement law (disability or non-disability)
- six-year barring statute
Any disability retiree with less than 20 years of service will be automatically limited to a retroactive date of January 1, 2008. All retroactive pay is limited to six years from the date the VA awarded compensation for each disability.
In order for a medical condition qualify, it must have been rated by the VA. It is highly advisable to contact an experienced legal team early on in the Military Disability Process to help you navigate this complicated process, to ensure you receive what you are entitled to, and to avoid any appeals process to the extent possible. You will need to submit all the appropriate documents with a CRSC application accompanied with a DD Form 2860. If you suspect you have a CRSC condition that has not been rated by the VA, it may be possible to add it later by way of appeal.
If you have already applied to CRSC and have been denied, it is possible to request a reconsideration of the decision. This is done by submitting a CRSC Form 12e for the Army, a NCPB Form 1850-7 for the Navy/Marine Corps, or calling 1-800-525-0102 for the Air Force. Requests for reconsideration are important and require documented supporting information along with a detailed letter explaining why you believe the decision should be altered in your favor. If a Request for Reconsideration is denied, one last form of appeal is available through a submission of a DD Form 149.
The experienced legal team at Citizen Solider Law can help you prepare your best case for presentation to the CRSC Reconsideration Board.