DoD Compensation & Benefits Handbook: Service Member - Got It - No - Then Get It

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The DoD recently released their Wounded, Ill and Injured Compensation & Benefits Handbook (

). It is divided into three major areas, five chapters, and 29 sections, as follows.


Chapter 1: The Process of Becoming Eligible for Compensation and Benefits


When you become wounded, injured, or ill as a member of the armed forces, a formal set of rules is in place to make sure you receive all of the benefits for which you are eligible. This process is called the Disability Evaluation System (DES) and it operates under public law (Title 10 and Title 38) to ensure you are treated fairly. In this chapter, you will find an overview of the DES, how the parts of the system work, including the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).This chapter includes the new pilot program, currently running in the National Capital Region, that streamlines the process, as well as a brief discussion of how disability ratings are determined, what they mean, and how you can appeal the decisions made by the PEB in your case if needed.

) includes: The Disability Evaluation System Process; Understanding Disability Ratings and Benefits; Your Right to Appeal the PEB s [Physical Evaluation Board] Decision, and; Resources regarding MEB [Medical Evaluation Board] / PEB.

Chapter 2: Benefits


Now that you ve learned about the process of becoming eligible for compensation and benefits in Chapter 1, you will learn about the various types of benefits that are available to you and your family. The qualifications for each program vary. In this chapter, you will learn the eligibility requirements and how to apply for each program. Additionally, you will find a broad range of helpful information and resources " everything from Veteran Service Organizations that can help you with your disability rating, to specific injury-related programs.

) includes: Pay and Allowances; Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection (TSGLI) program; Family and Medical Leave Act; Department of Veterans Affairs Benefits; Social Security Benefits, and; Resources regarding Benefits.


Chapter 3: Non-Medical Support


By now, you ve probably noticed that the bulk of your medical care is being handled by a group of professionals and that a person with the title, PEBLO, or Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer, has contacted you to help you understand where you are in the DES process and what to expect. But did you know that you and your family members have access to support in a variety of other forms? Are you aware that your service has a specific program that assigns an advocate to you for the entire time you are going through this process " and beyond? You can learn more about that in this chapter. Do you need a permanent wheelchair ramp built to your home s front door? There are organizations that can help you get that ramp built. Do you need help with your resume just in case you have to leave the service? What about free or partly subsidized quality child care for visits to the hospital? There are organizations in place that can help you with both. If your spouse or family member is now your caregiver, they will find a section just for them. There are countless government and non-government organizations and agencies that consider it an honor to do their part to assist you and your family during this difficult time. This chapter will introduce you to a number of them and give you websites, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to contact them directly.

) includes: Vet Centers; Veterans Service Organizations; Recovery Coordinator; Caregiver Support; Support Programs, and; Resources regarding Non-medical Support.

Chapter 4: Medical Support


Serving your country in a time of war can be one of the accomplishments of which you can be most proud. But what happens when the acts of war are what you see every night while you sleep? What if you watched as American men and women died right next to you, but somehow you were spared? These situations, along with many more, can make fitting in at home more difficult. Your family may comment that you seem different. You can t sleep. You wonder if you will ever be back to your normal self. This chapter addresses resources you can use to adjust to your new life at home, and how to notice and get help for depression or thoughts of taking your own life. It identifies Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Combat / Operational Stress Injury symptoms and it addresses how Traumatic Brain Injuries can make you seem different to your family. Reading this chapter may give you insight into your symptoms and feelings, but it will NOT make them go away. Seeking immediate professional help is the best course of action.

) includes: Access to Medical Care and Support; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); Traumatic Brain Injury; Suicide Prevention; Combat /Operational Stress Injuries and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and; Resources Regarding Medical Support.


Chapter 5: Transition and Retraining for Employment


Now that you are prepared to join the workforce, it s important to be aware of all of the programs and services that exist to make your transition as quick and easy as possible. Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time or you are returning to a previous position, there are a myriad of resources available that can be tailored to your specific situation. This chapter will provide you with information regarding the Department of Defense s Transition Assistance Program, as well as numerous other programs provided by the Department of Education, Veterans Affairs and the Department of Labor. These programs can provide support throughout the entire process of preparing to be an employee, finding the position that is right for you, and ensuring that you receive proper assistance in performing your duties. In addition, website links and contacts are listed in Section 7 for each state s or territory s VA office so you can see what specific programs apply to you.

) includes: Transition Assistance Program; Education Benefits; VA Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment; REALifelines / Department of Labor (DOL) Programs; National Resource Directory; State Benefits, and; Resources Regarding Transition and Retraining for Employment.

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt