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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 366-03
May 23, 2003

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ANNOUNCES NEW COMPENSATION PROGRAM

The Department of Defense announced today a new compensation program in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs for many disabled military retirees. The new program called Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) becomes effective May 31 for qualified combat-related disabled retirees.

Eligible members are those retirees who have 20 years of service for retired pay computation and who either have disabilities because of combat injuries for which they have been awarded the Purple Heart or who are rated at least 60 percent disabled because of armed conflict, hazardous duty, training exercises, or mishaps involving military equipment.

Payments for qualified retirees will accrue beginning June 1 with first payments possible on July 1. Members must apply to their own branch of service using DD Form 2860, "Application for Combat-Related Special Compensation". The form will be available by May 28 at: http://web1.whs.osd.mil/icdhome/forms.htm and https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/crsc . Retirees may also call their retirement services representative for assistance in getting a form.

Service reviews will determine which disabilities, if any, are combat-related or are the result of an injury for which the member was awarded a Purple Heart. Combat-related disabilities will include those that are the direct result of armed conflict or from conditions that simulate combat, or that result from the performance of uniquely hazardous military duties, or caused by an instrumentality of war.

The services will presume that disabilities awarded VA compensation based on service-connected exposure to hazards, which are clearly combat-related, are combat-related for the purpose of CRSC. These include Agent Orange, Gulf War illnesses, radiation exposure, mustard gas and lewisite. Post-traumatic stress disorder will require combat-related documentation.

Retirees will be informed of denied applications and the reason for denial. They may reapply later if they are able to show they meet the program criteria or appeal the decision if they believe their disabilities were combat-related, but were denied compensation by their service.