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I Checked Box 18

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Prior to retirement, I filled out a Quick start claim with a VA representative that worked at my base. When it came to box 18 "do you want retirement in lieu of VA compensation" or something like that, I asked him what it meant? He said that by the number of things I was claiming, check it, it doesn't matter. He also added that if you were 50% or more, CDRP is automatic. I trusted him and now I think it is biting me in the can.

I retired 1 Sep 10, I had my compensation exams in Jan '11 and got my decision letter July '11 saying I was 60%. It had that line in there that I elected to receive retirement in lieu of VA comp., but didn't specify what the ramifications of that decision were. Later in the letter, it said that I would receive funds within 15 days. 15 days had passed and nothing showed up in my bank account. I called the call center and asked them if something was wrong and they said to wait a couple weeks and then call back if nothing happened. I asked about the line that said "I want retirement in lieu of VA compensation" and they said the same thing, it doesn't matter, I should be getting paid. OK, I'll wait, and waited and waited and got the same run around from the call center folks. Not getting an answer I rolled my congressman in on it.

After an month, he got a reply that "I elected retirement in lieu of VA compensation" and that is the reason. So I called the call center and asked them what I needed to do. They said if I wanted to start VA compensation, I would have to fill out a 21-651. I asked if it would be retroactive to retirement and they said yes.

So I filled out the 21-651 and they received it 23 Sep 11. I just got a letter dated 1 Mar 12 stating they released payments starting 1 Feb 12. I will get my first payment 30 Mar 12.

What's going on here? Am I hosed on the retroactive payments? One thing that I have learned is to take whatever the VA says with a grain of salt. Do I have an recourse to take?

I will praise the education side of things. They have been on the ball for me for my last two years of school. However, on this side of things they are dropping the ball.

Any suggestions, I would appreciate it.


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