Temporary Disability Retired (TDR) service members are those who have a medical condition that is not yet stable enough to receive a permanent rating under the provisions of 10 U.S. Code § 1202 and § 1205. “Temporary” does not imply that the condition will go away, but instead indicates that the patient will remain on a Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) until a more permanent solution can be found.
TDRL members are withdrawn from the TDRL if either:
(1) the disability has stabilized and become permanent, or
(2) the member is fit enough to return to active service.
During the statutory term in which you may remain on the TDRL, you may be required to take these review exams more than once.
How To Get a Spot on the TDRL List
The Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) is a process that allows military members to retire with full benefits after they have been determined to be medically unfit for continued duty. The TDRL is an option for service members who are not eligible for retirement due to their length of service, but who are unable to continue serving in their current capacity because of a medical condition.
To be placed on the TDRL, service members must have a diagnosis from a military doctor that states they are medically unfit for duty and meet other eligibility requirements.
Is There a Waiting Period for the TDRL?
Members put on the TDRL prior to January 1, 2017, had a five-year term during which their cases were to be examined and resolved. All cases after January 1, 2017, however, will be decided within a three-year time frame. In both cases, most instances are resolved before the review period is over.
What Must Be Done Once on the TDRL?
To begin, you must enroll in both Tricare and the VA health care system on the same day you are placed on the TDRL to assure continuity of care.
Second, you must be visited at least three to four times a year and adhere to any treatment programs given for each ailment for which you have been placed on the TDRL. This includes requesting and receiving from your pharmacist updated printouts proving that you have filled your prescriptions on time. If you aren’t getting therapy, it may be assumed you’re no longer bothered by your disease or injury. As a result, you should always obtain copies of your records to demonstrate that you require continuous medical care for each disease that you have.
Third, if you have been placed on the TDRL in accordance with the procedures provided in 38 CFR Part 4.129 for mental health problems, such as trauma-induced conditions, within six months after being placed on the TDRL, you will almost certainly be examined by a physician.
This means that there can be no pause in treatment, and medication must be given each time. A person with severe PTSD who needs only medicine, and no counseling, will likely have their 50% PTSD rating decreased if they have not seen a physician and/or therapist in several months. As a result, no treatment interruptions are permitted, regardless of how therapy is delivered (in person, over the phone, or by video).
What Is Next After TDRL?
After TDRL, if a service member is still deemed unfit for service, he/she is:
- if eligible (i.e., 20 years of service), granted a long-term retirement;
- if he/she has less than 20 years of service, he/she will be placed on the PDRL (Permanent Disability Retired List).
- if the level of disability is less than 30%, he/she may be eligible for medical separation and disability severance compensation.
Payments are paid monthly. According to 10 U.S. Code 1401, a service member on the TDRL receives the greater of:
(1) 2.5 percent x base pay x years of service, or
(2) base pay x disability percent.