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Defence Disability Pension: What Are The Benefits, Eligibility And Recent Changes?

The government also offers service, family, and liberalised family pensions, besides the monthly disability assistance for the welfare of retired armed personnel.

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Outlook Money
November 30, 2023
Old-Age Pensions For BPL

Old-Age Pensions For BPL

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) grants monthly disability pensions to the personnel of the three wings of the Indian armed forces—army, air force and the navy—who have retired on medical grounds due to permanent wounds or impairments during service for their financial welfare which is termed as Defence Disability Pension.

The disability pension is governed under the Pension Regulations for the Army (PRA), 1961, revised as PRA in 2008, Pension Regulations for the Air Force, 1961, and Navy (Pension) Regulation, 1964. They also deal with entitlement rules for casualty pensionary awards, 2008.

The MoD also offers service, family, and liberalised family pensions, besides the disability monthly assistance for the welfare of retired armed personnel.

Defence Disability Pension

The disability pension is divided into two parts: service and impairment components. It is awarded to those who have been “invalided out” due to a disability “aggravated” by military service. The service component of the pension comprises 50 per cent, and the disability part includes 30 per cent of the last drawn salary for 100 per cent disability. However, for a ‘minor’ injury, the disability element is considered proportionally. According to the MoD rules, there will be no payments for a disability assessed lower than 20 per cent. However, if unsatisfied with the payments, they can appeal twice before an appellate committee.

For example, if a person is denied entitlement, he can submit an appeal before the record office or the service headquarters within six months. The Appellate Committee for First Appeal will take up the case as per the provisions of “Entitlement Rules for Casualty Pensionary Awards, 2008”. The committee will decide the case by consensus. If the person is not satisfied with the decision in the first appeal, he may file a second appeal within six months of the decision.

Recent Changes:

The government has recently announced new entitlement rules (ER) for disability pensions to protect the interests of armed forces personnel. The disability element has been renamed as impairment relief for personnel not “invalidated out” due to disabilities and continue to serve. Clarifying the change, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Anil Chauhan said in October that it will not affect the entitlement or the quantum, nor will it put the armed forces at a disadvantage compared to their civilian counterparts. The revised ER will apply to personnel who retired after September 21, 2023, with no retrospective application.

Some changes include higher emoluments. For instance, it has increased the payments for frostbite cases from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. It has also gone up for amputation cases. The new rules are based on the recommendations of a study involving the three services. However, there is no change in the entitlement for any category of compensation for death or disability.

General Chauhan said that in the earlier rules, there was a lot of incentive to claim disability and that almost 40 per cent of officers and 18 per cent of personnel below officer rank who retire yearly are drawing disability pensions. Hence, the CDS said the new ER looks at what is attributable to “military service” and “aggravated” by military service.

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