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Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty: What's New with the GI Bill?
 

Combat-Related Special Compensation Program (CRSC)

Frequently Asked Questions:

Questions on Disapproved Claims

  1. I met all the eligibility requirements, why was my CRSC claim disapproved?
  2. Are there any agencies out there that can help me with my CRSC claim?

Questions on Combat-Related

  1. What is considered a combat-related illness/injury?
  2. I hurt my shoulder while doing pushups, why was this disapproved?

Questions on Pay

  1. What is CRSC, and how does it benefit me?
  2. Can I draw CRDP and CRSC concurrently?
  3. What is a VA waiver?
  4. I was approved for CRSC but I have not received my payment, who should I contact?
  5. I was overpaid by CRSC and now DFAS says that I owe them money?

Questions on Percentages

  1. Why isn’t my CRSC effective date the same as my VA effective date?
  2. VA has increased my diabetes rating to 40%, do I need to reapply for a CRSC upgrade?
  3. How do you determine my combined percentage?

Questions on Obtaining Evidence of Combat-Related Disabilities

  1. What documents can be used as ‘official documentary evidence’?
  2. I cannot find any ‘official documentary evidence’ stating ‘how’ I received the illness/injury?
  3. I was hospitalized for my illness/injury, who do I contact to obtain my hospital documents?
  4. Who do I contact to obtain my combat documents?
  5. Who do I contact to obtain my personnel or medical records?
  6. Who do I contact about presumptive diseases?

Questions on Disapproved Claims

Question: 1. I met all the eligibility requirements, why was my CRSC claim disapproved?

Answer: Assuming that you met all the eligibility requirements, the number one reason most CRSC cases are disapproved is we were unable to find any evidence to verify that your service-related illness or injury is the result of a combat-related situation. Please understand that we can only use the documents that you send us to verify your claim; we do not have access to your 201 file, medical records or VA records. We are bound by DOD program guidelines that require the use of official documents only. The guidelines do not allow us to use buddy statements or personal statements as evidence. We need specific documents that tell us this illness/injury occurred in a "combat-related situation". Before mailing in your request for reconsideration (CRSC form 12e) please ask yourself “Did I supply documentation that verifies ‘HOW’ I got my injury?”

Question: 2. Are there any agencies out there that can help me with my CRSC claim?

Answer: Some agencies are a little more helpful than others and it may take several attempts to find someone willing to help you:
County VA Offices www.nasdva.com, The Veterans of Foreign War Organization www.vfw.org, The American Legion www.legion.org, The Disabled Veterans Administration www.dav.org and many other major Veteran organizations listed at www.vetfriends.com, MAY assist you in preparing your claim. In addition to Veteran agencies you may want to try to get records from the Agent Orange Registry (Vietnam Vets) (800-827-1000) www.vabenefits.vba.va.gov or the Gulf War Registry (Gulf War Vets) (800-749-8387) www1.va.gov/gulfwar. These organizations may have records that could help prove your claim.

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Questions on Combat-Related

Question: 1. What is considered a combat-related illness/injury?

Answer: Under the CRSC program, a combat-related illness/injury can be a illness or injury that results by the means of actual combat (AC) - directly or indirectly (i.e. Purple Heart (PH) injuries or secondary conditions as a result of the injury); Simulations of War (SW) (i.e. FTX, Special Forces training exercises, combat confidence course or lanes training, or other training which is used to prepare for combat); Hazardous Service (HS) (i.e. aerial flight, parachute duty, demolition duty, experimental stress duty, and diving duty), and illness or injuries incurred by Instrumentalities of War (IN) (i.e. tanks, Agent Orange, grenade simulators, military planes, and other items unique to the military).

Question: 2. I hurt my shoulder while doing pushups, why was this disapproved?

Answer: Based on DOD guidance, there are situations considered to be Non-Combat-Related (i.e. injuries sustained from group or individual sports, unit or individual physical training, routine road marches, routine confidence courses, sedans or vehicles not unique to the military, POV, etc.).

Questions on Pay

Question: 1. What is CRSC, and how does it benefit me?

Answer: CRSC is a tax-free monetary award, which is paid in addition to what remains of your retirement pay and the VA Waiver amount. This program was set up to compensate injured veterans who completed 20 yrs of federal service. The retiree must currently have a VA waiver of retired pay in effect, must be receiving military retirement pay (claimant must be either a Active Duty Retiree with 20 yrs of Active Duty Service or a Reserve Retiree with 20 yrs of Reserve Component Service and age 60), and the retiree must have a VA rated illness/injury at 10% or higher that can be contributed to a combat-related situation.

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Question: 2. Can I draw CRDP and CRSC concurrently?

Answer: Retirees cannot receive both CRSC and CRDP. It is up to you whether you want to draw CRSC or CRDP and you must elect through the annual “program election.” Many retirees are confused about which is better for them. Please check the following website at www.military.com and then do a search for CRSC and CRDP for more information on both programs.

Question: 3. What is a VA waiver?

Answer: A retiree may choose to waive part or all of their military retirement pay. VA waiver pay is the relinquishment of all or a portion of one benefit to qualify for another benefit. Veterans frequently waive only so much of their retired pay as is equal to the amount of VA disability compensation to which they are entitled. To be eligible to CRSC, you must have a VA Waiver in effect. If you do not currently have a VA waiver it may be to your advantage to contact DFAS to fill out the proper documentation to start this waiver. You cannot apply for CRSC unless the waiver is effective. If necessary, our call center can mail you a copy of the Waiver form (VA form 21-651).

Question: 4. I was approved for CRSC but I have not received my payment, who should I contact?

Answer: If it has been over 60 days since you received your decision then you need to contact DFAS at 1-800-472-7098.

Question: 5. I was overpaid by CRSC and now DFAS says that I owe them money?

Answer: Sometimes overpayments do occur. If this happens there is a way to get this debt waived. The Debt Waiver Claim Form (DD form 2789) must be filled out by the Retiree and then forwarded to us for an endorsement. We would then forward it to DFAS. DFAS has stated that in most cases, the waiver of debt would be approved. Please contact our call center at 1-866-281-3254 and they can forward you a copy of the Debt Waiver Form (DD form 2789).

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Questions on Percentages

Question: 1. Why isn’t my CRSC effective date the same as my VA effective date?

Answer: At CRSC we try to award the illness/injury at the earliest date possible. We must look at the effective date of your VA disabilities, the effective date of your VA waiver (with the approved percentage), your DFAS pay account information, and the effective dates of the program you qualify for (CRSC I or CRSC II). The VA often assigns retroactive effective dates for illnesses/injuries (i.e. VA Rating Decision is written on June 6, 2005 but the effective date assigned is July 1, 2003), in most cases, we cannot use the retroactive date because DFAS cannot adjust the Waiver back to the VA retroactive date. DFAS withholds money based on the “instructions” written in your VA Rating Decision. If the VA writes your Rating Decision on June 6, 2005 stating that your effective date for your CRSC approved disability is July 1, 2003, the earliest date that DFAS could start to withhold money from your retirement pay is the beginning of the first month after your VA Rating Decision was written, July 1, 2005. YOUR CRSC EFFECTIVE DATE IS USUALLY LATER THAN YOUR DISABILITY EFFECTIVE DATE.

Question 2. VA has increased my diabetes rating to 40%, do I need to reapply for a CRSC upgrade?

Answer: If VA has increased an illness/injury that has already been approved for CRSC then you do not need to do anything with CRSC to increase the amount of your award. DFAS will make those adjustments automatically (allow 60 days for DFAS to process the upgrade). But if VA changes the disability code that was previously reviewed (i.e. 7913-Diabetes 10% changes to 8520-Paralysis of a nerve 10%) or if VA adds additional disabilities that we have not previously reviewed, you must apply for reconsideration.

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Question: 3. How do you determine my combined percentage?

Answer: If you have multiple illness/injury ratings then the VA Combined Ratings Table is used to calculate your combined combat-related illness/injury rating. The Combined Ratings Table can be obtained from the VA or from the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) at the following website: http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_25.DOC

Questions on Obtaining Evidence of Combat-Related Disabilities

Question: 1. What documents can be used as ‘official documentary evidence’?

Answer: There are several documents we can accept to verify that the illness/injury is Combat-Related. First please read through all of your VA rating decisions to see if they state ‘how’ the illness/injury was incurred. (For example, “hurt shoulder due to a bad parachute jump or lost hearing due to acoustic trauma, etc.”) If the VA did not list ‘how’ the illness/injury occurred then please go through your medical records and personal documents to see if there is any document which explains “how” the illness/injury occurred. There are other pieces of evidence we can accept. Please check for Medical Evacuation Records, LOD investigations, Incident Reports, Official Telegrams from the military to your family stating the injury, award write-ups stating the injury, DD214’s, 2-1 or 2A stating combat injuries, Medical Board proceedings, physicals, profiles, etc.

Question: 2. I cannot find any ‘official documentary evidence’ stating ‘how’ I received the illness/injury?

Answer: By law the VA is able to accept documents that are not allowed under CRSC. If you provide the VA or your local Military Hospital (MTF) with your current medical documentation and supply proof of being in the area where the injury or illness occurred (i.e.2-1/2A orders, NCOERS, OERS or anything else to prove assignment), your personal written statement and possibly a buddy statement then they can contribute the injury to the combat-related incident. If the VA or your military doctor is willing to prepare a signed note on letterhead or on a consultation sheet stating ‘how’ you got the injury, we can accept that as evidence.

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Question: 3. I was hospitalized for my illness/injury, who do I contact to obtain my hospital documents?

Answer: Patient Administration Systems & Biostatistics Activity (PASBA), Ft. Sam Houston, TX, 1-210-221-1102. NOTE: Can verify any “hospital stay” of one day or longer, after 1971.

Question: 4. Who do I contact to obtain my combat documents?

Answer: US Armed Forces Center for Research of Unit Records (USAFCRUR), 7779 Ciena Rd., Springfield, VA 22150; 1-703-428-6801. NOTE: Can verify activity in combat from WWII forward via Morning Reports. Can still get Purple Heart awards via records from PASBA and USAFCRUR.

Question: 5. Who do I contact to obtain my personnel or medical records?

Answer: National Personnel Records Center (NPRC-MPR), 9700 Page Avenue; St. Louis, MO 63132-5100. www.archives.gov/st-louis/military-personnel/ or 1-866-272-6272 Option 4 or (314)801-0800 or the National Archive Records Agency (NARA) Located 18 States, http://www.archives.gov/research/ or 1-866-272-6272 Option 4.

Question: 6. Who do I contact about presumptive diseases?

Answer: If you served in a certain theater or you were a POW there are several diseases which are considered presumptive for your combat service and they meet the combat-related criteria. To find out more about presumptive diseases may call your local VA or visit www1.va.gov/environagents/; POW’s call (800-827-1000) www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Milsvc/Docs/Ex-pow.doc




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