Over 12,000 applications have been received by DoD for Combat-Related Special Compensation, a program that began June 1. At least 100 will be approved to receive payments July 1. The number of approved applications should increase significantly each month as the applications move through the review process.
DoD has three suggestions to improve the quality of an application, which will aid in managing the requests.
First, be careful to classify disabilities as awarded by the VA. A retiree who does not have this information should contact the VA regional office and request a listing of their disabilities by VASRD code (VA Schedule of Rating Disabilities). The VA has notified regional offices to expect and support such requests. The VA has been very helpful to DoD and the two Departments are working closely to achieve an effective flow and exchange of information needed to operate the CRSC program.
Second, especially for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a retiree should try to find and submit a copy of the first VA rating decision on the disability that shows the basis of the award. More recent ratings may show only that the disability has been increased in percentage with no information about the origin of the disability or basis of the award.
Third, retirees should avoid submission of unrelated documents. The retiree should try and provide only those supporting documents that deal with qualifying conditions. This is especially true for medical records. The review board may find it difficult to document a combat disability if the retiree sends in all his/her medical records.
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.
Members must apply to their own branch of service using DD form 2860, Application for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). Information is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/docs/CRSC_Guidance_104.pdf .