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MSPB Rules Favorably on Combat Benefits

A new ruling from the Merit Systems Protection Board will make it easier for federal employees who suffered combat-related injuries to receive more disability compensation.

The law firm Tully Rinckey said July 21 that William Barth wanted to receive Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) benefits, but to be eligible he first needed his military service time to be subtracted from his civil service annuity calculation.

He asked the Office of Personnel Management in October 2008 for such a separation, but OPM ignored his request for more than a year.

After Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., contacted OPM on his behalf, the agency sent him a one-paragraph denial, and later denied Barth’s request for reconsideration.

MSPB on July 14 found OPM did not justify its denial of Barth’s request, and ordered OPM to separate his periods of military and civil service in calculating his Federal Employees Retirement System annuity. This would allow Barth to complete the requirements to get the combat-related injury benefit, and he would receive all retroactive payments he is owed, assuming OPM does not successfully appeal the decision.

“The ruling in this case will not only allow…Mr. Barth to apply for CRSC monthly payments for his combat-related injuries, but will allow thousands of veterans suffering from combat-related injuries to file the same request for separation,” Barth’s attorney, Michael Macomber, said in a statement.


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