Another gaffe in retro pay project

By Tom Philpott: Syndicated columnist

As many as 39,000 disabled military retirees have been left out of the VA Retro Pay program by mistake, say officials at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) who are calculating the amount of money owed.

This latest and perhaps most serious gaffe in the problem-plagued VA Retro Pay project was uncovered after DFAS received a rising number of complaints from retirees. None of them had been screened for retroactive payment, but follow-up calculations confirmed each had been underpaid.

VA Retro payments have ranged from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. All recipients have served in the military for 20 or more years and all have disabilities that qualified them for one of two relatively new entitlements: Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC), which began in 2003, or Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP), which started in 2004.

The VA Retro Pay project made lump-sum back payments to retirees in September 2006.