by Laura Paul
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 29, 2003) -- Certain
disabled military retirees may be eligible for Combat-Related
Special Compensation effective May 31.
CRSC was enacted by Congress as part of the Fiscal Year
2003 Defense Authorization Act.
To be eligible, a military retiree must have at least 20
years of active duty or a combination of active duty and
Reserve points equaling 20 years of full-time active duty
(7200 points). The retiree must also have either a disability
rating of 10 percent or higher associated with award of
a Purple Heart; or a disability rating of 60 percent or
higher for other illnesses or injuries attributed to combat,
combat-oriented training, or hazardous duty.
CRSC is not granted automatically. Retirees who believe
they are eligible must apply for the benefit, officials
CRSC payments will equal the amount of Veterans Administration
compensation received for Purple Heart-related disabilities
or combat-related disabilities minus any additional compensation
received for dependents. CRSC is separate from a special
compensation program enacted several years ago known as
"Severely Disabled Special Compensation," or SDSC.
Eligible retirees cannot receive both benefits; they must
choose either CRSC or SDSC, officials said.
When an Army retiree applies for the benefit, an Army team
will review the application and documentation submitted
to determine which disabilities, if any, are combat-related,
personnel officials said.
Retirees will be informed of the outcome of the Army's
review, officials said. If denied, the retiree may reapply
later if additional, clarifying or new documentation becomes
available; or the decision can be appealed.
Payments for qualified retirees will accrue beginning June
1 with first payments possible on July 1. Those eligible
must apply using DD Form 2860. The application form and
instructions for where to send it are available at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/crsc/,
http://www.dior.whs.mil/forms/DD2860.PDF or http://web1.whs.osd.mil/icdhome/DD2500-.htm.
Retired soldiers can also submit through Army installation
Retirement Services officers.
Army retirees with questions about the form or benefit
can call 1-866-281-3254 after June 2 to leave a message
for the office that is reviewing the applications.
(Editor's note: Laura Paul is with the Army Retirement