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Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)

A soldier is placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) if during the MEB (Medical Evaluation Board) he was assigned a disability rating of 30% or more but the condition was not deemed stable enough for a permanent rating. TDRL entitles a soldier to all retirement benefits the same as if he had served twenty years or more.

A soldier can only be on TDRL for a maximum of five years. At the end of five years, a permanent decision must be made regardless of whether the condition is deemed to be stable. While on TDRL, a soldier undergoes a physical evaluation of his condition every 12-18 months. It is CRUCIAL while on TDRL to maintain excellent medical records through the physician or other healthcare providers as well as documenting how and when the condition has affected your life.

The soldier will receive a letter in the mail (and possibly a phone call as well) alerting him to the evaluation appointment. This is typically done at the nearest post that is equipped to perform these evaluations. The soldier will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Many of the tests that were run during the original MEB process will be run again for comparative purposes. The doctor will then form a recommendation and complete the packet. The packet is sent to the soldier to either agree or disagree with the findings. From the time the soldier receives the packet, he as five days to agree or disagree with the findings. If he disagrees, he must attach documentation as to why he disagrees. The packet is then forwarded to the board for a decision.

At this point, a variety of decisions can be made.

  1. The soldier is found fit for duty. Usually, if this happens, the soldier is given the option whether to reenlist or be discharged. There is no disability compensation for this.
  2. The soldier is given a 0%-20% disability rating. He will be given a severance package the same as if this finding had been made during the original MEB process.
  3. The soldier is given a rating of 30% or more and the condition is still not rated as stable enough for a permanent rating. The soldier remains on TDRL and will be evaluated again in 12-18 months.
  4. The soldier is given a rating of 30% or more and the condition is stable enough for a permanent rating. The soldier is placed on PDRL the same as if this had happened during the original MEB process.

If the soldier does not agree with the decision, he can appeal. There is a very short timeframe in which he can file the appeal. If he appeals, he will appear in front of the formal board to plead his case. This is generally done with the assistance of JAG or personal counsel, though it does not have to be. If the soldier cannot appear in person, many times the board will allow the soldier to have his appeal heard by phone.

If the soldier is given a rating of 30% or more qualifying him for retirement, this is a risky game to appeal. When the soldier appears in front of the formal board, they can change the decision in either direction which includes dropping the rating below 30% which would then disqualify the soldier for retirement. Be sure to discuss all of your options with counsel before pursuing an appeal. On the other hand, if you were given a rating of 0% and know you can’t be found fit for duty, you really don’t have much to lose by going to the board to appeal the decision. This is a personal decision that must not be taken lightly.

It is crucial that the soldier keep his address updated with the Army while on the TDRL. Failure to report for an evaluation can result with being dropped from TDRL.

Our personal story…My husband was medically retired in June with his last evaluation the previous April. In December, he was called and informed he was due for his evaluation. When he questioned the timing (it had only been 8 months), he was told that the doctor was deploying soon so he had to come in within the next few weeks. He agreed and was seen in January. The physician questioned why he was there so early and when my husband told him what he was told, he replied that it was news to him. Very frustrating!

He was sent his packet to review at the end of February. Again, this was very confusing. The packet is large and unlike with the original MEB, there’s not a physician sitting there to explain to you exactly what it says and what it could be mean at the board. There were discrepancies throughout his packet. But the option was to agree or disagree and if he disagreed, he had to attach documentation as to why. The doctor’s recommendation was also very vague. It basically stated that his condition had not improved, would require follow up and he recommended removal from TDRL and that a permanent decision be made. But we were left wondering what kind of permanent decision? We agree that his condition has not improved but was he recommending discharge (which we disagreed with) or retirement (which we agree with). There was no way to tell and we also had no one to call. I was lucky that when I posted about it on my blog, several soldiers who had been through the process emailed me about it.

We ended up agreeing with it and attached a document that we referenced on the agree/disagree form that cleared up the inaccuracies that were throughout the report. As of the time I’m writing this in the middle of March, we do not yet have a decision. I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep since the process started. We are hoping for a decision in the next few weeks so we at least know what we are dealing with and facing.

UPDATE: My husband’s TDRL was extended until May of 2009 when we will go through the process again.

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

{ 27 comments… add one }

  • AMBER April 8, 2011, 10:02 pm

    hi i was wondering while on tdrl do the service members receive army retiree pay and va pay or is it one or the other? id appreciate any help as we are a newly retired young family and are very confused and basically get the run around now because he isn’t active duty

    • April October 25, 2011, 5:57 pm

      I was on TDRL and was getting paid both by the Army and the VA because the moment my terminal leave ended and was placed on TDRL, I filed for my VA benefits. After being paid for about a year by both the Army and the VA, DFAS stopped paying me without any warning and when I called to find out why, I was told that because my VA benefit was larger than my Army one, they took away the latter. Make sure to contact the right source before you write your budget. Very confusing, I am telling you.

      • Stacey October 25, 2011, 7:31 pm

        It is really confusing. There was legislation passed where some can get pay from both without a canceling out effect but that legislation is even more confusing when you try to do the calculations. My husband gets about 95% of his from the VA and the other 5% from the Army.

        • April October 25, 2011, 8:36 pm

          In the Army, we are told that the VA and the Army are separate entities yet when it comes to money we have earned, one payment cancels the other. Why don’t they remain separate entities so we will get both benefits as we deserve? The sad aspect of this is that, nobody from these organizations explained to me or gave me a warning that the money was going to stop. I had scheduled bills to be paid and when the money didn’t come in, I kept calling for 4 days in a row just to be able to talk to someone at DFAS who explained to me what they had done. I asked her if it would have hurt them in anyway to send me a warning or notification before they stopped the payments? None of this information was passed on during the ACAP VA briefing I attended.

          • John October 15, 2012, 9:56 am

            you need to do a bit more homework b4 crying saying saying u earned anything the only time you can collect both is when its combat related. your lucky the military did not charge you with a crime and all they did was take the money back. Dfas does not have the time to teach stupid people regulations !

          • Wayne Miller January 11, 2014, 7:36 pm

            @John, don’t tell people about knowing the regulations when apparently you don’t know them either. Young woman going through hell because she hasn’t been evaluated in almost 5 years.. She was medically retired due to injuries suffered from an IED in Iraq and she only gets VA. They stopped her temporary retirement pay because they said it was less than her VA payment. If you could draw both because of combat related then she should be receiving both.

  • tony September 26, 2011, 7:16 pm

    yes if u are underTDRL u can receive both u must contact a RSO
    ,retired service officer from ur nearest military base so that DFEAS cant start pay u guys

  • Brian February 18, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Just wondering because i got a random letter from the military saying im being seperated from TDRL with severance, now i am very confused because i do not know if this ends my VA benefits too? if so i need to find a lawyer since i still need surgery for my disability. can anyone elaborate on this? I have yet to be informed on anything so i am completely in the dark i was under the impression that TDRL was the VA but the letter i got states it wont mess with my VA benefits so now i am completely lost and in utter distress because i have no idea whats going on and i have a family to take care of.

    • Stacey February 22, 2012, 7:45 am

      TDRL is the Army. The VA is completely separate assuming you received a separate rating from them. Losing Army pay should not affect what you receive from the VA.

    • April February 22, 2012, 9:06 am

      Brian,
      The letter you received from the Army saying you are being separated with severance pay means that, you are not going to receive the retirement blue ID card. It means that the Army will give you a lump sum of money instead of receiving any benefits from them susch as access to Army hospitals, PX etc. It has nothing to do with your VA benefits. When you file your VA compensation, you will receive a letter telling you what your rating percentage is and that is what determines whether you get taken care of from your “head to your toe” by the VA or not. If you receive 100% from the VA, everything on your body will be covered under the VA. I was in the Army for 8 years, went through TDRL and received my VA rating. What the VA might do is have you give your severance pay to them or they will deduct a certain amount from your compensation when they decide on the amount every month till the entire amount is received by them in full before you receive anything from them.
      Have you filed your VA compensation yet?

    • John April 12, 2012, 11:17 pm

      Hey Brian, I don’t know if this is too late or not, but you can refuse the severance pay if you want…. the only reason a soldier should take the severance pay is if the injuries that he sustained are COMBAT RELATED…… if they are combat related, then you DO NOT have to pay back the VA…. if they try to do that you best get a rep to help you out. Once you are separated from tdrl, there is no more pay from the army. Go see your count VSO (usually located at the court house) and start getting your comp/pen packet together. If your injuries were not combat related and you take the severance, you will be forced to pay it back with your VA disability pay, then you will be out of money even longer. I am going through TDRL right now and this crap is very confusing, but you have unlimited resources to help you understand….. start with your county VSO.
      Hope it all works out for ya.

  • Allen June 1, 2012, 11:45 am

    I was on TDRL in Feb. and the military cut me off with no notice…. I was in my last five years period, but they sent me too all of the doctors and I was at each appointments. As of june 1 I still have no money and no insurance. I was rated 30% before but know I have alot more problems… I feel they need to extend me so I can get paid and my wife insurance. All i need is who do I talk too so I can get extended. They owe me 4 months and I need that so I can get back on track. Now thay are saying its gong too take more time because a nurse have too talk to the doctors that sent proff that What was wronge. Why is a nurse handling this ???? Something too think about…. NEED HELP

    • Stacey June 1, 2012, 5:30 pm

      Allen, I’m sorry this has happened. Can you go to your PEBLO? Please check out the forum at pebforum.com. They are much more knowledgeable about how the system works when issues like this come up.

  • joe potts June 30, 2012, 7:05 pm

    I have been going through a med board and was told by my peblo that I was placed on tdrl ok that’s fine but everything I have read says that the person that have been placed on tdrl are out of the army but I’m still active army my question is with me being on tdrl do I still go to work at my company or what do I do cam any one email me and help me out please thank you

    • Stacey July 1, 2012, 6:16 pm

      When you are put on TDRL, they should give you an ETS date. When my husband went through it, he was able to choose his date no further than 90 days out from the decision. This was back in 2007 so it’s possible things could have changed.

      • joe potts July 1, 2012, 9:57 pm

        I was told that unharmed to go to s retirement brief and they would do so that there but my questions is if you are but on tdrl do you still have to go back and work at your company

  • Sammy July 7, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Hello,
    My husband is TDRL, but we have received a letter saying they have changed his rating from 50% to 10% making him ineligible for benefits. They want to give him a severance package and send us on our way. His evaluation was never completed though, because they could not get a hold of his records. How do we find out what the severance package would be? And, how do we fight it?
    Also, if he is taken off TDRL do we lose our insurance? He is paid by the VA not the military, so are they completely separate decisions? I am so confused, and don’t know who can give me answers.
    Thank You!

    • Stacey July 14, 2012, 1:17 pm

      Unless something has changed, the VA and Army are different decisions. If his rating with the Army is changed to 10%, he will be medically discharged, not medically retired which means he will lose medical benefits. You can appeal the decision but there are time limits to do so. Head over to pebforum.com and tell them your story. They can guide you through the process. Good luck!

  • teresa December 12, 2012, 7:46 am

    I have a question please…my son left for basic june 1st..he graduated august 17 from basic. Then to his job but when he got there he started experiencing back,neck, and hip pain. He only went to school 1 week for his training. It has been 4 months and now he is going to be meb boarded. We are concerned about his financial and insurance wise. How long will it take for his assessment to be over so he can leave base. 2. Does he get to keep his head to toe ins. 3. Will his wide get to keep hers? 4. How much can he expect sice he has only been in the army 6 months? I forgot to add he has stress fractures from basic on his hip, knees, and back. Thankyou

    • Stacey February 12, 2013, 7:37 pm

      It all depends on if he is medically retired or just discharged. If he’s retired, he’ll maintain benefits.

      • shockedatftsamhouston May 1, 2013, 9:26 am

        are you serious 6 months now we the tax payers have to supportnot only some who didnt even finished AIT much less ever serve time for his country but support his wife also no way not cool!

  • laurie January 14, 2014, 8:42 am

    my husband is 100% ptsd – TDRL with phyiscal issues rated at about 75% – so his disability 100 for the ptsd… he’s been out since sept 1 (medically retired)… so it’s been about 4 months now and he is sick and tired of the mh docs, the ptsd treatmenta and he wants to quit ALL treatment and just “deal”… I keep trying to tell him #1 that is not a smart, safe or healthy thing to do – he need treatment to HELP (he can’t work or even leave the house)… #2 I think it will affect his PDRL decision… If you to to your 12-18 mos TDRL evaluations and you have stopped all your treatment – isn’t that BAD? I can’t find anywhere this is written to PROVE to my husband that he’s jepordizing his PDRL decision…

    • Stacey Abler January 16, 2014, 9:53 am

      That’s what I’ve always heard as well, however, like you I have no “proof” of that. Try to go over to pebforum.com and see if they can shed some insight. There are many on there who have been through the process or guide others through it – they may be able to give you that proof you need to encourage him to continue to seek treatment. Good luck!

  • Alan July 17, 2014, 9:18 am

    Hello, I just got my Medical ratings back and learned that I have received 100% TDRL. I was hoping that someone could please give me some helpful tips I need to do to help myself in the wrong run now. I understand it’s temporarly, Im just confused now. Is it a good idea for me to be able to go back to college while in this tdrl process or am I just stuck in a halt process?

    • Stacey Abler July 19, 2014, 8:48 am

      You can go back to college while you’re on TDRL. You will receive notifications of when you need to go back to the doctor for additional check-ups. This will continue until they feel it’s stable enough for a permanent rating or five years, when they have to give you a permanent rating. My husband was on TDRL for a while before they gave him his permanent rating.

  • Richard Krecota July 28, 2014, 1:42 pm

    I am sitting here reading these comments and i am baffled that no one has brought up CRSC- Combat related special compensation pay. CRSC is a seperate payment that is paid by your Military Branch through DFAS. There are many qualifying reasons, if you go to your local Military Retired Service office. (At fort hood- Copeland center) they can help you gather all needed information and the form that you will have to fill out. make sure that you have a current VA Code sheet because the CRSC paperwork asks for the VA Codes. VA Codes are used to identify disabilities. When completing this paperwork ensure that you are not vague in the narratives. Also by law the CRSC branch has 45-60 days to make a determination on if you qualify and how much you will recieve for CRSC. Also CRSC will back pay either 6 years or the time you have either retired or have been placed on TDRL and started collecting VA payments. I Medically Retired (TDRL) 10 Apr 12, i didnt find out about CRSC until Mar 14. I filled out all paperwork, gathered all documents (the CRSC Doc. lists where to send and what documents are needed with submission). Roughly 60 days later i recieved notification that i was qualified to recieve CRSC and on the first of every month i know recieve $561 and i also recieved a check for $8,000. So if you are uneducated about CRSC please take the time to go to your Google Search engine and type in “CRSC”. Trust me i have talked to alot of Vets at the VA and mabey 15% knew about this. And the others were hoping and popping to get theres started.

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