The term drill pay refers to the monetary benefits a reservist or member of the National Guard receives for performing active or inactive duty training.
VA Form 21-8951, Notice of Waiver of VA Compensation or Pension to Receive Military Pay and Allowances, which is discussed elsewhere in this topic, uses the terms military pay and training pay instead of drill pay.
b. Prohibition Against Concurrent Receipt of Drill Pay and VA Benefits
10 U.S.C. 12316 and 38 U.S.C. 5304(c) prohibit the concurrent receipt of drill pay and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability compensation or pension.
Veterans who perform active or inactive duty training must choose the benefit they prefer and waive the other.
Most Veterans choose to receive drill pay instead of disability compensation or pension because drill pay is typically the greater benefit. These Veterans must waive their VA benefits for the same number of days they received drill pay.
Concurrent receipt of VA benefits and the subsistence allowance that a Veteran in the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (SROTC) might receive is not prohibited. Only concurrent receipt of VA benefits and pay the Veteran receives for active or inactive duty training in the SROTC is prohibited.
Exception: According to VAOPGCPREC 10-90, a reservist or member of the National Guard may concurrently receive VA benefits and the “temporary disability compensation” described in 37 U.S.C. 204(g), (h) and (i).
References: For more information about the prohibition against concurrent receipt of active service pay and VA compensation or pension, see
38 CFR 3.654, and
38 CFR 3.700(a)(1).
c. Process for Identifying Veterans Who Concurrently Received Drill Pay and VA Benefits
The table below describes how VA identifies Veterans who concurrently received drill pay and VA benefits:
At the end of each fiscal year, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) sends an electronic file to the Hines Information Technology Center (ITC) that identifies Veterans who received both drill pay and VA disability compensation or pension during that fiscal year.
Note: If an interruption occurs in obtaining this data from DMDC, the file might include drill pay data for one or more prior years.
Before processing the file, the Hines ITC updates the corporate record of each Veteran to reflect the number of days he/she received drill pay during the prior fiscal year.
The update is visible in the DRILL PAY PROFILE field of the DRILL PAY tab under the AWARD ADJUSTMENTS screen.
If DMDC sends drill pay data for multiple fiscal years, only the data pertaining to the most recent fiscal year appears in the DRILL PAY PROFILE field.
Reference: For more information about viewing drill pay data in VETSNET Awards, see the VETSNET Awards Handbook.
The Hines ITC
generates a VA Form 21-8951 for each Veteran identified in the electronic file
sends the form to each Veteran for completion
uploads a copy of the form into each Veteran’s electronic claims folder (eFolder), and
establishes a diary in each Veteran’s corporate record to control for return of the form within 60 days.
Note: VA considered the completion of VA Form 21-8951 a one-time waiver of drill pay from 1989 until 1995, when it began requiring Veterans to complete the form annually.
References: For more information about
data the Hines ITC provides for each Veteran on VA Form 21-8951, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.d, and
processing VA Form 21-8951, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.3.
d. Information Contained on VA Form 21-8951 From the Hines ITC
check the box next to the sentence that reads: I elect to waive VA benefits for the days indicated in order to retain my training pay.
Important: If the Veteran declares the actual number of training days is less than the number the Hines ITC printed on VA Form 21-8951, the Veteran’s unit commander must sign the form.
Check the box next to the sentence that reads: I received no military pay and allowances during the fiscal year(s) indicated on the front of this form.
Check the box next to the sentence that reads: I elect to waive military pay and allowances for the days indicated in order to retain my VA compensation or pension.
f. Use of VA Form 21-8951-2
VA typically learns a Veteran has received drill pay through the data match described in M21-1, Part III, Subpart v, 4.C.1.c. However, a Veteran may, on his/her own initiative, notify VA of his/her receipt (or anticipated receipt) of drill pay, and whether he/she chooses to waive VA benefits or drill pay, by completing and submitting VA Form 21-8951-2, Notice of Waiver of VA Compensation or Pension to Receive Military Pay and Allowances.
Note: VA Form 21-8951-2 is essentially a blank version of the Hines ITC-generated VA Form 21-8951.
Important: Although VA does not require a Veteran’s unit commander to sign VA Form 21-8951 unless the Veteran asserts the actual number of training days is less than the number the Hines ITC printed on the form, VA always requires a Veteran’s unit commander to sign VA Form 21-8951-2.