Medical Separation vs. Medical Retirement

Retiring for medical reasons allows a veteran to obtain a financial benefit that can help them with their military medical treatment, but the question of whether it can be a one-time payment or a continuous process of receiving this financial benefit is still a question for most veterans that are medically retired from the military.  

When you have to decide about leaving the military because of your health or fighting to stay and get special military retirement, it’s important to know what happens in both cases. Today, we’ll talk about the differences between military medical separation and military medical retirement, and how you can ask for VA benefits and VA disability help

Benefits associated with Military Medical Separation Versus Military Medical Retirement 

As a result of different disabilities, whether physical or mental, most service members are no longer fit to continue their service in the military, resulting in a military medical discharge that can yield two outcomes, medical separation or medical retirement.  

But what is the difference? Medical separation vs medical retirement both have the same purpose, discharging service members that are physically and mentally incapable of continuing their service in the military. Some conditions attributed to these discharges are so evident that they are considered as one of the easiest VA disabilities to claim. However, most of these conditions can differ in the number of benefits and their qualifying factors that allow those who are eligible for VA benefits to receive this VA disability compensation. 

Qualification Criteria for Medical Separation and Medical Retirement 

Medical Separation from Military 

Service members who don’t meet the requirements for continuous medical fitness for military service go through military separation. It is often reserved for people who have not accrued the necessary number of years of service to qualify for retirement and who may not have the service-connected disability needed to be eligible for medical retirement. 

Service members medically separated from the military receive a one-time severance payment equivalent to two months of basic pay for each year of their eligible service. The Disability Severance Pay (DSP) requires the following criteria. 

  • 19 years or less of service in the military 
  • Disability rating lower than 30% 
  • Proven unfit for duty 

In some cases, although a veteran may fit these criteria, they cannot receive their severance payment if they have preexisting disabilities. These are medical conditions that occurred before the service member joined the military. Especially if the disability is confirmed unrelated or not aggravated while serving in line of duty.   

However, this will not disqualify you from receiving your VA disability claim, especially if the conditions were exacerbated during your duty.  

Here are the other disqualification factors:  

  • Absence Without Leave (AWOL) 
  • Negligent conducts 

Military Medical Retirement 

Military medical retirement benefits service members who have served more than 20 years, giving them financial and medical support. Just like with medical separation, qualification for military retirement benefits renders the service member with a medical condition or injury that left them unfit to continue their military service.  

These are the summary of its qualifications: 

  • More than 20 years in an active line of duty 
  • When Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) discovered that the service member has more than 30% of VA disability rating 

It is a form of long-term compensation and medical benefit granting them access to medical healthcare for the rest of their life. These benefits are crucial especially for those who received severe injuries or chronic medical conditions requiring ongoing treatment and medications. 

The difference between medical separation benefits vs medical retirement is its long-term application. Military medical retirement allows you to acquire a military pension to help you with your medical treatments and other requirements to remedy your medical conditions. While medical separation provides a one-time compensation. 

If the entire process gets confusing, you can always seek out the help of a veteran coach to guarantee that you receive the maximum VA rating.  

The Role of Veteran Coaches 

Veteran coaches in Just4Veterans, ensure that we provide the best service for you to receive the maximum VA rating you have earned through the tools and support necessary to navigate the VA Claim process.  

Our goal is to provide you with a clear understanding of your benefits and the steps you need to take to guarantee that you receive the proper compensation you are eligible for.  

Check out our VA Assistance page to know more about how we can help with your filing of VA disability claims. You may also book a FREE strategy call to directly reach our veteran coaches by clicking this link.

DISCLAIMER : Just4Veterans LLC is NOT an accredited agent, attorney, entity or VSO recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and is not affiliated with the VA in any way. Veterans shall prepare and file their own claim with an accredited representative, who may offer their services for FREE. Veterans may search for and appoint an accredited VSO.