medical retirement from the army

Army Medical Retirement Benefits

Last updated November 24, 2022

When a soldier is placed on the temporary disability retirement list (TDRL) or Permanent Disability Retirement List (PDRL), they are given the same benefits as if they 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).


Pay is based on the High 3 method or the new BRS method (depending on when they entered retirement).

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 a 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 would 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, remember 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 families are still entitled to TRICARE benefits, including dental insurance.

If the soldier chooses TRICARE Select, there are no monthly or annual premiums, but you are subject to co-pays and deductibles.

If the soldier chooses TRICARE Prime, an annual enrollment fee can be paid annually, quarterly, or monthly. This fee can also be set up as an allotment from retirement pay. If you are in Group B, it is just over $70/month for family coverage in 2023.

Those in Group A pay a smaller deductible. It is also possible to be grandfathered into a lower rate if you are a survivor or medically retired.

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 a younger age. My ID looks almost identical to my ID when he was on active duty ID.

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 between 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 a discount. I have not asked for one since my husband retired.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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  1. 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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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.

  2. 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)?

  3. 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!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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?

  10. NuMy husband in line to get medically discharged from the military and now he is trying to divorce me and leave me and my two month old and my 2 year old daughter is with nothing if I report him do I always everything my insurance for my kids myself everything

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