Why A 50% VA Rating Matters To Military Retirees

Many veterans are eligible for several different benefits as a result of military service.  If you served in the military for 20 years or more, you may qualify for military retirement pay.  You can also qualify for military retirement pay if you were medically retired from military service.

Many veterans who qualify for military retirement also have service connected disabilities.  As a result of these service connected disabilities, these veterans may qualify for VA disability benefits.

One question that many veterans have is how the different benefits interact.  Can a veteran who qualifies for military retirement benefits also draw VA disability benefits at the same time?

Man helping a kid get the hook out of a fish they caught Can I receive both VA disability benefits and military retirement?

In the past, veterans could not receive both VA disability benefits and military retirement.  But, that rule changed in 2004 when Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) began.

You can now receive both VA disability benefits and military retirement if you hit certain levels of VA disability ratings.  This is why a 50% level of VA disability is important to veterans who receive military retirement pay.

If you are rated by VA overall under 50%, then you cannot receive your military retirement pay and your VA disability pay. But, once you hit that 50% rating level, then the offset goes away and you can receive both your military retired pay and your VA disability pay.

This change in the rule was a huge benefit to veterans.  It recognized that veterans should receive compensation for their years of service and also for the disabilities they incurred while they were serving our country.

How does Concurrent Retirement Disability Pay affect me if I am under the 50% level?

I see a lot of veterans who have one or more service connected disabilities.  They often have a total VA rating of either 30 or 40 percent.

Your VA rating determines your monthly VA disability benefit.  The higher the rating from VA, the higher your monthly benefit.  For a 40 percent total rating, a veteran generally receives between $600 and $900 per month depending on how many dependents the veteran has.

But, a veteran who is at the 40% level and receiving military retirement benefits will not really receive any VA disability benefits.  This is because the VA disability benefits are offset by the military retirement pay.  This means that the veteran is essentially losing $600 to $900 per month.

Normally, a veteran who has an increase from 40% to 50% would see an increase of about $250 to $300 per month in VA disability benefits.  But, a veteran drawing military retirement benefits sees an increase between $840 and $1100 per month.

This large increase occurs because the veteran drawing military retirement receives no VA disability benefits at the 40 percent total rating level because of the military retirement offset.  But, CRDP makes the offset go away at the 50 percent level.

CRDP should apply to your benefits automatically if you receive a rating of 50 percent or higher.  But, VA will not automatically increase your rating.  You have to take action to get your rating increased.

How can I get my VA disability rating increased?

Man in front of a computer holding a piece of paper smiling It is always important to get the correct rating from VA.  However, getting the correct rating becomes even more important when you receive military retirement benefits.  If VA is off by 10% on their rating and gives you a 40% instead of a 50%, it could cost you around $1000 per month.

VA may have rated you at the incorrect level when you initially applied for benefits.  Even if VA rated you correctly, your service connected disability may have worsened.  If so, you could be eligible for an increase.

If you have a pending application for benefits, you may be able to seek an increased rating in your current application.  If you do not have a pending application, you can file for an increased rating.

Also, many veterans have a secondary disability that develops as a result of one of their service connected disabilities.  Getting service connection for that secondary disability will often result in a total rating at the 50% rating or higher.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Rita BarnesRita Barnes
00:03 20 Jan 22
This is a great group of people who really care about your well being. They all treated me as though I was family and helped me with my work comp case in more ways than the average would have.Thank you Jason and Thank you Tina! For doing an awesome job.
Cortex ButlerCortex Butler
18:09 29 Dec 21
I am a Veteran of United States Air Force and was awarded my first 30% in 1996 and have been fighting for my rating for 26 years I came to Perkins and Studdard in 2019 while my mom was in a terrible incident and was given to much anesthesia and through GODS Grace she was spared her life, She is disabled since 2018 and I have been struggling with my life and issues and yet I didn’t call the law firm every 10 minutes or call being rude anytime, I mentioned this as I got to know Jessica more than just a phone call and Mr Studdard was always available when not working on other cases or in court, They always called back and Never had to do a call back, My Review is Simple in Life there peaks and valleys and it doesn’t stop because you have issues, Perkins & Studdard took my case in 2019 in 2021 I received my 100% from VA, I Was Never Rude, I was Never Promised Success, I Was Never Lied too and I was Always Treated with Respect, Friendliness, and Kindness the Real Stuff not a (Money Thing) If You want a firm that Cares about the Client and will work on your case even through a pandemic, Will not lie, will not promise anything will communicate your case and will Give you their Best ALWAYS THIS IS THE Best Law Firm for VETS HANDS DOWN Perkins and Studdard THERE IS NO OTHER 100% we had 5 calls Total Case That’s Taking Care Of Business
annetteMomma nokesannetteMomma nokes
14:29 12 Sep 16
Jason and his paralegal Lisa were on point and on top of their game when it came to handling my worker's comp. injury case. I tried going it alone and the insurance carrier pushed me around. They denied extra physical therapy. They denied injections the doctor recommended to ease my pain. When I turned my case over to Jason things turned around, QUICK. They were at all times attentive and on top of my case. I cannot recommend Jason and his staff enough. If you are hurt at work, this is the firm you want on YOUR side.
Sheila KirklinSheila Kirklin
23:11 12 May 16
Jason Perkins, was my lawyer in a workers comp. case, my case has settled now, and I am very happy for all Jason and his office hard work on my case, he was always there to help me out with any questions that I had or help I needed. Jason is a excellent lawyer and if I ever need another one I would only go to Perkins,Because I believe they would be able to help me in any situation I am in need of..
Anna PabonAnna Pabon
23:16 13 Sep 15
I recommend Perkins Law Firm. Everyone I came in contact with there was very nice. Kim was very helpful and any time I had a question she made sure I got an answer. Ann Margaret really took the time to explain things to me.

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