DoD Physical Disability Board of Review is Reviewing Medical Retirement Ratings
Share this with the younger veterans you encounter. It may be old news, but it is worth repeating.
Roughly 70,000 veterans rated at less than 30% disability and given a medical separation between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009 now have the chance to get their separations reviewed and possibly upgraded to a “medical retirement” status. This could mean thousands in added benefits for disabled veterans who were originally denied a military retirement. The review is being conducted by the Physical Disability Board of Review. It will examine each applicant’s medical separation records and make a recommendation to the respective Service Secretary based on its findings.
Note a veteran must apply for this review. To be eligible veterans must have been medically separated between the dates noted above with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and originally not found eligible for retirement. There is no deadline to apply and next of kin can also apply. While upgrade is not guaranteed, there is no risk of veterans losing their existing benefits either. As of April 2011, more than half of the applicants have been upgraded.
The severance check game will be played out again, but in a different manner than in the past. Those who received one (done when a rating of less than 30% awarded) will have their original payment taken from their retirement pay until the original balance is fully recouped. However, since their retirement will be backdated, it means the difference to date between what has been paid in lump sum versus the sum of what would have been paid to date under the new rating is what is owed. That is good news.
More than a retirement check is involved. It means the veteran is now eligible for DoD’s TRICARE health care coverage (retroactively to the day of original disability separation) and coverage is extended to the dependents as well. Previous medical expenditures incurred by you may be retroactively reimbursed. Furthermore, the veteran is now eligible to buy the Survivor’s Benefit Plan insurance (but must pay premiums to bring the coverage up to date). Finally, the veteran and his/her eligible dependents will have access to the commissary, the post/base exchange, space available recreation and travel, and other benefits available via State and private sector organizations catering to retirees/medical retirees.
Visit the PDBR website to learn more and begin the application process.
As of 15 August 2011