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Q25: I retired after 22 years of Naval service in 1998.  I had a 10% disability rating then and now it's been elevated to 40% and I'm appealing for more.  But, they've always just taken the money off the top of my regular retirement check and re-routed it to the VA and given back to me.  This has never seemed fair to me.  They say I can't have both a retirement and VA disability.  Why not?  One is for my term of service and the other is for disabilities incurred during that term of service.  Can someone please explain why?

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A1:  VA Disability Benefits are TAX FREE! Your Navy pension is not! That is all you get from the free status. Therefore, they take the amount of your VA entitlement out of your Navy pension because that amount is not subject to tax. So let's say your pension is $100 mo. (God forbid!) and your disability is 40% or $40. Then the amount of your pension check each month is $60 and you get another check from VA for $40. AT THE END OF THE YEAR... you will only receive a taxable 1099-R for $720 and you will not receive anything for the $480 paid by VA. That means that you only file $720 for income. Now those people who didn't retire and are pronounced disabled of X%, get a pension check equivalent to the numbers I said above. Whether that is taxable or not I'm not sure. I don't think it is but that doesn't apply to you anyway. This is as simple as it gets to understand. If you are looking for something that is unfair, wait til you hit 65! Then the DOD says you have to go on Medicare and TriCare for Life! That's sounds OK (100%) except what they don't tell you is that about $100(?) month comes out of your social security check for both you and your wife. So I called Social Security and they said you may refuse to pay it each month. BUT if you do, then whenever you reinstate you'll have to pay back everything you didn't pay. So you don't know when, if at all, the DOD comes up with some other system that involves Medicare. If that happens, bend over for a big chunk of money. Just another screw job in the life of a retired vet! So don't say things are unfair, that's the modus operendi!!!  (EB)  2/24/18


A2:  Talk to your congressman and have the law changed. You can not draw concurrent pay until you are rated 50% or better. If your disabilities are directly combat related and under 50% you can apply for special related combat compensation.  (RJ)  2/24/18


A3:   I agree, I'm in the same boat and I don't like it. The prohibition of concurrent payment of VA benefits and military retirement pay, including restriction on the concurrent payment of VA benefits and military retirement pay retainer pay as a form of military retirement pay prohibition under 38 CFR 3.750 of combined benefits to exceed the amount of the greater benefit unrestricted election, reelection, or waiver of military retirement pay advantage of waiving military retirement pay determining whether a Veteran receives military retirement pay verifying the amount of retirement pay a Veteran receives, and deferring award action in the absence of an election or waiver.  According to what I understand on this subject, once you are rated 50% or more, they no longer keep your money. You get both retirement & Disability pay. Also, I believe that there's a Bill on the Hill to change this, but who knows when, if ever, it will, pass. Good luck.  (JL)  2/24/18


A4:  the only way would be if you if you were eligible for c.r.s.c combat related special compensation look this up on the internet I could explain be better if you read it combat related compensation from combat or traing exercises for combat.  (LM)  3/2/18