DoD Disability Retired Pay

Air National Guard: Federal Active Duty

Benefit Fact Sheet

Summary

The Department of Defense (DoD) compensates Airmen and Guardians who are retired for physical disability (Title 10 USC Ch. 61). The Secretary of the Air Force (SAF) may retire a regular component Airman or Guardian who is deemed physically unfit to perform their duties as the result of an injury incurred in the line of duty. To qualify for disability retirement, the Airman or Guardian must have completed at least 20 years of creditable service, in accordance with 10 USC 1208or have service-connected disabilities that caused the Airman or Guardian to be unfit for duty and amount to a combined disability rating of 30 percent or more. The 20-year threshold established by 10 USC 1208 includes Reserve "equivalent duty service" (the product of the Service member's membership and Inactive Duty Training (IDT) points divided by 360). This service is applicable to Regular Service members with former Reserve Service.

Eligibility

Air National Guard Service members on federal active duty are entitled to Disability Retired Pay when all the below criteria are met:

  • The Service member incurred a permanent disability (or permanently aggravated a pre-existing medical condition), which caused them to be unfit for military duty, while serving on active duty for more than 30 days

  • The Service member was entitled to basic pay, or the disability was incurred while the Airman was on active duty but not entitled to basic pay due to authorized absence to participate in an educational program or for an emergency purpose as determined by the SAF

  • The disability was not the result of intentional misconduct or willful neglect; and

  • The disability was not incurred during a period of unauthorized absence.

If the disability originated in the statuses listed below, it is compensable so long as the disability was incurred in the line of duty. Performing active duty or inactive training; Traveling directly to or from the place at which such duty is performed:

  • After 23 Sep 1996, an injury, illness, or disease incurred or aggravated while remaining overnight, immediately before the commencement of inactive-duty training, or while remaining overnight between successive periods of inactive duty training, at or in the vicinity of the site of the inactive duty training

  • While serving on funeral honors duty; while traveling to or from the place at which the Airman was to serve; or while remaining overnight at or in the vicinity of that place immediately before serving.

Airmen with medical conditions or physical defects that existed prior to service (incurred in civilian status) may be administratively separated without referral into the DoD Disability Evaluation System (DES) if the medical Stethascope on a stack of folderscondition is identified prior to, or within, 180 days of the Airman’s initial entry on active duty or inactive duty for training or full-time Air National Guard duty. The following criteria must all be met:

  • The condition was not aggravated while on active duty or otherwise performing military duty

  • The Entry Physical Standards Board must be convened by the 180 th day

  • The medical condition does not disqualify the Airman from retention under the provisions of AFI 48-123. If disqualifying, Regular and Reserve Airmen on active duty must be referred to the DES.

Under the provisions of 10 USC 1207a, an unfitting pre-existing condition is deemed in the line of duty for purposes of disability retirement or separation, as applicable. The Airman must be ordered to active duty for a period of Line of F16s on the rampmore than 30 days when determined unfit and must have a career total of eight years of active service (active duty days) by the date of separation from active duty. The provisions of 10 USC 1206a modify application of 1207a to Reserve Component Service members called to active duty. If the Reserve Component Airman is released by the 30th day of active duty due to identification of a pre-existing condition not aggravated within the 30 days, the Airman will not have met the 30-day active duty requirement. The provisions of 10 USC 1207a do not apply to Reserve Component Service members who are referred to the DES after they are released from active duty.

Benefit Highlights

The DoD Disability Evaluation System (DES) implements retirement based on physical disability. The DES consists of:

  • Medical evaluation to include the MEB, impartial medical reviews, and rebuttal

  • Disability evaluation to include the PEB and appellate review, counseling, case management and final disposition.

Pursuant to DoD Directive 1332.18, the sole standard to be used in making determinations of unfitness due to physical disability shall be unfitness to perform duties of the member's office, grade, rank or rating because of disease or injury. The assignment of disability ratings shall be based on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD).

The military disability retirement plan is a defined benefit plan that incorporates basic pay history and either the number of years of service (YOS) or severity of the disability. To qualify for disability retirement, the Service member must be deemed unfit for military service and have a disability rating of at least 30 percent. The monthly retirement pay begins immediately after retirement and continues for the duration of the retired member’s lifetime. A member deemed unfit with less than a 30 percent disability receives a Disability Severance payment.

The basic retirement formula is:

  • YOS x 2 ½ % x retired base pay; OR

  • % of disability (not to exceed 75%) x retired pay base.

The retired pay base is the average of the highest 36 months of basic pay earned for those Service members who entered service on or after September 8, 1980.

When a member is retired for disability, they are is entitled to all the rights and privileges of any other military retiree. This includes entitlement to a military retired identification (ID) card that authorizes medical care, base Exchange and commissary shopping privileges, and use of morale, welfare and recreation facilities (space-available). There are no provisions in the law for increasing or decreasing a Service member's compensable disability rating after the effective date of permanent retirement.

Additional Information

For more information, visit the following DoD web links to obtain the DoD disability directive, instruction, and policy memorandums modifying this document:
https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/issuances/dodi/133218e.PDF

Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program IDES:
https://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/About/Documents/Display/Article/940713/integrated-disability-evaluation-system/

Online Resource for Americans with Disabilities:
https://www.dol.gov/agencies/odep/topics

Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2):
https://www.woundedwarrior.af.mil/

DoD Office of Warrior Care:
https://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/

The Air Force Office of Airmen’s Counsel (OAC) are Air Force attorneys who provide legal services to Airmen going through the disability evaluation process. They can be reached at:
210-565-0739 / DSN 665-0739 or via email at afloaja.disabilitycounsel@us.af.mil

Document Review Date: 03 January 2023