Warrior Care: Pay Change Puts More Money in Injured Servicemembers’ Pockets
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 4, 2008 A military compensation policy change provides more money for servicemembers injured during service in the global war on terrorism, a senior Defense Department official said here today.
The Pay and Allowance Continuation program, known by the acronym PAC, is authorized by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, Tim Fowlkes, assistant director of military compensation, told Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service reporters.
The new initiative enables wounded servicemembers undergoing medical treatment to continue to receive overseas-related per diem and hazardous and hardship duty pays, as well as other special-incentive monies such as special assignment and parachute, or “jump,” pay during hospitalization and recovery, Fowlkes said.
The PAC program is a logical change to military compensation policy that aids wounded warriors, Fowlkes said, so “they don’t experience an immediate drop in pay” as a result of their injuries.
PAC was authorized at the Pentagon via a memorandum directive issued on May 15 by David S.C. Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
PAC pay starts when injured servicemembers are first hospitalized and continues for a year, with possible six-month extensions due to extraordinary circumstances, according to a Defense Finance and Accounting Service news release issued in June. The pay normally would cease after an injured servicemember recovers and returns to active duty or is discharged from military service.
Fowlkes said PAC “basically is a transition pay” that replaces a previous program called combat-related injury rehabilitation pay, or CIP, that was in effect since 2006. CIP enabled wounded servicemembers to continue to receive about $430 monthly, totaled from overseas per diem, hazardous and hardship duty pays –- but no other special assignment pays -- during their hospitalization and recovery.
In addition, servicemembers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries after departing overseas areas are entitled to PAC pay provisions, Fowlkes said. Under the CIP program, he said, eligible servicemembers had to be diagnosed for PTSD or TBI at overseas locales.
The PAC program “will be particularly beneficial to members hospitalized for traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving Iraq or Afghanistan,” according to the DFAS news release.
“Moreover, the PAC program will apply to members who are hospitalized due to a wound, injury or illness incurred anywhere in the world from hostile action or event, and not just a combat operation or in a combat zone,” the DFAS release stated.