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Compton: Compensation choices can be confusing

By George Compton
Saturday, January 3, 2009

Q: I received a letter about selecting between Combat Related Special Compensation and Concurrent Receipt. Can you give any guidance?

A: When a military retiree receives compensation from the VA, that compensation is subtracted from retired pay. VA compensation is tax-free so that is a benefit.

Combat Related Special Compensation is a program that provides for a payment from the Department of Defense equal to the amount subtracted from retired pay for disabilities caused by combat.

Concurrent Receipt is a program that provides for a payment for veterans rated 50 percent and higher.

The difference between the programs is that Concurrent Receipt is added back into retired pay and is taxed as income. CRSC is not added to retired pay and is paid as a separate benefit which is tax-free.

In your case, your disability is all combat-related so $845 is being subtracted from your retired pay, and you are receiving that amount from the VA. You are already receiving CRSC so you get the $845 back tax-free, and you only pay income tax on your remaining retired pay. I would not change your current situation, and unless you make a change you do not have to reply to the letter.

Q. Will there be another national cemetery built in Southern California? It is a long way to Riverside.

A. There will be another cemetery in Southern California. On Dec. 7, there was a dedication ceremony for the Bakersfield National Cemetery in Arvin. The site is 15 miles south of Bakersfield and about 10 miles off Highway 99.

The 500-acre site for the cemetery was generously donated by Tejon Ranch, and the VA anticipates burials to begin in the summer. The telephone number for the cemetery is 661-632-1894.

— George Compton, retired Army colonel, is the veterans service officer for the County of Ventura, Human Services Agency. Send your questions to Veterans Service Office, 1701 Pacific Ave., Suite 110, Oxnard, CA 93033; phone number: 385-6366; fax: 385-6371 or e-mail George.Compton@ventura.org.

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