By Skip Vaughn, Editor Redstone RocketSeptember 5, 2008
For military retirees, Redstone Arsenal is the place to be this Friday and Saturday.
It's the annual Retiree Appreciation Day. This is the second time in its 37-year history the event will be held on two days.
"This is the opportunity we provide to them to come to a one-stop shop," retirement services officer Cindy Anderson said, "where they can get everything from ID cards to vehicle registration and information (on pay and benefits)."
The event is co-sponsored by the Garrison and the Retiree Advisory Council.
"The purpose of the Retiree Appreciation Day is to get people aware of their benefits," retired Col. Michael Gray, officer co-chairman for the retiree advisory council, said. The group's enlisted co-chairman is retired Sgt. Maj. Doug Patrick.
"There's very few installations that have two-day RADs, and we're one of them," Gray said. "We traditionally have about 3,000 attendees."
Stephen Welch, branch chief for transition and separations for the Army Reserve Component (including Reserve and National Guard) under the Adjutant General Directorate-West in St. Louis, is sending one of the briefers, Sheila Dorsey, supervisor for Army Reserve Component retirements. "And she'll be providing anybody that's interested information concerning Army Reserve Component retirement - that's done normally at age 60; the recent change to the retirement age for mobilized Soldiers; the retirement point accounting system; and the Reserve Component survivor benefit plan," Welch said. "She'll also answer any other question a retiree may have."
"I think it's a great thing," Welch, a retired lieutenant colonel, said of Retiree Appreciation Day. "All the retirement services offices are tasked to do this at least once a year."
Welch sees two main benefits from the event. "One, certainly showing appreciation to the Soldier and Soldier's family," he said. "And two, making the Soldier aware of benefits to which they're entitled. This is particularly important for the Reserve Component."
On Friday, the event will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Officers and Civilians Club. There is a pay-as-you-go breakfast served from 7-9 a.m. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with a German buffet from 5-8 p.m.
An Information Fair will be held at the club until 1 p.m. Throughout the day, special MWR activities will be held at various locations across Redstone Arsenal. Morale Welfare and Recreation is offering a 15 percent discount to all military retirees on activities and food purchased Sept. 5-8. A coupon is available in the Retiree Bulletin.
Representatives from numerous organizations, including Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Combat-Related Special Compensation, Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, and Combat-Injury Pay Divisions, Transitions and Separations Branch, Human Resources Command-St. Louis will hold briefings and be available to answer questions.
On Saturday, the event begins with free breakfast at 6:30 a.m. in the Sparkman Center Cafeteria. Formal opening remarks start at 8 a.m. and speakers are scheduled throughout the day in Bob Jones Auditorium. Activities will last until approximately 3 p.m.
The "county fair" will provide information and services, such as medical screenings and tests provided by Fox Army Health Center, ID cards provided by the Human Resources Directorate, Military Personnel Office, legal services provided by the Judge Advocate General's Office, changes and updates to retiree pay accounts by DFAS, etc.
The Post Exchange, Commissary, SATO Travel, and Morale Welfare and Recreation will donate numerous door prizes. Lunch will be served in the Sparkman Center Cafeteria.
The Post Exchange and Commissary will be open to serve retirees and their family members during and after the activities.
Military retirees can learn about special compensation--Expanded eligibility topic of briefing
Col. John Sackett and associates will attend the Redstone Arsenal Retiree Appreciation Day. On Friday, they will be at the Officers and Civilians Club from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will be at the Sparkman Complex on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is time planned for briefing and for question and answers. Attendees will hear about how Combat-Related Special Compensation benefits eligible medical or Temporary Early Retirement Act retirees.
Sackett is chief of the Combat-Related Special Compensation/Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance division from the Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Va.
Medical or Temporary Early Retirement Act retirees may now be eligible for tax-free compensation through the Combat-Related Special Compensation program, as a result of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act that was signed into law Jan. 28.
Enacted by Congress on Dec. 2, 2002, CRSC provides eligible military retirees with "combat related" Veterans Affairs-rated injuries with monthly compensation replacing the VA-disability offset, thereby enabling them to receive full military retirement pay and VA-disability compensation. Until now, CRSC has only been available to retirees with 20 or more years of service. The recently approved legislation expands eligibility to those who were medically retired, effective Jan. 1, 2008.
Eligible retirees include those who meet three basic criteria: are receiving retired pay, have their military retired pay reduced by VA-disability payments (VA waiver), and have a 10 percent or greater VA-rated disability that can be linked to a combat-related event through official military documentation.
For a retiree's injury to qualify as being combat-related, it must be a result of training that simulates war, hazardous duty, instrumentality of war, or armed conflict.
Military retirees can verify that they meet the CRSC eligibility requirements by supplying copies of all VA-rating decisions, DD214s and medical documentation stating "how" the injury is linked to a combat-related event.
For more information about CRSC, including detailed information about the expansion of the program to medical and TERA retirees, eligibility requirements and claim submission instructions, retirees can visit the Army's CRSC web site at www.crsc.army.mil, e-mail email@example.com, call 1-866-281-3254 or visit the Retiree Appreciation Day. Retirement services officer Cindy Anderson can be reached at 876-2022; or call Barbara Moudy, chief of transition, at 313-6481. (Garrison release)