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Military Retirement: Major Legislative Issues

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The military retirement system includes benefits for retirement after an active or reserve military career, disability retirement, and survivor benefits for eligible survivors of deceased retirees. The change to the system that has generated the most recent legislative activity involves whether some or all military retirees should be allowed to receive both military retired pay and any VA disability compensation to which they are otherwise entitled this is referred to as concurrent receipt. Until 2004, the law provided that military retired pay had to be reduced by the amount of VA disability compensation. Some maintained this was inequitable and unfair it was defended on grounds of cost and of the need to avoid setting a precedent for concurrent receipt of numerous other federal benefits. Starting in 1999 FY2000, provisions in each years annual National Defense Authorization Act NDAA authorized payments to comparatively small groups of military retirees in lieu of concurrent receipt. The program enacted in 2002, in the FY2003 NDAA P.L. 107-314, is known as Combat Related Special Compensation CRSC, although it applies also to those people injured in military operations and training generally, as distinct from those whose injuries are unrelated to military service but incurred while in service. CRSC provides for payments that are the financial equivalent of concurrent receipt. The FY2004 NDAA P.L. 108-136, Nov 24, 2003, for the first time provided the concurrent receipt or its practical and financial equivalence to large numbers of military retirees. The law, effective January 1, 2004, 1 authorized the payment of CRSC to all otherwise eligible military retirees, regardless of their percentage of disability 2 authorized a 10-year phase-in of concurrent receipt for all military retirees whose disability is 50 or greater, regardless of the origins of their disability and 3 included reserve retirees.

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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