Sunday, February 26, 2012

Please contact your Congressman and Senators!

There are currently two bills, H.R.186.IH and H.R.1979.IH  that have been sent to the Committee on Armed Services and the Committees on the Budget and Veterans' Affairs.  These bills would rightfully amend Title 10 so that service members were able to receive both their military retired pay and their VA compensation. This is an issue that affects retired and disabled veterans across the nation.  Please contact your Congressman and Senators today!  I have been doing hand-written letters as I believe they carry more weight than an email.  The title information on each bill can be found below, or you can read the entire text of each by clicking the links above.

H.R.186.IH:  "To amend title 10, United States Code, to expand the eligibility for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation to include all members of the uniformed services who are retired under chapter 61 of such title for disability, regardless of the members' disability rating percentage."

And H.R.1979.IH: "To amend title 10, United States Code, to expand eligibility for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation to include additional chapter 61 disability retirees, to coordinate eligibility for combat-related special compensation and concurrent receipt , to eliminate the reduction of SBP survivor annuities by dependency and indemnity compensation, and to enhance the ability of members of the reserve components who serve on active duty or perform active service to receive credit for such service in determining eligibility for early receipt of non-regular service retired pay."

Monday, November 7, 2011

Update November 2011

CRSC:  Denied - from what I can glean, Michael did not serve in combat long enough.  When he re-applied for it after I printed out a copy of his DFAS check statement to send (which stated his Army check was being deducted by the amount received from VA), the committee responded with a letter stating that though he was eligible for CRSC, the "offset amount" was high enough that the math doesn't work out (somehow).  It is all very confusing to this lay-woman.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Another Waiting Game

We have asked the VA for what DFAS is calling a 'VA Waiver'. The first person Michael asked about it had no clue what he was talking about, so he had to get online and find the actual form name for the VA Waiver. In case you didn't know, the VA Waiver is when the Army reduces your Army Retired Pay by the amount you receive from the VA every month. Lets do an example:

Say Pete received $1, 205 from the VA every month and $1,425 from the Army every month. Unless Pete had been approved for Combat-Related Special Compensation or Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay, the Army would, upon realizing he was receiving both payments, start deducting his Army Retirement or Disability pay by the amount of his VA pay (they call this the 'VA Waiver' at DFAS, apparently they are the only ones who know what that means). So instead of Pete receiving $2, 630 a month from both agencies, he would only receive $1,205 from the VA and $220 from the Army.
Back to real life...Michael has requested the form that DFAS calls the 'VA Waiver' from the VA in order to re-process his claim for Combat-Related Special Compensation. If you recall from an earlier blog, that is all that was needed for him to have been approved the first time.

The VA sent a letter stating that they were 'processing' his request for said form. No telling if they will ever figure it out and send us a copy. So once again, we are waiting on someone to do their job.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Update on DEERS & Tricare

So I found someone who could help us change the information in the DEERS system so that it is correct. She did so and I called Tricare the next day, so we (me, Michael and Jesi) now have Tricare Standard! And apparently had it up until August and didn't even know it! Now we'll just have to see what happens with this recoup process to see if we can enroll in Tricare Prime Remote and have it deducted from Michael's check every month. Oh well, Standard is better than nothing! Oh and we will have to go have ID's made at Camp Robinson for all three of us sometime soon. See ya soon, Shirley!

I got excited...

So a friend of mine, who has been through the VA/Army disability process and also worked for the VA system told me a while back to remember two things:
  1. Hurry up and wait.
  2. Don't get excited.
Well, I forgot and got excited. See, when we finally got some of the paperwork for Michael's TDRL (Temporary Disability Retirement List), I immediately filled out the paperwork for CRSC (Combat-Related Special Compensation). CRSC "allows certain military retirees to receive both their military retirement pay and VA Disability Compensation. This means that qualified military retirees with 20 or more years of service that have a "combat related" VA-rated disability no longer have their military retirement pay reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation." You can read more about it here.

When we received the information on Michael's TDRL disability payments, we had to fill out DD Form 2656. On this form (and I'm going to get technical here) section 4, line 12 says ("Complete only if a member or former member of the reserve component not on active duty retiring at age 60.") Line 12a asks "Do you receive or were you receiving on the date of retirement any VA compensation for disability?", I marked YES. 12b asks for the "effective date of payment" and I put in the date from VA paperwork and line 12c asks for "monthly amount of payment" where I entered the complete amount of Michael's monthly VA compensation.

So in November, Michael started receiving both his full TDRL pay from the Army and his full VA Compensation. But last month we were notified that he was denied CRSC because he didn't have a "VA Waiver" which means that one pay is not being reduced by the amount of the other pay. Well, it was at this point that we start to worry about either the VA or the Army coming back to recoup for overpayment, which they are infamous for.

I told Michael to call DFAS (the accounting firm of the Department of Defense, i.e. the people who do the paperwork so that soldiers receive payment) and ask them about receiving both full payments. I even wrote down specific things for him to say so that there would be no misunderstandings. Well, he asked the operator that he spoke to and she had no idea what he was talking about and told him that she didn't see that he was receiving CRSC or CRDP (Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay) and couldn't tell him why he was receiving both or whether they would try to recoup overpayment.

I was not satisfied with her answer, so I called the next day and asked some very direct questions. In fact, I have a notepad document with exactly what I said, let me cut and paste:

Is CRDP automatic now or do you still have to apply to receive it?
We are receiving both his full VA compensation and his full retired pay from the army.
He is on TDRL.
Who do I need to speak to in order to make sure that we won't eventually be charged in order for either the VA or the Army to recoup an overpayment?
I would like for someone with the authority to do so, to tell me that it is okay that he is receiving both payments and that he won't be indebted to either agency in the future because of their mistake?
Filed for CRSC which was denied because he didn't have a VA Waiver.

So the operator I spoke to immediately put her supervisor on the phone whose first words to me were, "We have a problem." (WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT! This is why I was calling.) I tell him, yes, that is why I called. He tells me that no, we are not supposed to be receiving both payments and that he will flag the account for review. I ask him about the form 2656, which they had to have before we could start receiving payments from them, and the line that asks if he was receiving VA Compensation. I told him that we put yes and put the exact amount he was receiving. He told me that DFAS doesn't look at that part of the form, that the VA is to notify DFAS that a person is receiving VA Compensation.

He then tells me what will happen after the account is reviewed. We will receive a letter in 30 days notifying us of the overpayment amount. We can then either pay the full amount (which would be impossible) or they will set up some kind of payments. At this point I am so frustrated that I am crying. I can't imagine doing this man's job, it really must suck to be him. He also told me that Michael is not eligible for CRSC, or that it wouldn't be very much money difference. I don't think he knows what he's talking about though because the CRSC counselor we spoke with told us that he is very much eligible. Also, on the denial letter they sent us, the only reason he was denied was because he didn't have that VA waiver. So we will be filing for CRSC again (or sending in the proper documents should we ever receive them).

So to summarize, because employees at the VA and DFAS didn't do their jobs, and even though I filled out very specific information describing EXACTLY what we were receiving from the VA, they (and by they I'm not sure if it will be the Army or the VA) will be recouped for overpayment.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So now we are in the process of getting enrolled in Tricare (health insurance). In order to do that we have to call an office in Arlington, VA to correct the information that DEERS (Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System) has on Michael. As I said before, they are only showing that he was in the service for 23 DAYS. So we call the number for DEERS and they give us the number for Army Human Resources which gives us a voice mailbox to leave our information so that someone can contact us...I don't think so. I will be finding and speaking to an actual person about this today if it kills me!
DEERS shows the 23 days thing and said that they have no record of Michael being on TDRL, Tricare says that we are not eligible. UGH! More footwork to do. As my friend said, "Hurry up and wait," and "Don't get excited."

Monday, October 19, 2009

To top it off, went to get id's made & the ID system shows Michael was only in for 23 days!! More like 22 years. More paperwork to do now.