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Navigating The CRSC Pay Chart: Understanding Your Benefits

Last updated: October 19, 2023

Among the various compensation programs available, the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) stands out as a significant benefit for those with combat-related disabilities.  However, before you begin, it is vital to first understand the CRSC program, including its benefits, eligibility requirements, and how to apply.

This article delves into the intricacies of the CRSC Pay Chart, offering insights into eligibility, benefits, and the application process. 

What Is CRSC Pay Chart?

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a program designed to provide tax-free payments to retired Veterans with combat-related disabilities. The main objective of this program is to compensate veterans for disabilities that are directly linked to combat situations. Veterans must apply for CRSC through their respective uniformed service. The benefits and eligibility criteria for CRSC are governed by specific requirements and evidence that veterans need to provide.

Every year, on October 1st, the CRSC Pay Chart undergoes an update to accommodate the cost of living adjustment (COLA). The chart below presents the CRSC payment rates for 2023 based on different VA Disability Ratings:

VA Disability Rating

Monthly CRSC Payment





















Bear in mind, if a retired military individual is availing other disability benefits, such as VA disability compensation or Social Security disability insurance, the CRSC payment might undergo a reduction.

Overview Of CRSC Program

Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) is a specialized compensation system designed for retired veterans who have sustained injuries or disabilities directly linked to combat scenarios. This program acknowledges the unique challenges and sacrifices made by veterans in combat situations and aims to provide them with tax-free payments as a form of recognition and support. 

The essence of CRSC is to ensure that veterans with combat-related disabilities receive the financial support they deserve. The program underscores the nation's commitment to its servicemen and women, ensuring that their sacrifices in the line of duty are duly recognized and compensated.

Eligibility Requirements

To benefit from the CRSC program, there are specific eligibility requirements that must be met. These criteria are not only tied to your service but also to the nature of your disability and your overall VA disability rating.

Branch Of Service

The CRSC program is available to all branches of the U.S. military. However, the application process and some specific criteria might vary depending on your branch of service. It's essential to ensure that you're following the guidelines set by your respective military branch when applying for CRSC.

Military Service

To qualify for CRSC, you must be a military retiree. This encompasses:

  • Veterans with 20 or more years of creditable service.

  • Veterans who have been retired due to medical conditions under Chapter 61.

  • Veterans on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL).

  • Veterans who have opted for the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) option, with 15 to 19 years of service.

Hazardous Service/Duty

For a disability to be considered for CRSC, it must be deemed combat-related. This term covers a broad spectrum of situations, including:

  • Instrumentality Of War: Your injury or disability must have been caused by an instrument of war. This can include exposure to hazardous materials like Agent Orange or radiation, which are directly related to your military service.

  • Armed Conflict: Disabilities resulting from armed conflict qualify as combat-related. This doesn't necessarily mean a formal war – any situation where you engaged with an opposing military force could be eligible.

  • Simulating War: Injuries or disabilities incurred during training exercises that simulate war, such as live-fire exercises or tactical training scenarios, can be considered combat-related.

  • Hazardous Duties: Disabilities resulting from performing hazardous duties can be eligible. Examples of hazardous duties might include serving as a paratrooper or handling explosive ordnance.

Purple Heart Awardees/Combat Related Injury Or Illness

If you've been awarded a Purple Heart, any disability you have is automatically considered combat-related. This recognition is given to those injured or killed while serving with the U.S. military.

Other Medical Conditions Requiring Treatment In A Hospital Setting

In addition to the above criteria, certain medical conditions that necessitate treatment in a hospital setting might also qualify for CRSC. These could include conditions that are secondary or exacerbated by your initial combat-related injury or disability. The key is that the condition must be directly linked to your military service, specifically to combat or a combat-like situation.

If you're uncertain about your eligibility or the nature of your disability in relation to CRSC, it's advisable to seek guidance from a legal or military expert.

Benefits & Compensation

Understanding the benefits and compensation associated with the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program is crucial for veterans who are considering applying or are already part of the program. Here's a detailed breakdown:

Monthly Compensation Rates

CRSC is a form of concurrent receipt, which means it's designed to restore the portion of a retiree's Service retired pay that's offset due to receiving VA disability compensation. In essence, CRSC reimburses what the VA Waiver deducts from your retired pay. The exact monthly compensation rates can vary based on the VA disability rating and the proportion of the disability that's deemed combat-related by the respective Service.

Maximum Annual Amounts Of CRSC Payments

The maximum annual amounts for CRSC payments are determined by the VA disability rating and the combat-related percentage assigned by the respective Service. It's essential to note that CRSC is tax-free, which can make it more advantageous than other forms of compensation, depending on the individual's situation.

Additional Benefits For Purple Heart Awardees

Veterans who have been awarded a Purple Heart automatically have their disabilities considered as combat-related. This recognition ensures that they receive the full benefits of the CRSC program, acknowledging the sacrifices they made while serving.

How To Apply For Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC)

To apply for CRSC, veterans must complete the designated application form and attach all necessary supporting documentation. Each military branch has its specific guidelines and requirements for CRSC applications. It's advisable to visit the respective Service's website for detailed instructions, eligibility criteria, and information on required supporting documents.

For those seeking legal assistance with their CRSC application, the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP) offers free legal representation to medical retirees interested in applying for CRSC.

Once approved, CRSC payments are separate from the Service retired pay and are deposited into the same account where retirees receive their retired pay or direct deposit. It's also worth noting that CRSC is not reflected on the retired pay stub, as it's a separate, tax-free payment based on the current law regarding the taxability of disability income.

For a detailed breakdown of CRSC payments, including disability ratings, unemployability, Purple Heart indicators, and other entitlement data, DOD members with DFAS-MyPay accounts can access monthly detailed information. Others can contact the Retired and Annuitant Contact Center or their respective pay agent for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help you better understand the CRSC pay chart, we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is the primary purpose of the CRSC program?

The CRSC program aims to provide tax-free payments to retired veterans with disabilities directly linked to combat situations.

How often is the CRSC Pay Chart updated?

The CRSC Pay Chart is updated annually on October 1st to reflect changes in the cost of living adjustment (COLA).

Can all military retirees apply for CRSC?

Yes, provided they meet specific criteria related to combat-related disabilities and have their military retired pay reduced by VA disability payments.

Is CRSC taxable?

No, CRSC payments are tax-free based on the current law regarding the taxability of disability income.

How does a Purple Heart award affect CRSC eligibility?

Veterans awarded a Purple Heart automatically have their disabilities considered as combat-related, ensuring they receive full CRSC benefits.

Can CRSC payments be passed on to surviving spouses or family members?

No, CRSC benefits do not extend to survivors. However, if a service member passes away after the law's effective date, the estate might be eligible for compensation due between the effective date and the date of passing.

Unlocking The Full Potential Of The CRSC Program

The CRSC program is a significant benefit for veterans with combat-related disabilities. It's essential to understand the eligibility criteria, gather the necessary evidence, and follow the application process to ensure you receive the benefits you deserve. The CRSC program underscores the nation's commitment to its servicemen and women, ensuring that their sacrifices in the line of duty are duly recognized and compensated. With a clear understanding of the CRSC Pay Chart and its associated benefits, veterans can better navigate their entitlements and secure the support they rightfully deserve. 

Discover more about veteran disability benefits and learn which 8 things to consider when hiring a veteran disability lawyer by checking out our detailed guide. Visit Disability Help and browse through the available resources to learn more.

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Chloe Powers
Chloe works with policymakers on behalf of Disability Help to support their work at a strategic level, ensuring the conditions are in place for creative individuals and organizations to grow, reach their potential and effect relevant, sustainable change.
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