Understanding Concurrent Receipt
Ostrom retired from the Air Force in 2000 after serving in a variety of personnel, education and training, and executive officer assignments. His assignments included tours in North Dakota, Florida, Korea, Australia, and the Pentagon. His final assignment was on the Joint Staff, writing and championing legislation related to joint officer personnel management issues. He earned numerous decorations and awards over his Air Force career.
After Air Force retirement, Ostrom was a practicing investment advisor at a large investment firm and a bank. He specialized in working with clients developing, implementing, and managing investment plans and portfolios.
A native of San Antonio, he earned a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts and is a graduate of the Royal Australian Air Command and Staff College and the U.S. Air Command and Staff College.
Ostrom joined the MOAA staff in 2006. His responsibilities include researching and writing articles and answering member inquiries regarding military benefits, health care, survivor issues, and financial concerns. He also travels extensively to discuss these matters with servicemembers and retirees and their families.
MOAA has been fighting for concurrent receipt, the ability to receive both retired pay and VA compensation in full each month, since the early 2000s. We won legislation to receive both for some retirees, and we’re still fighting the battle for the others.
Though concurrent receipt programs have been around for 15 years, they’re hard to understand, so some people still don’t take advantage of them. Here's a breakdown of the options available to you:
Option 1: if you’re a retiree with 20 years or more of service and have a VA rating of 50% or greater. This program is called Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP). You get full retired pay and full VA compensation. CRDP removes the VA waiver from your retired pay, allowing you to collect all your taxable retired pay. If you have a VA rating of 40% or less, your retired pay is still docked by the VA waiver amount.
[RELATED: More About CRDP]
Option 2: if your injuries or disabilities are combat-related. Even if you qualify for CRDP, you might get a better benefit from Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). You can receive full, tax-free retired pay for “time served" and full VA compensation, regardless of your years of service or your VA rating. There are three catches:
- Your situation must be combat-related (this standard has some flexibility).
- Your retired pay restoration is limited to "time served." For example, say a person is medically retired from service due to a disability. His service disability rating is 60%. He has 5 years of service at medical retirement. Technically, retired pay for a person like this is figured at 60% of base pay due to their service disability rating. But if his retired pay were figured based on “time served,” it would be: 5 years X 2.5% = 12.5%. So CRSC would restore retired pay up to 12.5% of base pay, but not the whole 60% of base pay he was awarded. He would lose everything over 12.5% to the VA waiver. This is because, everything over 12.5% is based on his service disability rating. All of the VA comp is based on a disability rating. Double dipping laws prevent two payments for the same event.
- Your retired pay restoration is limited to your combat-related disability rating, which could be less than your VA rating. As additional background information: The VA rates all service illnesses and disabilities — combat or not. Under CRSC, the service rates only the combat portion of your illnesses and disabilities. It’s not unusual for someone to have a higher VA rating than a combat-related rating because the combat specific issues can be a subset of the greater VA rating.
[RELATED: More About CRSC]
Whether you’re eligible for CRDP or not, search the web for CRSC and your branch of service for details on how to apply for it. You must apply to your service for CRSC. Remember, you have nothing to lose.