DoD Disability Retired Pay
Benefit Fact Sheet
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 1208, or 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.
Retired Airmen and Guardians are eligible for disability retired pay if they meet all the following criteria:
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 Service member was on active duty but was 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.
Airmen and Guardians with medical conditions or physical defects that existed prior to service, e.g., incurred in a civilian status, may be administratively separated without referral into the DoD Disability Evaluation System (DES) if the medical condition 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 180th day
The medical condition does not disqualify the Airman from retention under the provisions of AFI 48-123. If disqualifying, Regular and Reserve Servcie members on active duty must be referred to the DES. A Reserve Airman, who is not on active duty must be provided the opportunity for a fitness determination by the PEB under the "non-duty related referral process."
Pursuant to 10 USC 1207a, a disability incurred prior to active duty will be treated as if it were incurred while the member was entitled to basic pay, for the purpose of considering whether incurred in the line of duty, as long as the member has at least eight years of active service and was on active duty for more than 30 days when the fitness determination was made. The provisions of 10 USC 1206a modify application of 1207a to Reserve Component Airman 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.
Disability retired pay will be offset dollar for dollar by any VA disability compensation, up to the full amount of disability retired pay. They may also be eligible for Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) , which may restore some, all, or none of that offset.
CRDP provided a 10-year phase-in period of January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2013, during which there was offset to military retired pay due to receipt of VA disability compensation. Effective January 1, 2014, most qualified retirees received full concurrent payments of both retired pay and VA disability compensation. Qualified individuals are those who are retired active or age 60 retired reserve members who also have a combined service-connected VA disability rating of 50% or greater.
CRSC provides a special monthly payment equivalent to the offset to military retired pay due to receipt of VA disability compensation determined to be combat-related. Qualified individuals include any military retired members with an offset to retired pay due to VA compensation determined to be combat-related.
Retirees who are recalled to active service are eligible to be referred to the DES. Under the provisions of 10 USC 1402 and 1402a, if determined unfit at a combined disability percentage of at least 30 percent, recalled retirees become eligible to have their retired pay recalculated using the disability retired pay formulas. However, retiree recalls enter the DES under the rebuttal presumption that they are fit for duty.
For more information, visit the following DoD web links to obtain the DoD disability directive, instruction, and policy memorandums modifying this document:
Air Force Wounded Warrior (AFW2) Program IDES:
Online Resource for Americans with Disabilities:
Air Force Wounded Warrior Program (AFW2):
DoD Office of Warrior Care:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org