LVMAC Tidbits — Review of Medical Separations

Published by LVMAC on

DoD Physical Disability Board of Review is Reviewing Medical Retirement Ratings

Share this with the younger veterans you encounter. It may be old news, but it is worth repeating.

Roughly 70,000 vet­er­ans rated at less than 30% disability and given a  med­ical sep­a­ra­tion between Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 and Decem­ber 31, 2009 now have the chance to get their sep­a­ra­tions reviewed and pos­si­bly upgraded to a “med­ical retire­ment” status.  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.  It will exam­ine each applicant’s med­ical sep­a­ra­tion records and make a rec­om­men­da­tion to the respec­tive  Ser­vice Sec­re­tary based on its find­ings.

Note a veteran must apply for this review.  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.  While upgrade is not guaranteed, there is no risk of vet­er­ans los­ing their exist­ing ben­e­fits either.  As of April 2011,  more than half of the applicants have been upgraded.

The severance check game will be played out again, but in a different manner than in the past.  Those who received one (done when a rating of less than 30% awarded) will have their orig­i­nal pay­ment taken from their retire­ment pay until the orig­i­nal bal­ance is fully recouped.  How­ever, since their retire­ment will be backdated, it means the difference to date between what has been paid in lump sum versus the sum of what would have been paid to date under the new rating is what is owed.  That is good news.

More than a retirement check is involved.  It means the veteran is now eligible for DoD’s TRICARE health care coverage (retroactively to the day of original disability separation) and coverage is extended to the dependents as well. Previous medical expenditures incurred by you may be retroactively reimbursed.  Furthermore, the veteran is now eligible to buy the Survivor’s Benefit Plan insurance (but must pay premiums to bring the coverage up to date).  Finally, the veteran and his/her eligible dependents will have access to the commissary, the post/base exchange, space available recreation and travel,  and other benefits available via State and private sector organizations catering to retirees/medical retirees.

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

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As of 15 August 2011