03 November 2015

VA Gives, Then DOD Takes Back

My recent VA awards of increased disability ratings now total 415% service-connected disabilities.

My VA compensation for this has jumped nearly $800 a month now that VA recognizes my cancers, heart disease, injuries and other problems that resulted from from long military service.

I also am a retired Air Force officer with 24 years enlisted and commissioned service in both the Army and Air Force, for which I've earned a modest monthly retirement check.

Every penny of that $800 VA increase...indeed, every penny of my entire VA disability compensation, is taken out of my Air Force retirement. I see none of it, due to laws in place since the Civil War which prohibit veterans receiving both military and VA compensation.

Because this prohibition bothered both Veterans and Congress, special legislation was passed to enable dual receipt in certain cases. Because most of my disabilities are combat-related, the military has a program called "Combat Related Special Compensation" which allows receipt of both earned VA and earned military retirements.

Except for Reservists, like me. Doesn't seem right to have earned two separate retirements but have one subtracted from another, leaving nothing. In my case, the VA retirement, being smaller than my military retirement, is taken from the military pension and leaves me with nothing. Not a penny do I receive for being totally disabled four times over (total 415% service connected) with VA disabilities and being classified "catastrophically disabled.".

Doesn't seem right. Nor for me, nor for the thousands of injured and wounded veterans like me whose service was both Active and Reserve.

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