October 29, 2008 – Wounded servicemembers whose combat-related injuries are diagnosed after they return home can keep their special pays while hospitalized, Defense officials said Tuesday.
The move is one of the major changes that are part of the Pay and Allowance Continuation Program, or PAC, which allows wounded servicemembers to continue to collect special pays after they are hospitalized.
Previously, wounded servicemembers’ injuries had to be diagnosed in the combat zone for them to receive the compensation.
Now servicemembers are eligible for PAC if they for injuries that were not detected in the combat zone, such as traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“In the event that you return from the combat zone and experience an injury that you were not hospitalized for previously, the PAC is payable,” said Tim Fowlkes, assistant director of military compensation.
In May, PAC replaced an earlier program that paid wounded servicemembers $430 per month to cover their hardship duty pay, hostile fire pay and the incidental expense portion of their temporary duty per diem allowance, officials said.
PAC expands the compensation for wounded servicemembers to include other special pays to which they are entitled, such as jump pay and dive pay, said Virginia Penrod, director of compensation.
The program also covers troops injured by hostile fire in injuries not deemed combat zones, such as South and Central America, officials said.
In another change, wounded servicemembers may receive PAC for up to a year after they are hospitalized, with further extensions possible, Penrod said.
Under the old program, wounded servicemembers lost the extra money as soon as their Traumatic Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance benefits kicked in, prompting some servicemembers to avoid taking TSGLI, she said.
Wounded servicemembers who were compensated under the old program were transitioned to PAC on May 15, Penrod said. The program is not retroactive.