Combat-Related Special Compensation, also known as CRSC, is a tax-free entitlement that is paid out each month for non-disability and disability military retirees who have a combat-related disability. This payment is received in addition to any retired pay the veteran is already receiving. Qualified military retirees who have 20 or more years of service plus a combat-related VA rated disability are eligible to receive this compensation to help recover pay that is reduced when receiving VA disability compensation. Let’s take a look at some common questions about CRSC, who is eligible, and how it all works.
Who is eligible for CRSC?
CRSC isn’t something that automatically kicks in. The veteran must file a CRSC application through their branch of service. Injuries or disabilities that may be considered combat-related injuries may be a direct result of hazardous duty, armed conflict, simulated war, or instrumentality of war.
To qualify for receiving Combat-Related Special Compensation, military retirees must meet all of the following criteria:
- Currently receiving and/or eligible to receive military retired pay. This applies to Active Duty, Reservists, and National Guard. Applicants must be at least 60 years old or if they are a reservist, they are retired under Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA).
- Have at least a 10% rated disability by the VA with a combat-related injury.
- Retirement pay is reduced due to the VA disability compensation (VA waiver).
The Ins And Outs Of Combat-Related Special Compensation
Military retirees who receive VA pay and think that they have a disability, or a disability to add to their rating, can apply for VA Combat-Related Special Compensation through their branch of service. Applicants should apply if they believe they qualify and have never applied before. They should apply if they have added more disabilities to their rating that might possibly qualify. The VA has expanded coverage to include disabilities that include: Parkinson’s disease, hairy cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease, and other chronic B-cell leukemia.
Documents that might be useful when applying for CRSC are:
- Retirement form DD214
- 20-year letter statement of service for reservists
- Retirement Orders
- VA ratings
- Purple Heart award citations
Congress created two programs to help military retirees recover the costs that they are required to waive in military pay so that they are able to receive VA disability pay. The first program is called Concurrent and Retirement Disability Pay (CRDP). This isn’t to be confused with CRSC. Retirees can only utilize one of the programs, and your branch of service or the VA will help determine which one is most beneficial to the retiree. CRDP is an automatic payment while CRSC requires an application.
How much is Combat-Related Special Compensation And How Do I Get Approved?
Unlike income earned while serving in the military, the CRSC amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis by DFAS. Once you submit your application to your branch of service, they will notify you in writing if you were approved or denied. If you receive approval, a copy of your approval letter is then sent to DFAS who will initiate the payment in about 30-60 days, ideally.
CRSC is considered special compensation so the normal rules and regulations that apply to military retired pay aren’t exactly the same. They can still subject to garnishment, but aren’t subject to court-ordered division of pay in most cases. If the recipient of CRSC dies, the beneficiary is paid out any remaining compensation due at the time of death.
If you or someone you know is receiving CRSC, you will most likely receive three separate payments each month. CRSC will not be reflected on your retired pay stub as it is a special compensation that isn’t taxable. The three payments are typically your CRSC payment, your retired pay with a VA waiver amount, and your VA compensation amount.
If you think you are eligible for Combat-Related Special Compensation, don’t hesitate to reach out to your branch of service.