Some Vets Get Chance at Medical Retirement

Roughly 70,000 veterans who were given a medical separation between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009 have the chance to have their separations reviewed and possibly upgraded to a medical retirement. 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, which will examine each applicant’s medical separation records and make a recommendation to the respective Service Secretary based on their findings.

Although there is no guarantee that applicants will become retirement eligible, there is no risk of veterans losing their existing benefits. Veterans who are granted a medical retirement and had originally been given a severance check will have their original payment taken from their retirement pay until the original balance is fully recouped. However, since their retirement will be back dated, they are likely not to see much of an impact.

To be clear – Veterans will not have to have to pay back the severance out of their pockets and no applicants will lose their existing benefits – regardless of the board’s findings.

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.

According to my source at the Physical Disability Board of Review, about 50 percent of the applications they have received to date have been recommended for re-characterization.

Visit the PDBR website to learn more and begin the application process.

Please share this info with any veterans you know who may qualify for the PDBR.

Click here to check out the original DoD instruction.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • james

    This pdbr board is crap they are extremely slow . You don’t receive or have any communication with them so you are just waiting . I am between case # 375- 400 its been 18 months no idea when case will be reviewed so what if you are number 1000 review date would be 2017 , 2500 review date probably 2030 ,10,000 probably deceased Congress or someone needs to fix out why so long

    • Harris Parr

      Why was 2001 selected as a strategic date for medical retirement?
      I was wrongfully separated with 20 percent in 1988. Can I apply also?

      • Jack Burke

        Harry, I want to know this also.

        I was medically separated in ’86 because of policy change about world wide deployability (G.R. Budget cuts). Only the officers concured with the submittal to the Medical Board, the CSM and Warrant Officers did not concur. Funny thing is the Warrant Officers could not vote, only advise about my disabilities.

        No, I could no longer hump a ruck over hill and dale but after spending millions on me I could have still supported my country better in service or retired, then fight VA and not be able to hold long-term employment.

      • Finally Retired

        They are using Post 9-11-2001 for a lot of current programs. It’s kind of like that’s the day the world stood still.

        But I do know that regarding the PDBR, they conducted a study and found that a lot of veterans between that period of time were being wrongly discharged by the med-boards, given a low rating and passed off to the VA to take care of them.

      • Sky

        I feel the same way ! I was put out in 1999 why can’t we get the same medical retirment !

  • Eddkaniff3000

    how do i know if i was eligible for retirement? i was booted out with a condition that they saw was EPTS but the MEB said i was 70% before it got sent hire to the pentagon and said it was epts. the VA rated me at 20% though. I feel i was hosed and was unfairly kicked out when evidence clearly stated it wasnt epts

  • Kevin

    All I have to say is extremely poor choice of wording for the title of this article.

    • tdhowell

      Noted I changed it…

  • davyjones

    Bitch, bitch, bitch… Always looking for a free handout from the taxpayers many of whom are veterans, too… but these normal guys seem to be able to manage and pay their bills on their own without whining… Grow up. It’s a tough world out there….

    • Jacqui

      OH SHUT UP…obviously you have NEVER served in the service. People like you, whom FREEDOM is given to you off the backs of those very servicemen you JUST CALLED LAZY and using Taxpayers.

      Shame on you.

    • angry vet

      a free handout from the taxpayers!!!! well that would be nice being shot and in several IED explosions. Some of us REAL VETS have major injuries. I can’t work at 30 years old with 14 different claims. Im rated individually at 160% with a combined rating at 80%. The Army gave me 10% 3 years ago and im still fighting it. I have no health insurance for my kids and have to pay out of pocket. Why dont you go thru what some of us are and shut your damn mouth until you do.

    • Guest

      You’re talking like some kind of moron. Just like Jacqui said, If you haven’t been there and experienced what thes guys go thru who come home maimed and limbs missing you are making a total IDIOT of yourself. If you can’t support the soldiers who keep you free,DON”T PUT THEM DOWN. Maybe if they ever start the draft up again you will be one of the first ones to go.

    • yoli

      It’ very easy speak wthout experience.i am a female,puertorrican, physician & amso proud to serve the USA. That guy should join the service,so. He can talk.

    • candy

      All I can say is wow you have a lot of never!!!!!!!!
      My husband has a sevre sleepign disorder and will never be able to work again and to make it clear he cannot pay his own bills and he is only 29 years old and for me it is hard taking care of him and our three chidlren because they Army just throws their soldiers out on their butts after that can no longer serve due to injuries related to miltary combat!!!!!!!!!

    • First off let me tell you something son. When I served in Iraq I remember being shot at blow-up. I remember seeing the worst things one man even fathom happening. I was 19 straight out of high school having been sent to some hell hole half way around the world because I remembered the lessons my grandfather taught me. “FREEDOM ISN’T FREE!!!!!” You expect men and women to fight for your freedoms, but, like the two faced coward that you are, show such disrespect to the people who gave their all. I won’t say shame on you. Your little pea sized brain probably wouldn’t understand the concept of remorse. And yes I understand that I fought for your right to say what you want. However, beware how you use that right because reading your posting just makes you look sad, bitter, and pathetic. One last thing fruit loop, your hypocrisy is clearly evident because you get that tax check back every year. “Oh but that’s my taxes I paid.” Well running the government isn’t free so someone else had to give up some of their money in order for you to get your money back. Is that paying one’s fair share??? Think before you speak numb-nutz

    • Dawn

      I don’t know if you know, but soldiers pay taxes….just like everybody else. And am wondering what body part you would be willing to give your employer for free….i’m guessing none. You would probably sue.

  • Phonics

    I have to totally agree with kevin on this. Thought that there was a medical retirement and the vets were shot at.

  • edward11

    I also would like to know about the cut off date. I was medically boarded and kicked out with twenty percent,after , a reinjury,during desert storm in 1992. I had 161/2 years active service. It seems that every thing that happened tin 1992 after deseret storm has been forgotten about. are there any desert storm veterans still around.


      sure buddy …they just kick us out with 20% i am a r/hand criple with a purple heart..and these is how this government repay us…fought 4 this country 4 what if i cant even find a job or be hire by anyone /employer because of my limitations..what about that..13B30 ARTILLERY MAN,1ST CAV DIVISION…SSG GONZALEZ J.

      • J.GONZALEZ


        • Vet. Spouse

          Just for the record…military members medically separated after 9/11 and received severance pay STILL HAVE TO PAY IT BACK TOO. My husband was medically separated in 2005 after 14+ years service, he received a severance, and he is still paying it back. It can’t be considered severance pay if you have to pay it back either. Nothing like getting screwed twice by the military.

    • Rebecca Wentzler

      edward11, I served for the same amount of time you did, and was booted out with a ten percent severance pay in May 1992. Technically, we had served too many years to even receive severance pay, because the maximum is twelve years. We both should have been medically retired. It as though we served for nothing, because what the military paid us out the door with the VA ended up recouping all back. It does seem like we have been forgotten, and it should go a little bit further back than starting at 2001, they need to go back to 1992, when the military orginally started down sizing it’s forces.

  • Finally Retired

    This is a good program, but it has some problems that need to be ironed out. I am a National Service Officer for several Veterans Organizations and just happened to be one of the first people to be retired under the PDBR. I was med-boarded in 2006 with 9 years of service and the possibility of promotion to E-7. The med board gave me 0% and sent me out the door with severence pay. After discharge I immediately filed for VA, and was awarded 70% for the same disabilities. Three years later, in my job as a Service Officer, I learned of the PDBR and applied. I was immediately awarded retro retirement back to 2006. That was great. But, like I said earlier, there were some issues. I was told someone would contact me to process my paperwork. That never happened. So I contacted the Service Branch myself. I provided them with the info from the PDBR, and even coordinated my own DEERS enrollment. As a VSO, this wasn’t extremely, but for the young, newly-separated vet, this could be overwhelming. Then, came the DFAS issues. Remember, I was given severance. And of course, since I was awarded 70% VA Disability, that severance was being withheld every month and had been for three years.

    • Ms. Rosa

      Congratulations and Blessings
      It is good you kept your head on your shoulders and took care of your business with determination. Good for you.

      • Irene

        What is PDBR?

    • Finally Retired, contact me! I was incorrectly rated at 10%, the VA re-rated me at 60%, but they have acknowledged they messed up my rating and it will most likely be corrected to 100%. PDRB refused, because military separated me as regular ETS, though coded was JBK with statement on DD214 saying involuntarily separated.

  • Finally Retired

    Well, my first DFAS letter said that I was going to get military retired pay. Then I get a letter stating that I owed DFAS over $48,000 dollars for severance received, and that I had thirty days to pay or it would be sent to a collection agency. I also received a separate letter from DFAS saying that I owed over $3000 in retro Survivors Benefits Plan premiums (for the three years that I wasn’t originally retired, that had I died during that time my wife would have never got a dime of). With the help of a few contacts I have made through my position as a VSO, I finally got all of these issues taken care of. One more issue still remains to be rectified though. That is CRDP (Concurrent Receipt)for Chapter 61 (Medical) retirees. Contact your local lawmakers and urge them to support this. I hope this was helpful.

    Finally Retired
    Accred. Rep. Am. Legion
    Accred. Rep. VFW

    • james

      How long did it take your case to be reviewed from the pdbr board and what happen to the severance pay dfas said you owed did you have to pay it back or what ? Did they owe you a back pay ? I have been waiting for over 18 months I was discharged in 2006 I was awarded 10% now 100%

    • ArmyMom

      I have a question for you Finally retired. My son was put out of the army with 70% temporary retirement for numerous war related illnesses on 2/15/2011. This temporary retirement is a joke. They just want you to file for VA and then lose your benefits for your family. Anyway yesterday he received orders to report to active duty on 4/2/2011. So his temporary retirement lasted 1 1/2 months. He was declared unfit for duty with 70% rating (temporary of course). He surely is not all of a sudden better. Have you dealt with a situation like this? The worst part is he never wanted to get out of the Army in the first place and now he has mentally adjusted. What a joke!!!!!!!

  • Royce

    I was put out in 06 with 0% disability the VA made it 100% I also get SS does anyone no how that would affect SS also where can I see the differences in benefit between 100% VA or retirement or there any

    • ArmyMom

      One major difference is the ability to have insurance for your family

  • war veteran

    I once was a soldier of loyalty, duty, respect, honor,i got out of the army with severance pay with 20%. I got out because my back and right wrist wasn’t as good as it once was earlier in my army days. I hurt my back and wrist during operation iraqi freedom at the time of war while in iraq. It seems i was treated unfairly in my board review. When i was out of the army in november 09 the va gave me 70% for all my condition i recieved while in the army. hopefully i get the help and good retirement benefit i deserve

    • proudvet

      I am in the same boat the only thing is that I was put out in 2010 so I dont know if I am able but I am going to give it a shot any way lord willing it will happen to me as well the va also gave me 70%

  • Whiskey Bravo Charlie

    They are finally coming around for the Post 9/11 Vets, which is great, but by limiting the date range of eligibility they are blatantly disrespecting the Service of every other Vet who was injured while serving….. They totaled me. Does the date of injury really make that much of a difference in determining eligibility for these benefits? I guess the ‘modern soldier” is worth more than those of us who’s injuries are just as severe, but happened outside these date constraints…..

  • T Lane

    I say Bull Shit! We veterans have given up (sometimes everything) to our country and our government wants to pull some stupid bull crap like this. How appropriate. All these years of financial crap just to be on the receiving of some cop out.. The definition of insanity is doing the same crap over and over again and expecting a different result. And these idiots cant even balance their own check books. Stop electing these stupid jackasses and put someone in there that did their home work and actually passed the third grade

    • Deb

      try Ron Paul, he’s fed up with the jackasses too.

  • Dan (729TCS)

    I was injured in 1988 while serving in the United States Air Force and I applied for disability. I was denied. No MRI was done and no xrays. I have 3 herniated discs in my back, one in my neck, one in my thorasic, and one in my lower back. I have been trying to get medical care since 1988 and have had no luck. The pain from my neck gives my constant headaches and many days per month I have a hard time holding my head up. I was seen only 2 times by a nurse practitioner. Nothing has been done. I haven’t been able to see a regular VA Doctor in 23 years.

    • Sandy

      Sounds like my son Dan, who has been out=patient at WRAMC for over a yr now, and still waiting for his MEB..Neck pain and headaches so severe he at times spends 3-4 days at a time in bed! With pain so severe he can’t even get outta bed to brush his teeth or take a shower! And not one test or x-ray to find out why, even tho he has requested for them to be done many times!.Not to mention his right leg that was amputated 3 times, the last one being above the knee, along with extensive skin grafting to cover a gaping hole on his right outer thigh with 38 staples above his last amputation, when the 2nd RPG came though the truck he was in, and wounded him again, while out on his first mission in Afghanistan last July. And still a 3rd hitting and turning the truckover on its side..And the doctors out and out refuse to give him pain meds for those wounds too as well, for going on 6 mos now! Never mind being refused pain meds for his neck pain and severe headaches that are off the chart on a scale from 1-10 each and every day and night, and not one test ordered to find out if he also has TBI..

      • Sandy

        To Dan..(continued) .Hopefully when my son makes the move to the new Bethesda Hosptital this month, he will find more compassionate doctors who do care about our service members, and will treat my sons pain..unlike the Army who is more concerned about addiction then treating a soldier who has like so many of our soldiers, who have served their country, and are left in un-comprehensive and uncontrollable pain! Its no wonder there are record numbers of service members committing suicide!

      • HJL

        If I was your son, and in that much pain, I would go to a civilian hospital and get treatment and not worry abnout the hospital bill. If he cannot pay it, he can fill out an application for indigent care. God bless your son.

    • Frank Vereen

      Have you ever been deployed more than 180 days (overseas)?

  • Dan (729TCS)

    I keep trying and continue to receive no medical care. I desperately need surgery, I can’t sleep, I can’t stay in the same position for more than 15 minutes, the pain is terrible. People that have never served in our military don’t know what military members have to endure. I call the VA Assistance and all it tells me is that they can’t take any calls and it hangs up on me. I served my 4 years in the Air Force and this is the thanks I get. I had to deploy for 2 other members in my squadron because one was pregnant and the other couldn’t deploy because he had diabetes. I was filling in for the pregnant girl on the deployment when I injured my back the first time. The second time I injured my back was when I deployed in the for the guy with diabetes. The military has in no way taken care of it’s soldiers. I am only one example of how the veterans get craped on by our politicians. The politicians could care less about the veterans. They are only in politics to serve themselves. P.S. – I also have broken down heels and bad knees from having to create a heel beat while I was in basic training.

    • Submariner Dave

      Yo Dan. If you have never been given any tests to find out what your problem is. The VA don’t know that you are even injured. You are The one responsible no one else. if I were you. I would keep at them until they do something. Good luck guy I wish you the best.

  • Capt. Kent

    First, I’m glad to see that a lot of people will be taken care decently. (Mistake) But grammar doesn’t count here. I’m 67 now and have lived half a lifetime with the results of the shattered dream of a military career. Entered service in 1963 making $78.00 per month. Today recruits earn as much as my terminal pay as a captain. And it isn’t all about inflation. E-1s and E-2s are now driving new cars. What could we have done on $78.00 and after basic $83.00? I worked off base to pay for a fresh uniform daily, ($1.10). In late ’79 I was placed on the TDRL on half pay. By age 39 I was taken off retirement and discharged with $43,000 severance pay and 30%. It took 14 years of no VA pay to repay my severance. It really hurt when my wife and I received our letter to cut our retired ID cars in half and return them. In 2003 the VA bumped me up to 80% with permanent and total unemployability. This gives me full 100% benefits. The VA keeps tabs on me and I can’t even take a part time job. The money of a retirement would make me more than a millionaire, and in my retirement an extra check would come in mighty handy now that my wife is retired. But, you know what I miss most is losing my rank and a retirement document. I didn’t have much rank but I was proud of my accomplishment, i.e., getting a degree and commission. It took me eleven years to get my gold bar. Thanks, guys, for allowing me let it all out.

    • Andy

      Just wanted to say thanks for your service and everything that you have had to go through.

  • hounddog

    The USAF is only a big social club . I use to be a MWR Supply guy at Hurlburt Field Florida . I know more than the average so to speak .

  • gunnyjoe244

    I was put out i 93 with 10% due to Clinton’s reduction of forces. I had 17yrs 3 mos, and had my enlistment been completed would have retired normally. Why would I not be eligible? I did Desert Storm and others.

  • Robert R. Barnes

    I served 14 years in the Marines and was discharged in 1995 due to a shoulder injury and knee injury. The knee injury was caused by the Lt. taking us out for a platoon run after we had already been. Everyone was going home on base, MCAS Beaufort. I got tripped up and stumbled out into oncoming traffic. A car struck me across the knees and rolled me down the side into the ditch. Lt is now General Coglianese. I had reconstrucive shoulder surgery and have two screw in my shoulder cuff. MY knees sound like they have gravelunder them. Marines gave me 20% and a severance pay. The VA dropped me down to 10% up until 2008, when they raised it to 30% keeping 10% to recoup my severance. 2008 is the first time I have received a monthly check. On top of all of this they have lost 5 years of medical records which I have provided to them once yet they continue to send me letters telling me I have a gap in my records. Yetthey might retire guys and gals that got out after most of us have. What about the ones that have been out since 1995 or before the years listed above?

    R. Barnes
    USMC Service Connected Disabled Gulf War Era Veteran

    • Shawn

      My Husband was discharged for having multiple heat strokes as a boiler tech in the Navy. He went down in Bahrain in 96, and was non world deployable. They told him he had heat pyrexia and discharged him medically with severence of 6g. VA said no benefits as it is a non diagnasable so no disability after being put out. 13 years, 2 navy achievment metals, multiple sailopr of the year and sailor of the fleet two months prior to incident. He has been appealing repeatedly to no avail. He needs new evidence, which means going against original docs orders and never letting himself over heat again ofr it would kill him. 923 heat strokes as BT). Future gone, and no job training, and no disabilty for reason he was booted out. I am PISSED at the system. I hope it is easy for the younger VETS.

    • Jeff Swingle

      I have somewhat the same situation as you but I haven’t collected one red cent from the VA. I received severance pay back in 1986. I had constant knee problems since. I received a little over 20,000 back in 86,and when I called the VA a few years after that they told me that they “would have to re-coup” the money before any benefits or compensation would be paid. It has been over 27 years since my discharge and nothing has been done. I written my Congressman about this issue with the VA and probally never will hear anything. I now have lung cancer and have not many years to live,but the VA must help this old man out since I risk my life for my country and damn proud of it. Some of these panty waste MF at therr VA never put on a pair of combat boots and never been humiliated like the service does tro a man or women do try and “break ” you down. Not this soldier,that will never happen.

  • Robert R. Barnes

    Why is it the ones with 20% or less that might get to be medically retired? Would make more sense if it was the ones with a higher rating that the ones with a lower one. So if we go to the VA and say oh I’m okay and they lower the rating then we get retired. That’s like saying, go serve two years and youcan retire but if you stay 14 or 17 like myself and gunny joe then you get screwed more.

    • Dharvey

      because at 30% or higher you DO get reitred

      • Tony

        Its not based on your VA disability rating, It is based on medical separation from ur branch of service and the rating your branch gave you.
        Example: The army considered me to be 20% However the VA Rates me as 60%.

    • Mike

      I was medically discharged from the Marine Corps with a 10% disability rating and was not medically retired. I am not able to enlist in any other branch of service but I am not retired from it. They for some reason have found something wrong with the system and are trying to fix their mistakes. This board has stated that it does not effect your current rating with the VA. I am 80% from the VA so it would be nice to have the proper benefits that I have been missing out on for my family.

  • Robert R. Barnes

    SecNav Censures 4 Officers Over Enterprise Videos
    I bet these officers get to retire with a pension.

  • TerrieG

    Separated in Jun 2001 with 14 years USAF and one year as a TSgt. I was given severance, 1 mos medical, 6 mos ID card and a huge financial headache when the USAF claimed I was overpaid and then the IRS claimed taxes weren’t paid and tried to collect on $48,000. Took me 3 years to fix that and a year to get the VA 30% so I miss this deadline by 3 monthes and I’m 10% over this cut-off. Screwed twice for injuries that occurred my first year in service when I wasn’t x-rayed for fractured hips and a bum knee that were left untreated for nearly a year! I still have problems just sitting in my damn car on long road trips and of course I’ve had to drive 6 hours or more to see a specialist because I have to use a VA hospital where is the justice? the respect, the honor for our vets?

    • GUEST


  • SPC. Priddy

    When are we going to quit whining about all this and stand together as a family as when we served and make our voices heard. We may no longer wear the uniform, but we are all still soldiers.

  • roadrunner

    I volunteered to serve in Vietnam and survived. I was treated like crap upon my return to this country. It took 10 years to overcome a drug habit…but I have been unable to regain my life. I can’t sleep, have normal relationships, anger, depression, suicidual thoughts, sexual, physical, diabetes and other issues affecting my life. Yet, we continue to have individuals that never served in the armed forces or in a war make decisions for the veterans of this country. This country is made great by the armed forces and its veterans…who sacrificed it all for the rest of the people. Some of these veterans never came back…they paid the ultimate price. Some of the ones that did return, came back physically, but not mentally…we will always be in Vietnam fighting an endless war…without the support of our country.

    • Ralph Martinez

      You did not mention in you posting if you entered the VA screening program for PTSD at a local VA Hospital . If you have not applied, go to the VA administration and apply for PTSD screening .Take a copy of your DD Form 214 for proof of service. additionally, ask to see a Social Worker for PTSD issues. Good luck

  • Well-Duh

    LOL — not have to pay back severance out of pocket — 100% true. They garnish it out of your Veteran disability benefits BEFORE you can collect it. So its not out of pocket.

  • well-duh

    Be sure to verify any money you paid back due to “miscalculations” of separation pay. You may not be credited for repayment after your separation date because your packet has already entered channels on its way to the VA.

    The VA policy is that it will not make verification or update enquiries on the behalf of the veteran. The original packet from the DOD stands “as is” until the Veteran presents official DOD copies. The VA will then verify those official copies if it thinks they are valid and apply to your case.

    Unfortunately you usually cannot do early verification and settlement of discrepancies. It often takes the VA 2-3 years to fully input and get your VA finance records officially completed and available for query – unless you are a hardship case on medical retirement.

    Thus, unfortunately, in the normal course of events, partially disabled vets who are initially able to work in a specific career (white office work) may not be informed for years that they would be due disability checks if not for garnishment to repay severance pay.

    Worse the only place that keeps historical DOD finance records nowadays is the LOCAL base finance office (DFAS does not keep records more than 1 year). After six to seven year they will destroy their records. So you need to settle an discrepancies well before that date — but may be delayed by VA processes in starting.

  • Tommy

    I was ordered to take a year off,while serving in the Indiana Nation Guard, without even being given a physical after 16 years and four month. I was order to spend a year in the inactive guard, after taking the year off, I had 15 days left on my contract, wa threated by the sgt. major if i didn”t return I would be jailed. when I received my 201 files from St.Louis, to my surprise there was an order in there stating I was medicall y unfit to contiune my military career. I applied for benefits in June, sent in the necessary papers and somehow they were misplaced untill September. In sept. I applied again and have been getting the round a round every since.

  • AF Vet

    I was discharged in 1992 with a severance package. When I applied for VA disability my severance immediately became a retirement. Meaning I have to pay back the severance before I can get my disability. How did it become a retirement? Beats the heck out of me. But, the VA it was treated it the same as a retirement and offset my severance. The problem is they offset 100% when I am at 10%. The ruling was not in effect for severance pay at that time. So, are they making up rules as they please. I’ve sought help, but no luck. Any increase that I get will only go back to the VA.

  • JJC

    If I am medically retired and then get married will my wife get Tricare? How about her two small children if I don’t adopt them?

    • TJackson

      Yes she is entitled to Tricare along with her two children and please make sure you file for your VA Disability because you recieve extra pay for them

  • Pete

    Does anyone who has been medically retired collect unemployment in their respective state? Was just wondering i’m probably going out in about 6 months or less for having cancer. Its my fourth reocurrance and im hopefully about to beat it again but who know if I’ll be able to find a job when I get out. Who will want to hire some guy who’s been sick more time in the past 6 years than not. They say they are going to do a temp retirment with 100 precent but that may change in Like 5 years 7 years?? Somthing like that. Obviously I shoudl be paying attention a little more but I got beating cancer on my mind right now.

    • TJackson

      Do not worry about working and yes you can put in for unemployment while you wait for your VA disability to kick in; please file for it before you are discharged from the military and if you need any other assistance after you get out contact your local DAV. You are also entitled to Social Security Disability and when you recover you can volunteer at your local VA so that you can help others..

  • sandy

    As I scroll down and read every comment..I can’t help but be left with the feeling that my son hasn’t a clue what he is up against! But the one thing I have learned while reading these comments is that this country has and continues to do a great and horrifying injustice to all of our soldiers who have served and sacrificed so much, after repeated deployments while performing their duties and serving this so called Great Nation! Everyone here who has served including my son, have my profound gratitude and respect for serving, giving special reverence to those soldiers who gave and paid the ultimate sacrifice..God bless you all, our Fallen Heros and their families, and those who continue to serve!

    • David

      Sandy, There is a lot of help for your son, just be careful of people with good intentions but bad information. It seems that for many the fight begins when they get home.

  • kelly

    I have the chance to receive either a medical retirement or a regular retirement with just over 20 years and I am not sure which one would be better. I want to keep my retirement i.d. card and also want the highest percentage compensation that I can receive but I am not sure which retirement should I decide on. Please help.

    • Ralph Martinez

      Regular retirement has a lot more going for you than a medical retirement. TDRL requires you to undergo follow up physicals.

    • T Jackson

      Call the Department of the Navy to get a better understanding of what your entitlements are; also check with your senior administrative staff.

    • Ken

      Call and talk to your local DAV they will tell you the whole story and should even meet with you to go over it with you.

    • TheNCO

      Regular retirement gives a far greater chance of receiving concurrency from the va. Also, it’s unlikely a med board will rate you above 50% even with a missing limb! So take the regular retirement, file a va claim, and Crsc with the va.

    • David

      Which did you pick? Why?

  • Stephen

    I was Medically retired after being wounded in Afghanistan with a rating of 110%( pension maxes out at 70% though). I am currently going through the VA for my rating and am concerned about when I get that rating. If the VA rates me 100%(which is expected) and I accept that over the Army pension will I lose my eligibility for Tricare benefits for my family? I really dont want want the CHAMPUS benefits as I have three childern and Tricare is better. I appreciate any help anyone can provide.

    • TJackson

      No you will not loose any of your health or base benefits; if you did not already know your retirement pension will be absorbed into your VA disability payment until your retirement is permanent. You are also entiltled to Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) provides military retirees a monthly compensation that replaces their VA disability offset. Please make sure you put in for this immediately.

      • Kerri

        They took our retirement pay and told us to put i for CRSC to make up the difference. Went from receivig $2000 in retirement to $250 in CRSC. Made no sense o us since they paid both retirement and VA disability for 2 years and then all of a sudden it was gone. nice way to screw our family!!

  • Jessica

    I was separated from the army with 20% the VA rated me at 60% I just mailed my papers yesterday to file for medical retirement. can anyone let me know how long this process takes?

    • HJL

      It took them 2 months to process my application. Good luck.

    • Charels

      Well Im not sure if you can file for medical retirement you will have to go to a MEB board and 20% will not get you retired you need at least 30% by the army not the VA. VA rates everything army only rates unfit. So good luck with that.

    • Michael

      They sent my packet back to me with a letter saying they copied it and in the letter it also stated it will take up to 15 months to process for my Medical Retirement. When I was MEB’d the situation was screwed up the Military was having such an influx of injured Soldiers that they made a lot of mistakes Like for me they would only rate me on one thing because that was policy at the time, but they are now trying to fix it all. I read on the websites it has no effect on your VA Rating.

    • William

      It took just about 15 months to get mine back, have my ID card but still havent recieved my back pay or pay hase been 8 months now lol !!!!!

  • allen

    i was discharged from the miltary with 20% rating and severance pay, i am now at 70% with the VA. once i pay the severance pay back in full. will the military start paying my for the 20%

    • Charles

      NO they won’t VA will off set it can’t get both sorry

  • matt

    My question is: how it it affect me as I recieved severance and have been paid monthly from the VA. I was awarded 10% from the military combined rating of 110% from the VA.

    Will I lose the much needed pay and have to repay?

    It has been 3 yeras sinec I was discharged.

    • mark

      it is a possibility that you loose the severance and you may have to pay some back.

  • PFC Chris Yost

    I was medically seaprated from the Army almost a year after i returned from combat in Iraq. In 2008 I was FINALLY given a Med Board I was out out for degenerative disc disease and all three sections of my spine if jacked up. I was a PROUD 11B (Infantryman). I was only given 10% but I could not reclass since I had P3 profile and could not wear body armor, ACH helmet, or carry my beloved M249 and M240B. I received severance pay. I was then given 30% total from the VA i waited a year and put an increased in since i was DENIED my PTSD, significant lose of hearing in one ear, migrains, and my spinal injury. I did the appeal and tests to get VA increase. I am now at 80% disabled. Would this have any affect for the WORSE on my VA Disability? How much could I be looking at getting if retired per month and would I be eligible for TriCare as well as my wife and daughter?

    • David

      Chris you need an army rating of 30%. If the VA was 80 at first you had a good chance. Since the VA started at 30 than awarded 80 later it will be harder to prove you have the 30 when you left the army, your medical records might make the case. Only the ABCMR can make this call, file a DD-149 and ask that they correct your record to a medical retirement,

  • frank

    I have been in the NG for 22 years .With less that 15 years of active duty.I’m now headed to the med board for all kinds of problems.Even though I’m in the NG ,but Active NG.When I go to the boards .Is there any chance that i will get a %’s for medical or just will be kicked out?

  • Christina soto

    I was just wondering what percent the army will give me for both knees….I’m trying to get more than 30 percent…

  • robert

    I was in the national guard for 20 years and injuried my right hand . The injury occured in 1987 and I retired out of the guard in 1999 with over twenty yearsof service. In the last 10 months my hand has been giving me problems. I’ve seen my doctor but nothing seems to help. Can I get compensation for my hand,

  • SSgt DeeJay

    I don’t believe any of our congressmen are looking at this forum. All these statements would be better served as letters to congress. And oh BTW, my qualifications: 14-1/2 years active duty Marine, OIF & OEF, medical sep in 2011 @ 10% for multilevel disc herniations, VA currently recouping separations pay.
    I’m writing congressmen/senators who ever will give an ear.

    • Jay

      Just an FYI. ditto with the condition and service dates plus nerve damage. Anyway, the point I wish to make is after all that I was seperated with 10% as well but went the other way and wrote “EVERY” senator and congressman in the U.S with personally signed and stamped letters to try and keep on serving after they seperated me. No big suprprise but I only received back 24 letters/calls from assistants and aides and then was told they would or “could” only help if I was from their state as if somehow borders restricted them from helping any Americans other then thier own. I wish us all the best but it seems to fall on def ears unless it will make them some headline captions for tomorrow’s paper.


    You guys are (respectfully) missing the point. check out the website PTSDLAWSUIT….just google that. There is allot of explanations there.

  • Zeebo0311

    Ok, I have a question. I was on TDRL for a year and a half. I was medsepd for combate related injuries. My disability rating went from 40% to 10%, and the military is saying they’re giving me a severance check. I’m already collecting disability from the VA. If I accept the severance check, will that affect my VA benefits?

    • zeebo0311


    • Dexter Thames

      yes it will good luck

  • Ramon Carder

    Though I thank Terry Howell for writting this piece. I must correct something. It’s not just for VETs up to 31 DEC 2009. I just got done sending my medical stuff to the board and I was discharged 11 DEC 2010.____If you are also a VET who’s getting under 30% and haven’t sent your stuff in to get reviewed yet. Do so now.

    __Here’s the direct contact person for where you need to go to start the process of the board reviewing your ratings (she’s the one you’ll send you stuff to) .

    __Ms Rosa Pace . Direct phone number: (703) 602-4201.__

    1901 SOUTH BELL, 2nd FLOOR
    ARLININGTON, VA 22202-4508

    __You’ll want to send copies of all of your med docs from the Army and VA. Your Army ratings and your VA letter. Inlcude a wrtten statement as well.

    my e-mail is: if anyone wants to know more.

  • Ramon Carder

    It’s also important to note that there are two boards that do the reviews. There’s the ABCMR and the PDBR. I chose the ABCMR due to the fact that they’ll look at and include everything were as the PDBR is much narrow. The thing is, if you chose the wrong board. It’s final. You can’t go to the other to have a view again. After 5 years and 7 month in the active Army. I got 10% from the Army and 20 from the VA. I have one injury from Iraq that the Army, along with three others they tried to tell me that they heald on their own. So, the Army only rated me for my left knee injury that I got prior to Iraq. My foot injury from Iraq. Turns out that I may need an operation on. Thanks ARMY!

  • Cody

    What if I have even had a LtCol Sleep Dr say I was misdiagnosed and wrongfully put on TDRL! The meds caused a few seizures and te AF Dr diagnosed me with epilepsy, which is crap! How can I fight the Med board if I have already gotten my severance, so I can go back in?

  • Johnny Cannon

    18 years 8 months 3 days of active duty and 2 and half reserves. No retirement they serverance payed me, after 2 and half years on TDRL. I was discharged 3 months after my chemo ended of 10 months I was was never given time to heal or a AFPT. The board of review said i was in unremarkable shape but not fit for duty. Please help i just want to retire, let me back on active duty to complete my 1 year and 3 months for 20 years active duty.

    • David

      Johnny, clear case for the ABCMR,,, complete a DD-149 and demand that you be allowed to return to active duty under COAD, as you were not offered this during your MED, if not AD then the board should credit the service and allow you 20-year length of service retirement…….COAD should be approved for Soldiers with more than 15 years of service.

  • chrstina Soto

    Okay so my question is my husband is medically retiring out the ARMY but we just want to know where it the ARMY will pay him to go to when he gets out….like when you transition out do they send you to home of record or ……? Or is it where your first duty station was ?

    • SGT Roland

      They will pay for all your stuff to be shipped where ever it is you want to retire to.

  • carrie

    when medically discharged over 30% does the military pay and BAH stop the day the discharge officially begins?

  • Mitchell

    I did 15 years 8 months in the Navy and I was medically discharged with a medical sep in 2011 at 20% for back spasms and surgery on reconstruction on one foot and the other foot was suppose to have the same surgery, but the first foot never healed correctly, so the other foot never gotten done and plus I have gotten sleep apnea I guys over the years sleeping in those tight racks sleeping with a bended neck most of the times. should I ba able to file for an apeal for early retirement even after these dates September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009

    • Submariner Dave

      Yeah dude. Fight it. I had to. I too was in the Navy on Submarines. I had to fight for 3 years to get a med retirement It worked and I now got 60% from the Navy and now 100% with VA. I only got to serve 12 yrs. and because of this Med Retirement, I don’t get retired PAY. They say, “because I didn’t do 20 yrs”. Is this stupid or what. anyway I still get a blue ID and Med benni’s. So Fight dam it and get what you deserve!! Good Luck Bro.

      • Pete usaf

        My husband didn’t have 20 “good” years either but is 100% va disabled and can’t get concurrent pay. Should he try to do it again considering the above March 2011 article.? Or are you saying unless you have the 20 years, ther’s no chance?

  • Breedlove

    Special Operations has its own board and system.
    Would you go through the same board and system as an regular mos???

  • Kerri

    My husband was medically retired in 2009 after serving for 10 years in the army. We collected retirement pay along with VA disability for two years until they stopped his retirement pay because they said he made too much in VA disability. He is 100% disabled. Is this right? Can we not collect both? what was the point of him going through a med board if it’s not benefiting us?

    • cory

      You get tricare with retirement, you get base privileges.

    • Lori

      Kerri – exact same thing here! I think this whole thing stinks!

  • Frank Breedlove

    Special Ops is worse

  • MST1 T

    I was prematurely discharged from the USCG after 10 years. I was a voluntary RELAD when some issues came up in my discharge exam. I was sent to specialists but the word never got passed to admin and my enlistment ended before I was diagnosed. In turn my tricare got cut off and I got 15k worth of med bills at my door. The guard accepts responsibility but hasn’t figured out how to pay the bills administratively. That aside the VA rated me at 60% and backed paid me. It turns out my last MRI confirmed I have 8+ tumors on my liver, which the VA hasn’t rated yet. My medical officer says that its not worth my time waiting on the med board. However I feel like its my right to be retired although I can’t collect both but there are non-monetary benefits to retirement that I don’t want to give up. Am I wrong to wait on the med board or is it really a “waste” of my time? Also, should I care if they treat me like active duty (since it started during my AD time) or reserve (since I immediately enlisted in the SELRES, before any of this came to light)?

    • ALAN


  • sandra kidd

    I was medical boarded out of the army in 2003,and filed with the va for disability,and received 40%,after a number of years had my rating increased to 80%,so after being out for 10 years i received the letter from telling me i might be eligible for medical retirement,so i filled out the paper and sent it back,after awhile i for got about it,and received a letter saying i was permently retired from the army with 40%, I really do not underastand this, told i am not entitled to the backpay they owe me because i receive va disability pay and before i even received i went to the disability pay the medical board took back the severence pay they gave me,so can someone please help me the retirement service said i could get both is this true.

    • Dave

      Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP)

      • sandra kidd

        thank you,but what is crdp and how do I get it? I was medical boarded out of the military in 2003,and received 40% after a number of years had my rating increased to 80% after being out for 10 years they gave me medical retirement, but said I am not entitled to back pay due to receiving VA, the rso said I should be able to get both since I did not get any retirement back pay. they took back all the severance pay they gave me, so I was getting very little VA pay. I would like to know am I entitled to any back pay. I was told to get a lawyer and fight for by back pay. Should I?

  • daddy’s girl

    If you know someone is using all of a world 2 vets money. What can be do0ne and who do you talk to? I just don’t know where to start. Can some help? This man is 92 and has only been able to get his disable for a short time. Now some one else is spending it. It is not right in my book. Please help me get him help………………………………………………………

    • Ann

      You can call a service organization like the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, or the American Legion and speak to a service officer about this gentleman. They will help begin a process of looking into the situation.

  • Paul

    My nephew was medically retired from the ARMY after serving 16 years, receiving 50% pay, approximately $1700. VA rated him at 80%, approximately $1580. He is receiving both pays. After receiving a years worth of VA pay the Government is stepping in and saying that he has to return all of the VA pay back, bottom line is they are telling him as a medically discharged individual he can not receive both pays. Is this correct, can they take this away and make him payback for what he’s received? He’s also rated at 40% for combat disability pay for Afghanistan and Iraq tours. What would be the correct pay he should receive, include 40% combat disability?

    • Sgt. Hayes

      Since he was injured during the Iraq and Afghanistan campaign, he must file for CRSC (Combat Related Service Compensation), this is not automatic.CRSC allows the individual to keep both his rated retirement and V.A compensation, but the rating is determined by DFAS. Please refer to the V.A website for more information on CRSC.

  • prbloodeyes

    Today I was placed in Limited Duty and was told that a package was summited to the med board. I currently have anxiety disorder, mood psychosis, depression, sleep problems, asthma and partial hearing loss. I am not allow to handle weapons or government vehicle and being a Marine Infantry that’s pretty much all I can do. I have been in the service for 14 yrs, and the doctor told me that I might get medically retired. Founding out that I might be medically retired is depressing enough but now I found the benefits very confusing. Questions: 1- What type of benefits will I still receive for me and my family? 2- Being Medically retired, do I get paid by the Marine Corps or VA or both? 3- How long does the Med Board usually takes? 4- Any guess of what rate I might receive? All my illnesses were post deployments and while in active duty.5- My daughter is enrolled in the EFMP program for medical conditions, will she still be cover by Tricare? 6- Are there any school benefits that I can used to continue my degree?

    • Gary Quintana

      answer #1-you will receive the same benefits as a retiree-you can look that up yourself as well as your family. #2 you get paid higher of the two-if your retirement is more than VA comp then you get that- basically the higher of the two ( apply for CRSC) that is the difference from military ret. and VA comp-you have to qualify for that and apply. #3 usually 6-8 mo. it depends mine took 8 months from Ft. drum, NY. #4 it all depends on your MEB-it can be severance pay or medical retirement that is the medical evaluation board or you can get reclassed for another MOS. The MEB will decide if it is service connected-or combat related. #5 If you are entitled to Tricare so will your family-you gotta wait till your MEB is finalized. #6 yes, I used tuition assistant program while my MEB was in progress- I did not pay a dime or use any other benefit TA that’s it. You can use GI bill if you paid 1200.00 after separation and post 9-11 if you qualify or you can transfer to another immediate family member-that is easy research. CH. 30 and CH.33 for school benefits. Hope that helps out- you should be going through ACAP and DTAP TAP as you are getting to leave the CORE. G.Quintana SGT (USA RET.)

  • Pam Hellard

    I am a little confused here and desperately need an explanation. I was discharged with 18 and half years with several medical conditions in 2002. I was 30% TDRL and medically discharged at 30% permanent. I now get 70% combined rating with the VA. Last year I received a letter about a Special Review Panel and how some Veterans may have had a determination of medical conditions pertaining to PTSD incorrectly. I submitted the paperwork and today I received a letter from this board about their findings and recommendations.

    Now here is where I am confused, they told me the boards recommendations are no change in the applicants unfitting condition diagnosis, and that my prior determination be modified as follows to reflect placement on the TDRL at a combined rating of 60% and then no change in my prior permanent disability rating.

    So what does all this mean?

    Thank you and thank you all for your service.

  • Christine Young

    I was medically retired with over 20 years service in 2004. My Medical Board rated me at 90%. I went to the VA and was rated at 100%. I was receiving both my retired pay and VA benefit that was offset. I was told that after 10 years my pay would no longer be offset and I would receive my full retirement pay and my full VA benefit pay. I’m at the 10 year mark and now I’m being told that because I have a medical retirement I am not entitled to receive both forms of pay in full. This is a bunch of crap. Does anyone know where I go to get the “real” story about this? I’ve contacted the VA, the Disabled American Vets, etc. and I’m getting no where. I retired from the Coast Guard so I do not fall under DFAS. Thank you.

    • Sgt. Hayes

      Unfortunately they are correct, unless your injury was combat-related, then you could coordinate with your branch for CRSC.

  • chris

    I was medical separated in 2011. VA rated me at 80% from the due to service related LOD’s “my injurys” Am I able to have my records re-looked?

    Curently I am under goin monthly procedures and dificlut to obtain a job with my disabilitys.

  • Joe

    I was given a 10% rating after I was discharged out of the Army. Yes you read right! I did a follow up with my primary care after I got out of the army and he insisted I would go through the med board process. This was in 2007. I was not getting paid and I asked a lot of questions asking shouldn’t I be in the military in order to go through this process. I received nothing but attitude. A month ago I was contacted by the DOD wanting to go back and possibly retire me out. The VA denied me over and over again because they said it wasn’t service connected for my claim which I highlighted and arrowed it showing in my paperwork it was service connected. I have my congressman and some others looking into this and wonder if they will just retire me out. I was given 10% for both my knees, ankle, t12 in my spine crushed, separated shoulder.

  • cory

    I was in for 9 years and was injured in Afghanistan, I came back and since I only had 4 months left on my contract they just waited it out and let me ETS I heard if I would have gotten Med boarded I would get Tricare. is this true and can I still get med boarded even though I have been out for a year and a half? I am currently 90% VA service connected

    • Sgt. Hayes

      Unfortunately your unit screwed you. They should have retained you in the WTU and then sent you to the Med-Board, then you would have received Tricare for life. I would check with an American Legion VSO, they will know to approach your case to get re-evaluated for a Medical Discharge.
      Sgt. Hayes

  • Jeanna

    When appealing the rating, what can you do to support a change from Discharge to Retirement?

  • Laoshark

    I was active duty AF for over 11 years and got out the military in Sep 2012 under the Air Forces date of seperation rollback. I felt that I did NOT get a full medical review and was rushed out. Now I’m 80% with the VA. Can I fight to have a medical retirement even though I’ve already been out for 3 years?

    • michael

      same boat here, but I was put out in 2005 AFTER being stop lossed by the Army. Destroyed both shoulders, back, legs….and did not even get a med board of any kind, just a DD214 and a hearing test. I wonder if WE still have that ability? It’s wrong the way some were done

  • Jeffery

    The link is broken is there any way to still do this?

  • Greg Mirenda

    I was an E-7 with 11 years in the Navy. I was placed on limited duty and med held 18 months past my Active Duty Service date for a brain tumor and a myriad of other issues. My doctor said I was going to be medically retired, but my command found away to separate without me getting a medical board. I was processed out February 25, 2009. The VA has rated at 100%. does anyone know if this program can help me?