Why? Care for a Covered Servicemember with a Serious Injury or Illness….Part 2

OK, as my summer vacation continues (wait, I’m not really on vacation but I’m not writing these either) here is post number 2 from Jarrod.

We left of just as we were about to discuss what a “serious injury or illness” means with respect to covered servicemembers. Let’s dig in.

(c) A serious injury or illness means:

(1) In the case of a current member of the Armed Forces, including a member of the National Guard or Reserves,  an injury or illness that was incurred by the covered servicemember in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces or that existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces, and that may render the member medically unfit to perform the duties of the member’s office, grade, rank or rating.

29 CFR § 825.127(c)

So, in the case of current armed forces, this is pretty straightforward. A serious injury or illness is one caused or aggravated by active duty work, and renders the servicemember medically unfit to perform their duties.

(2)  In the case of a covered veteran, means an injury or illness that was incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces (or existed before the beginning of the member’s active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces) and manifested itself before or after the member became a veteran, and is:

(i) a continuation of a serious injury or illness that was incurred or aggravated when the covered veteran was a member of the Armed Forces and rendered the servicemember unable to perform the duties of the servicemember’s office, grade, rank, or rating; or

(ii) a physical or mental condition for which the covered veteran has received a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Service-Related Disability Rating (VASRD) of 50 percent or greater, and such VASRD rating is based, in whole or in part, on the condition precipitating the need for military caregiver leave; or

(iii) a physical or mental condition that substantially impairs the covered veteran’s ability to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of a disability or disabilities related to military service, or would do so absent treatment; or

(iv) an injury, including a psychological injury, on the basis of which the covered veteran has been enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers.

29 CFR § 825.127(c)

Alright … a lot more words, but not necessarily more complicated. A serious injury or illness for a veteran is still one caused or aggravated by active duty work, but must also meet one of four other requirements instead of just the one for current servicemembers. None of these additional requirements are too complicated from a legal standpoint, so there’s no reason to spend too much time on them. It is worth noting that (ii) and (iv) will require decisions by Veterans Affairs, whereas (i) and (ii) do not require Veterans Affairs involvement.