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Medical Retirement Benefits

When a soldier is placed on the temporary disability retirement list (TDRL) or Permanent Disability Retirement List (PDRL), he is given the same benefits as if he had served for twenty years or more. A medical retirement or medical discharge is always honorable (unless there were other circumstances involved other than the medical).


For soldiers now, the pay is based on the High 3 method. This is the average of the three highest base pay rates received. While on TDRL, a soldier must receive a minimum of 50% of the high 3 regardless of the disability rating. If on PDRL, the pay is based on the disability rating. A disability rating of 30% would equate to retirement pay of 30% x the high 3 average whereas 60% rating would equate to retirement pay of 60% x the high 3 average and so on. If the soldier had twenty years of service, he will receive the higher of the regular retirement rate or his disability retirement rate. Retirement pay from the Army is taxable. From the time my husband was medically retired until we received his first retirement paycheck was about six weeks. Also, keep in mind that his final active duty paycheck will likely be delayed to double check for any inaccuracies before paying him.

Health Insurance

Retired soldiers and their family are still entitled to TRICARE benefits including dental insurance. If the soldier chooses TRICARE standard, there is no monthly or annual premiums but you are subject to co-pays and deductibles. If the soldier chooses TRICARE Prime, there is an annual enrollment fee that can be paid annually, quarterly or monthly. This fee can also be set up as an allotment from retirement pay. It is less than $40/month for family coverage.

Dental insurance can be set up on an allotment as well. The amount varies based on the type of coverage but it is considerably more than active duty premiums.

ID Cards

The soldier and his dependents will keep their ID cards and maintain commissary, PX and other post privileges. New ID cards will have to be made to show either the TDRL or PDRL status. My husband always gets strange looks when he shows a retired military ID at the age of 29. My ID looks almost identical to my active duty ID except beside the rank, it shows TDRL as well.

DoD Decals

Retired soldiers and their dependents are allowed to keep updated DoD decals on all of their registered vehicles.

On Post Resources

Retired soldiers and dependents maintain access to all on post resources including most travel deals. They can continue to use post lodging as well. There are some restrictions on these things but they are minimal.

Military Discounts

Many businesses only offer discounts to active duty personnel and their dependents. However, many businesses also do not recognize the difference in active duty IDs and retired IDs. So we’ve not had a problem continuing to receive discounts. I typically use my military ID when a business asks for ID as I hate my driver’s license picture even more than my military ID picture *wink* and they’ve always offered the discount. I have not asked for one since my husband retired.

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 154 comments… add one }

  • Christina Beckelhymer September 18, 2012, 12:30 pm

    What about access to schoold onpost? Will the kids still be able to attend?

  • Sabatino J. D'Auria October 8, 2012, 8:03 pm

    My ID card resently was confiscated at the Fort Dix gate. I was told only vets with 100% disability was aloud to enter. I am 10% disable and was put on the Retired Reserve list due to medical problems in Korea in 1954. I was told that a new public law transfered
    many of the disable vets to the Honorary retired rolls. Please advise what is an Honorary retirie and if there any benifits to go with it. If this is true, the goverment didn’t need to do this since atrition will take care of this in a very short time. I would like to know the Public Order No. so that I may read it. Thank you.

  • Kim January 17, 2013, 1:34 am

    Family member is going thru medical retirement with less than 8 years of service. Is married and is due to be “out” within next few month’s. My question is: When completing paperwork to obtain payment or percentages of income is this amount based on the “enlisted” or the “enlisted plus spouse”. I know extra benefits are allowed for married, but not sure if medical retirement is based on being married or not.

    Looking forward to hearing reply!

    • Stacey February 12, 2013, 7:24 pm

      Retirement is based on base pay only, which isn’t influenced by whether he is married or not.

    • Wes August 14, 2014, 1:14 am

      VA disability IS based on spouse and child and you get a higher monthly payment if he has VA disability along with the “medically retired percentage”

  • tom April 17, 2013, 6:12 pm

    What if my Sponser was medicaly retired after twelve years and we file for devorce? Would I, the spouse retian the same benifits

    • Stacey April 24, 2013, 12:16 pm

      You should call Tricare and ask. I’m thinking that you won’t be but I don’t know that with 100% certainty.

      • Kay February 12, 2014, 1:17 pm

        When divorcing, if you were married for 15-20 yeRs while your spouse was AD, you get one year of tricare. If married 20+ years while on AD, you get to keep tricare benefits. Have a friend who was married to her ex fo 22 years, but only 19.5 while on AD, so all she got was the on year, which rally sucked for her.

  • davis April 29, 2013, 1:34 pm

    I was medically discharged from the army 6 years ago after combat, being stop lossed, and past my original ets date given a severance pay and I think 0% disability. Is there a difference between being medically retired and medically separated? I ask because the other day I got a letter from the VA stating I am Medically retired from the Army. Would this give me a comminsary ID card? Also I am 80% service connected disability thru the VA but assigned a total disability rating for compensation based on unemployability. It also states I was discharged from the military for a disability that was incurred or aggregated in the line of duty. Do I qualify for a commesary privilege I’d?

    • Stacey April 30, 2013, 2:22 pm

      If you were medically retired, then you maintain commissary privileges – it’s essentially the same as being retired for time in service (few differences). Medically retired is a rating of at least 30% from the Army. If it’s less than 30%, then it would be a medical separation where you may or may not receive a severance package (based on rating).

  • anjel May 1, 2013, 4:46 pm

    My husband is in the process of medically discharge/retirement. I have been told so many different things. We’ve been trying our best to save up for when he gets out so that we can get a house. I keep hearing from one person that her son was found at 30% disability and 2 years later is still waiting for his money. Another individual was 100% disability and it has been 8 months and no pay yet. Does anyone know why someone who is deemed disabled having to wait so long to receive their due? I am so concerned because that means we have to really hustle to get jobs and being that I was a stay at home wife/mom per my husbands request for the last 7 years, it may take a little while to get a job.

    • Stacey May 2, 2013, 9:44 pm

      My husband was medically retired in June and got his first retirement check from the Army in August. The VA took longer but it’s my understanding those ratings are done all at once now. I’m not sure why it would take so long after the rating has been assigned. Getting a rating is another story.

      • Laura June 11, 2015, 4:27 pm

        Your husband is paid from the Army and from the VA? We were told yesterday that my husbands VA pay would not be sent to him for 1-3 months after his separates from the Army (he’s being medically retired). I also was told his last Army pay check will be withheld. So we will be moved back to our HOR with no means to “start over”, leaving us essentially homeless (not to mention all of our other bills that need to be paid months, car, insurance, etc) since neither of us have family that can take in a family of 5 and a dog. Stressed and worried doesn’t even begin to describe what we are feeling right now.

        • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 9:42 am

          Because of my husband’s ratings, his VA and Army pay cancel each other out. The majority of his retirement comes from the VA but because his Army retirement on its own would have been a little more than what the VA retirement was on its own, he gets a small retirement check from the Army as well. When my husband retired, you didn’t get both decisions at the same time. His last full Army check did take a little bit longer – they’re essentially trying to make sure any back pay/deductions, etc are all taken care of. Then it was months before he had a decision from the VA to start getting that.

          • Donna August 6, 2015, 4:38 am

            If your sponsor’s are not currently drawing VA disability and Retired Pay concurrent expect a large back payment six months after the first VA check and to receive both concurrently after that. In 2014 the VA made the concurrent receipt automatic, meaning the amount currently withheld from retirement for VA will be reinstated and you will draw both together. The VA rep we spoke to in July told us that it still takes 6 months for DFAS to get the act together and correct it. I hope this brings you something to look forward to and some hope. If you want further confirmation I would call your local VA rep or an American Legion/DAV rep.

          • Steven August 25, 2015, 3:01 am

            I am due to be medically retired from the Army Reserve in 2 days. I went to Iraq in 2005-2006, got injured started getting VA disability. The government does not want to pay you twice for the same day so I have had my VA disability held back the amount of training days I served at the end of every year.
            Just like Retirement Pay unless you are rated 50% for the ARMY or higher then the retirement pay is not offset. So true My VA is 1,500ish… My retirement would be 1,500ish, so one would cancel the other out… At 50% it is offset so I still would get 1,500 from VA and about 213.00 from ARMY retirement.
            My issues are from combat so I have been told to fill out a “Combat Related Specialty Compensation” (CRSC), if it is approved they give you a third percentage and you get some money back from retirement.
            If I got the max for my Rank? It would increase my retirement by 900 dollars. Have yet to fill it out.
            I’m 70% VA and 50% ARMY.
            13 years “12 good years” ARMY, Army National Guard, Army Reserve

            Hope this helps someone out there

          • Stacey Abler August 25, 2015, 8:15 pm

            Thanks for sharing the information. I hope it works out with CRSC.

  • Mollie May 17, 2013, 2:58 am

    Thank you so much Hunny this took a lot of my worries away!
    I’ve been so worried since I have seizures an my meds are over $300 a month an that’s just one of them :(
    Thank you again

  • Christina Carmichael May 31, 2013, 11:27 am

    Will my daughter still be able to attend school on post after my husband gets medically retired?

    • JennWimberly July 10, 2013, 6:33 pm

      No, you cannot use onpost schools if you are retired…..

  • JennWimberly July 10, 2013, 6:35 pm

    How long after you receive your NARSUM does it take to final out on average if there are no issues?

  • Roland August 6, 2013, 6:37 pm

    I am going through MEB after 15yr in the Army. It will take a while to get this process through, but it’s time to hang it up

  • Crystal May 20, 2014, 4:24 pm

    I am very confused to find this website…I have been searching for benefit information for a long time. Our base representative tells us that after my husband retires, if he wants Tricare he will have to pay $1000 a month for premiums. The Tricare website also lists premiums for retirees under age 65 at $1000 a month. I met someone the other day that told me he is retired and only 40 years old and pays less than $40 a month for Tricare Retired Plan. I am so confused!! My husband has 21 years of service in the Air Force but honestly he is only staying in because of the health care prices. If it were only $40 a month then he would retire now. Can you please help me!! Thanks

    • Stacey Abler May 20, 2014, 8:08 pm

      I can’t find where you are seeing that Tricare is $1,000/month. Are you looking at CHCBP by chance? That would be the equivalent of COBRA in the civilian world which is ridiculously expensive and provides temporary coverage if you are no longer eligible for Tricare. But since he’s served more than 20 years, he won’t have to pay that. Tricare Prime is $547.68/YEAR (source: http://www.tricare.mil/Costs/HealthPlanCosts/PrimeOptions/EnrollmentFees.aspx). We pay $460/year because my husband is medically retired and his rate is essentially locked in from 2007.

  • Sue June 8, 2014, 8:06 pm

    My husband has been in the Guard for 28 years. He was in an accident while on orders to go to training. He is waiting for his ratings to come back. We are being told he will get both the VA check and an Army pension if his ratings come back at 30% or higher. We where just told the other day that it is not true. Do you know how this works?

  • Brittany June 27, 2014, 12:53 pm

    My husband is currently going thru the MEB process to be medically retired. He was national guard that got called to duty then was injured in Afghanistan in Nov 2011 and has been on active orders since then and has been attached to a WTU. So far he has a 80% rating from the VA and a 20% rating from the Army. We have appealed to try to get a higher rating from the Army so my daughter and I can keep our Tricare Prime(or at least thats what we were told to do since he’ll be medically retired and not separated and that he needed at 30%). I realize we have to pay the enrollment fees(im fine with that). But my question is will my husband be REQUIRED to be seen at a VA since he will be recieving disability from them or will he be able to use the tricare prime and be seen at one of the MTF clinics located around Fort Bragg NC? The VA here is horibble and is part of the scandal with wait times. He is on medications that he cant go without simply because he cant get an appt.

    • Stacey Abler June 28, 2014, 10:16 am

      If he gets Tricare, he can use it. He won’t have to see the VA.

  • Brooke July 21, 2014, 7:18 pm

    Hi! Thank you so much for this article. It has been very helpful. My husband was recently diagnosed with epilepsy due to concussions he received in a combat zone. He also suffers from PTSD. He has not started the MEB process yet, so I don’t know what percentage disability he will receive but he was told by one of his NCOs today that soldiers who are medically retired with PTSD get the benefit of free schooling for their spouse and children. I can’t find information about that anywhere. Is it true as far as you know? Or possibly just a rumor? Also, do I have to use MyCAA while he is AD or can it be used after he is medically retired or separated?

    • Stacey Abler August 7, 2014, 7:36 am

      To my knowledge, myCAA is only available to active duty spouses. I’ve never heard about the free schooling for spouses of soldiers with PTSD.

  • Amy August 22, 2014, 2:29 pm

    My ex husband is being medically retired. He says hes getting benefits through the VA and will not receive any pay until he gets a job so he wont be able to pay his child support. Im pretty sure this is a lie. Also I am suppose to get a portion of his retirement pay but since he is being medically retired I am not sure if I am still entitled. Can you please help?
    Thanks :)

    • Stacey Abler August 22, 2014, 7:45 pm

      If he’s being medically retired, he should be receiving a retirement check from the Army. He could also be receiving additional money from the VA. Depending on his rating and how long he served, his check from the Army may or may not be offset by his VA pay. As soon as he’s approved and everything is finalized, he should begin receiving payment.

  • terry kelleher September 15, 2014, 8:37 pm

    My huband was on va retirement since 1971 he passed away two weeks ago will I still receive his retirement pay?

    • Stacey Abler September 23, 2014, 8:41 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that. Information on survivor benefits can be found here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/spousepen.asp

      • CVSO Jane December 2, 2014, 6:22 pm

        The link above is for the VA Wart time veteran Non-Service Connected Pension which is an income, asset, medical/funeral/education expense, based program. It is NOT the military retiree’s survivor benefits.
        Please check with DFAS. If he set up SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan) then you will receive partial retirement, if not then you will likely not. This is a DOD benefit that the service member must elect.

  • Alicia Ancheta November 4, 2014, 10:39 pm

    Hi, I have a question.. My husband was medical retired since 2012, and he has a previous wife they were married for about 8 years and got divorce 2008 . my husband agree on the divorce paper that she will get 50% out of his retirement.. Is the previous wife can still get the 50% out of his Medical Retirement pay? Eventhough he is not completely retired? Thanks

  • stepheni November 17, 2014, 5:08 pm


    Looks like I am going to be Temp Med Retired for service related illness which has ongoing daily treatment. Will tricare still cover 100% like the do now (Tricare Active Duty Remote)? It seems like I will go to Tricare Retiree Standard and then be required to cover the deductables, for a service related illness.

    Has anyone experienced this?

    • Stacey Abler December 7, 2014, 8:48 pm

      When my husband was on TDRL, we kept everything as it was when he was active duty with Tricare.

  • Lauren December 7, 2014, 9:21 am

    My husband was diagnosed with PTSD after returning from a deployment in 2009 (then rated at 50%, currently 70%). He served a total of 11 years, 3 active army and 8 army national guard, with the intention of completing the full 20 so that he could retire. He was directed to report to a medical hold detachment unit, until he was practically forced to sign himself out of the army. He was told if he wanted to be medically retired, it would be a long expensive process in which he would have to pay for, and we did not have the means to do so, and so he signed discharge papers in 2011. I have been told he should fight to have this overturned so that his status could be changed to medically retired and he could receive the benefits he is rightfully entitled to. He no longer works because of the severity of the PTSD and recently I had to resign from my job because I am currently serving as his caregiver, due to the fact that his disability is severe enough to warrant it. Because he is not rated 100% total & permanent, my children are not covered for medical benefits, and so we pay for that out of pocket. I feel he was taken advantage of due to his condition, and at the time this was all happening, he was not made aware of all of his options, nor were they fully explained to him. It is hard to believe that someone who has served that length of time can be treated and taken advantage of the way my husband was. I’m not sure if having his status overturned is even an option, and if it is, I have no idea where to start. Can you tell me if this is possible and if so, where to begin? Any help or direction is much appreciated. Thank you.

    • Stacey Abler December 7, 2014, 8:36 pm

      Hi, the guys over at pebforum.com would know if it’s possible to try to overturn that. Good luck!

  • Amber December 31, 2014, 1:52 pm

    My husband is currently undergoing a medical retirement and is expected to be above 50% up to 100% medically retired. I’m trying to find out if we will retain Space A privledges to travel but am getting all kinds of conflicting responses. Can anyone tell me for sure what the rules are?

    • Stacey Abler January 6, 2015, 9:41 pm

      Yes, if he is medically retired, he’s essentially considered the same as being retired for time in service as far as most benefits are concerned. So you will retain Space A privileges.

  • Kim January 27, 2015, 10:03 pm

    I have a friend who is separated from her husband and he recently received a Medical Retirement. They have 2 children and he is not paying child support. She also believes he is getting extra benefits because he is still saying he is married with dependents. Would his benefits be tied to how many dependents he’s claiming and is it possible for the military to take the child support directly out of his pay? Thank You.

    • Stacey Abler January 30, 2015, 8:43 pm

      His medical retirement from the Army is based on his base pay, which is not influenced by being married or having children. Is it court ordered child support?

      • Donna August 6, 2015, 4:44 am

        Also, his with dependents rate does not have to be based on a spouse. He gets with dependent as long as he has one child.

  • Sue February 23, 2015, 4:16 pm

    My husband was just medically retired with 90% disability from the VA. My daughter is still attending a local college. If we claim her for disability benefits will she still receive MHA (monthly housing allowance)?

  • Morgan April 28, 2015, 3:12 pm

    MY husband was medically retired 10 years ago as an Infantry Sgt in the Army after 5 years in the Army at the age of 22 (TDRL for a year at 30% and then 50% Permanent after a evaluation via Army). He only receives his VA pay (90%) and he gets $230 a month from CRSC (apparently this is suposed to bridge the gap since he does not get retirement and VA, which I don’t think is even close). He thought this whole time his SGLI carried over bc he was retired. I am finding out that he is no longer eleigible as of 2007 when he got out. What life insurance is he eligible for or is he supposed to just roll over to a new policy bc of his retirement? Also, is he supposed to be getting both retirement and va disability? IT is all combat related injures, we don’t pay taxes on any of what he receives. But I have heard of some guys getting both retired and va pay….and have life insurance they did not have to apply for…idk. Any one know a CONSISTENT answer? lol, VA always gives me different ones in the same days, smh. Thanks!

    • Stacey Abler June 27, 2015, 10:22 am

      If he was going to continue SGLI, he would have had to have elected for VGLI when he retired. As far as I know, you can’t go back to reinstate it after the fact.

  • Ed B. May 18, 2015, 11:54 am

    Just to clear up the taxable question about medically retired status, here is the official options on what is and what isn’t.

    Military Disability Retirement Pay received as a pension, annuity or similar allowance for personal injury or sickness resulting from active service in the armed forces should not be included in taxable income if any of the following conditions apply:

    You were entitled to receive a disability payment before September 25, 1975;
    You were a member of the military (active or reserves) or were under a binding written commitment to become a member on September 24, 1975;
    You receive disability payments for a combat-related injury. This is a personal injury or sickness that:
    1. Resulted directly from armed conflict,
    2. Took place while you were engaged in extra-hazardous service,
    3. Took place under conditions simulating, including training exercises such as maneuvers, or
    4. Was caused by an instrumentality of war.

    Our son was injured in 2011 in Afghanistan with a TBI. He was medically retired in 2014 after an exhausting 3 year fight with the VA and the Army. My wife, bless her heart, went after them both like a wolverine after a bear. Of course the wolverine won.

    I would urge everyone who has a loved on that even looks like they are getting steamrolled by either that branch of the service and/or the VA, DO NOT give up. Make sure you get any medical evidence that could help you bolster your case. If you have to, get your local congressman and Senator involved(we did), many of them can start inquiries with a high level bureaucrat or general, and neither like to hear of a potential embarrassing event that could appear in the media.

  • Janet Seaton May 31, 2015, 11:12 am

    I was wondering how long can I stay in on post housing? I am currently clearing post and need to know when I need to start moving.

    • KSS June 29, 2015, 11:18 pm

      Get ready to move. My situation: medically retired with 10% Army disability and 70% VA (proposed rating) and have just over 24 years of active duty and 7 years reserve time. I’m a month away from my retirement date. I cleared in mid May and currently on terminal leave.

      I was originally told I could stay in my current housing for 6 months and had planned on this throughout my out-processing and transition leave. Wrong answer. Went to Balfour Beatty last week and they gave me an exception to policy form. Filled it out and today when I dropped it off, was told the maximum normally approved (routinely approved was the term used also in the conversation) for retirement was 30 days after retirement date but that was still an approval process. A few hours later I got a call stating my request was disapproved and I must be out in 31 days.

      I’m trying to find regulatory guidance on this but still looking. Kind of like the Army Physical Disability Agency trying to put me out and I spent my entire PTDY and two weeks of leave fighting with them to adjust my medical retirement date. They automatically set it for 45 days and would not consider the fact I had 89 days of leave AND I had already sold back 60 days of leave many years ago (I’m a work-a-holic). Even though the regulation clearly stated I was right, I couldn’t get anyone to change my retirement date until 1 week before my originally established retirement date.

      I will update if I get definitive regulatory guidance.

  • Jessie Buckman July 21, 2015, 12:32 am

    My husband passed away in 1979 – while on TDRL for a service connected disability (on the list for less than 5 years and was not 100% disabled). At the time I was told that I could keep my military ID card – and several years later had it renewed. In the early 1990’s I misplaced my card – and did not get a replacement. I have moved to an area where the commissary is nearby, so went to the Readiness Ctr., and they told me that he was not in the “system.” I then called DEERS and they said that I should have never had a card in the first place – that I was not eligible. I wrote to the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and never heard back. I called DEERS again, and they said that I had not been married to him long enough – I had been married for 8 years. I recently went to the VA office and they also said that I should have never received an ID card, but that I was eligible for Champva. I just want a definite answer….I just read an article that said that being on TDRL was like serving for 20 years…so, it seems like I could be eligible?? Your input would be greatly appreciated and thanking you in advance for any info you can give me regarding this matter.

  • Jodie August 26, 2015, 9:52 pm

    I am at a loss here, my husband was in the army and was medically discharged after serving only 3 years. Are we eligible for Tricare benefits?

    • Stacey Abler August 31, 2015, 9:50 am

      If he was medically discharged (less than 30%), then no. If he was medically retired (30% or higher), yes.

  • bebe September 28, 2015, 8:55 pm

    My husband has PTSD and TBI. He is in the process of a med board and has asked me for a divorce. We will be married 10 years in December. He has been active duty the whole time we have been married. Is there a chance I could get any monthly pay? At this point I don’t know if the pay would be from the VA or what.

  • Connie October 7, 2015, 7:38 pm

    My military spouse and I are divorcing after 6.5 years of marriage. He is medically retiring soon. Am I entitled to any of his medical retirement money?

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