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Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a program that was enacted by Congress in 2002 for military retirees with combat-related disabilities. It is a tax free entitlement that will be paid each month along with any retired pay you may already be receiving. The Defense Finance Accounting Service CRSC Website states that: Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) provides military retirees a monthly compensation that replaces their VA disability offset. This means that qualified military retirees with 20 or more years of service that have a "combat related" VA-rated disability below 50% will no longer have their military retirement pay reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation. Instead they will receive their military retirement pay, their awarded CRSC payment and their VA disability compensation.

An article in the June 2009 Air Force Personnel Center Newsletter reported: The approval rate of claims for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is currently running 66 percent, but the program is still not attracting a third of the number of people thought to be eligible. The increase in claims for the CRSC pay that officials expected has just not happened. Air Force Personnel Center officials expected an increase in claims would occur when the benefit was expanded to include all combat or combat-related disabilities rated as service-connected by the Department of Veterans Affairs at 10 percent or higher.
 • The CRSC staff at AFPC believes the lack of participation may be because many retired Airmen have still not heard about the program, or perhaps people are confusing the CRSC criteria with that of Concurrent Retirement Disability Payments. “When in doubt – apply,” said Rick Castro, CRSC program manager for the Air Force. “It may very well be the key to receiving additional tax-free money. I encourage all who meet the basic eligibility criteria to apply and let the experienced staff make the decision.”
 • In determining eligibility, retired military members should answer the following questions:
-- Am I receiving military retired pay?
-- Do I have a compensable VA disability of 10 percent or higher?
-- Is my military retired pay offset by VA disability payments (VA waiver)?
“If you answered, 'yes', to those questions and have not submitted your CRSC claim, you must not need the money,” said Mr. Castro. “Having more money than you had yesterday is not a bad thing. It’s tax-free and could go a long way in funding the education of children, grandchildren, or any number of quality-of-life improvements.”
 • The CRSC staff has already processed over 37,000 Air Force claims since the program’s inception in 2003; however, this is just a drop in the bucket compared to the number of retirees still possibly eligible, said Mr. Castro. Data shows there are more than 200,000 members receiving Air Force retired pay who also receive 10 percent or greater VA disability compensation today. Even subtracting the 50,000 already under Concurrent Retirement Disability Payments (often called “Concurrent Receipt”), there are still 120,000 retirees who have not applied for CRSC. Although CRSC specifically addresses “combat-related” disabilities incurred from armed conflict, retirees who developed disabilities from other than combat may also be eligible. Disabilities caused by exposure to Agent Orange, combat training, aircrew duties, simulated war exercises, parachuting and munitions demolition potentially qualify for compensation under this program.
 • Slipping and falling in an exercise or even during combat - if not caused by something related to combat, combat training, or an instrumentality of war - normally does not qualify for CRSC. “That said, let our experts make the call,” Mr. Castro explained. “That way if you do not qualify and something in the law or Department of Defense CRSC policy changes in the future that could affect the prior decision, we will already have a claim and documentation, and can reassess a claim based on the new eligibility factors.”
 • The CRSC team needs a copy of any and all copies of a retiree’s Department of Defense Form 214 or retirement order. They also need copies of any VA rating decisions addressing the disabilities being claimed, and any other available documentation. Eligible retirees may also receive “Individual Unemployability” payments and increased CRSC adjusted for dependents.
 • For more information and a claim form, write to HQ AFPC/DPSDC (CRSC), 550 C Street West, Suite 6, Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4708; call the CRSC Branch at (210) 565-1600; or toll free to the AFPC Contact Center at (800) 525-0102 (press 5, then 1).
 • NOTE: If you have been rated by the VA and have not agreed to have your retirement pay offset by the VA disability compensation, you must contact the VA to complete a VA Form 21-651, "Election of Compensation in Lieu of Retired Pay or Waiver of Retired Pay to Secure Compensation from Department of Veterans Affairs.

CRSC Eligibility

To qualify for CRSC you must:
 • be entitled to and/or receiving military retired pay
 • be rated at least 10 percent by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA)
 • waive your VA pay from your retired pay
 • file a CRSC application with your Branch of Service
All retirees with a combat-related disability are eligible to apply for Combat Related Special Compensation determination provided they meet the following four basic eligibility criteria:
-- be in retired status (regardless of # of years)
-- retirement at the age of 60 for personnel serving in the Reserves and Air National Guard
-- be receiving military retired pay;
-- have a combined Department of Veterans Affairs disability rating of at least 10 percent and have waived some or all military retired pay to receive VA disability compensation.

Disabilities that may be considered combat related include injuries incurred as a direct result of:
 • Armed Conflict
 • Hazardous Duty
 • An Instrumentality of War
 • Simulated War
Combat-related disabilities generally fall into one of four categories explained below. They are armed conflict, hazardous service, instrumentality of war and simulated war. Presumptive disabilities are also discussed below. The fact a member incurred the disability during a period of war or an area of armed conflict or while participating in combat operations is not sufficient by itself to support a combat-related determination. There must be clear evidence of a definite, documented, causal relationship between the armed conflict and the resulting disability. Armed conflict includes a war, expedition, occupation of an area or territory, battle, skirmish, raid, invasion, rebellion, insurrection, guerrilla action, riot or any other action in which service members are engaged with a hostile or belligerent nation, faction, force or terrorists. Armed conflict may also include such situations as: incidents involving a member while interned as a prisoner of war; while detained against his or her will in custody of a hostile or belligerent force; or while escaping or attempting to escape from such confinement, prisoner of war or detained status. Hazardous service includes those activities such as flight, diving and parachuting duty and are those where the disability was incurred during performance of duties that present a higher degree of danger to service personnel due to the level of exposure to actual or simulated armed conflict. There must be clear evidence of a definite, documented, causal relationship between the hazardous service and the resulting disability. Such service includes, but is not limited to aerial flight, parachute duty, demolition duty, experimental stress duty, diving duty and rescue missions.
 • An instrumentality of war is a vehicle, vessel or device designed primarily for military service and intended for use in such service at the time of the occurrence or injury. Incurrence during an actual period of war is not required; however, there must be a direct, documented, causal relationship between the instrumentality of war and the resulting disability. The disability must be incurred incident to a hazard or risk of service and be caused by the device itself. Instrumentalities not designed primarily for military service are included if use of, or occurrence involving, such instrumentality subjects the individual to a hazard peculiar to military service. Such use or occurrence differs from the use or occurrence under similar circumstances in civilian pursuits. An example of this would be injuries sustained while engaging in pugil stick training using a broomstick, where the broomstick replaces the weapon and causes the injury. A determination that a disability is the result of an instrumentality of war may be made if clear evidence exists to confirm the disability was incurred in any period of service as a result of such diverse causes as: wounds caused by a military weapon; accidents involving a military combat vehicle; injury or sickness caused by fumes, gases or explosion; or military ordnance, vehicles or material. For example, if a member is on a field exercise and is engaged in a sporting activity and falls and strikes an armored vehicle, the injury will not be considered to result from the instrumentality of war (armored vehicle) because it was the sporting activity that caused the injury, not the vehicle. On the other hand, if the individual was engaged in the same sporting activity and the armored vehicle struck the member, the injury would be considered the result of an instrumentality of war. There must be clear evidence of a definite, documented, causal relationship between the simulated armed conflict and the resulting disability. In general, this covers disabilities resulting from simulated combat activity during military training, such as war games, practice alerts, tactical exercises, airborne operations, grenade and live fire weapons practice, bayonet training, hand-to-hand combat training, rappelling and negotiating a combat confidence and obstacle course. Physical training activities such as calisthenics and jogging or formation running and supervised sports activities are not included.
 • Presumptive disabilities are a classification of disabilities determined by law. These conditions are divided into five main categories:
-- service in the Republic of Vietnam;
-- exposure to an officially recognized nuclear event;
-- exposure to mustard gas;
-- held as a Prisoner of War;
-- service in the Persian Gulf.
 • Examples of presumptive conditions are:
-- lung cancer or diabetes mellitus from exposure to Agent Orange;
-- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome developed after service in the Persian Gulf War;
-- heart disease or traumatic arthritis developed after being held as a POW for more than 30 days.

Retroactive Payment

In addition to monthly CRSC payments, you may be eligible for a retroactive payment. DFAS will audit your account to determine whether or not you are due retroactive payment. An audit of your account requires researching pay information from both DFAS and VA.
 • If you are due any money from DFAS, you will receive it within 30-60 days of receipt of your first CRSC monthly payment. If DFAS finds that you are also due a retroactive payment from the VA, we will forward an audit to the VA. They are responsible for paying any money they may owe you.
 • Your retroactive payment date may go back as far as June 1, 2003, but can be limited based on:
 • your overall CRSC start date as awarded by your Branch of Service
 • your Purple Heart eligibility
 • your retirement date
 • your retirement law (disability or non-disability)
 • six-year barring statute
 • Disability retirees with less than 20 years of service will be automatically limited to a retroactive date of January 1, 2008 as required by legislation passed by Congress effective 2008. • All retroactive pay is limited to six years from the date the VA awarded compensation for each disability. • If you have questions about your CRSC eligibility, call DFAS at 800-321-1080 or contact your Branch of Service.

Applying for CRSC

Military retirees who receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pay and think they are eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) should apply to their branch of service. • You should submit a CRSC application if:
 • you think you are eligible for CRSC and have never applied
 • you have been approved for CRSC, but you have more disabilities that you think might qualify
 • the VA has recently added more disabilities to your rating that you think might qualify
The VA recently expanded coverage to those suffering from the following medical conditions associated with Agent Orange:
 • Ischemic Heart Disease
 • Parkinson's Disease
 • Hairy Cell Leukemia
 • other Chronic B-cell Leukemia
If you have received a VA rating that includes one of these conditions, you should consider applying or reapplying for CRSC.

How to Apply

1. If you are applying for the first time, complete a DD Form 2860. If you are reapplying for new disabilities, request a reconsideration application from your service branch:
 • Army: you can find a reconsideration application and instructions at the Army CRSC Reconsideration Website
 • Navy/Marines: you can find a reconsideration application and instructions at the Navy Review Board Website
 • Air Force: Call 800-525-0102 concerning reconsideration
2. Include documents you feel will support your case. These might include:
 • Retirement orders
 • 20-year letter or statement of service (for reservists)
 • Relevant pages in your VA or service medical record
 • VA ratings letters
 • Purple Heart award citations
 • Retirement Form DD214
Your branch will make decisions based on what you send. The quality of the information is more important than quantity. Send copies, not original documents. Your branch will not return them.
3. Mail or fax your application to your branch of service. You can’t submit it electronically. Sign and date your claim. Ensure copies of supporting documents are clean and legible. Do not send any original documents, as they will not be returned. Send your claim to the address below for the Uniformed Service from which you retired.
Department of the Army
Army Human Resources Command
1600 Spearhead Division Avenue, Dept. 480
Fort Knox, KY 40122
Telephone: 866-281-3254 (Toll Free)
Coast Guard
Commander (PSC-PSD-de)
Personnel Service Center
U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7200
4200 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1100
Arlington, VA 20598-7200
Web: CG CRSC Information
Air Force
CRSC Program Office
550 C Street West, Suite 6
Joint Base San Antonio - Randolph, TX 78150-4708
800-525-0102 Select option 5,1
DSN: 665-1600
Internet: Air Force Retiree Services
Air Force CRSC Information
Navy and Marine Corps
Secretary of the Navy
Council of Review Boards
ATTN: Combat-Related Special Compensation Branch
720 Kennon Street SE, Suite 309
Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5023
Telephone: 877-366-2772 (Toll Free)
Internet: Navy CRSC Information
4. Your branch of service will notify you of their decision in writing. If approved, they will forward us a copy of your approval letter. 
5. We will start your monthly payments 30 to 60 days after your branch sends your approval letter. We will make any retroactive payment due 30 days after making your first monthly payment.