Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is provided to military retirees who have combat-related disabilities. It is a tax-free benefit that is paid monthly in addition to a veteran’s retirement pay. Determining how much a veteran receives in CRSC requires a CRSC calculator.
Not all military retirees are eligible for CRSC. To be eligible, a veteran must be entitled to military retired pay, be approved to receive CRSC from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and have a combat-related disability. The disability must be the direct result of armed conflict, a vehicle of war, simulated war, hazardous duty or a disease triggered by herbicidal warfare.
Each branch of the military approves or denies applications from veterans who served in that branch. If approved, a CRSC pay calculator is used to determine how much to pay out each month.
A military retiree is not automatically granted CRSC. A veteran must apply to his military branch of service – Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps or Coast Guard for the benefit. The application needs to include evidence of how the disability happened as a result of a combat-related situation.
The disability must also have a rating of 10 percent or higher to be eligible for CRSC. If multiple disabilities are claimed, the average must be 10 percent or higher. Disability ratings range from 0 percent for those disabilities that do not negatively affect the veteran to 100 percent for those that render the veteran unable to work or properly care for himself.
If the application is approved, the first payment is issued within 30 days. Payments are retroactive to the date the disability was incurred.
Combat-Related Special Compensation is awarded based on each veteran’s specific circumstances, and is based on several factors:
- Evaluation of all combat-related disabilities affecting the veteran.
- The amount of VA disability compensation granted based on that evaluation.
- Retirement pay based on length of service in the military.
CRSC is paid separately from retirement pay and cannot be received at the same time as Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP). CRDP replaces all or some of the retired pay a veteran waived to receive VA disability compensation, allowing a veteran to receive full retirement and VA disability pay. CRDP covers all disabilities related to any military service while CRSC covers disabilities specifically related to combat.
The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) determines if a veteran will receive CRSC or CRDP. DFAS calculates and compares the two benefits and pays the greater amount to the veteran. A veteran can opt to receive the lower amount if he or she chooses for tax or other purposes.
The DFAS has an online Disability Pay Estimator that can help you determine what your CRSC payment will be. To use it, you need the following information:
- The average of your most highly paid 36 months of service.
- Years and months of service.
- Military service disability percentage.
- CRSC award percentage.
- VA percentage.
You also need to input information about your spouse and dependents, if any.
As an example of how the CRSC calculator works, assume you have a monthly base pay of $4,000 and 30 years of service. You have a spouse, no dependent parents, two dependent children under age 18 with one of those children in school. Your percentages are 30 for military service disability, 60 for CRSC and 20 for VA. Your estimated CRSC payment is $1,275.09 per month, with about $260 in monthly VA payments and $900 in retirement pay.
As you can see, there are a lot of variables that go into estimating your CRSC payments. It’s best to work with your branch of service to determine what your specific benefit is so you know what to expect.
If you’re going to file for CRSC compensation, make sure to file it in your specific military branch of service. In your application, you will also need to include evidence of how you incurred the disability in combat.