There are many different reasons you may need to apply for medical or disability retirement from the military. In general, there isn't a long application process, but you will need to be evaluated by a medical professional in order to prove that you should receive retirement funds for medical reasons.
For most traditional medical retirement programs, you must have been working for the military for 20 years or more or have a service-related VA disability rating of 50 percent or more. If you don't meet these requirements, you can still obtain other forms of military medical retirement.
Temporary and Full Retirement
You can get temporary early retirement from the military for medical reasons if you haven't yet served in the military for 20 years, according to The Navy Times. All you have to do to obtain temporary early retirement is visit a doctor to determine whether you have a disability, and then after receiving benefits, visit the doctor every 18 months or so to check on the status of your disability. If you qualify for temporary early retirement, you will automatically receive retirement benefits until the doctor decides you are well enough to return to the military or you qualify for a traditional retirement plan. To obtain full medical military retirement, you go through a medical evaluation with military medical center officials. Then, a board is selected to determine if you should remain in the military or begin receiving retirement pay and benefits. The Army Times states that if you do receive full benefits, these usually last for life.
According to the Military Benefits website, if you qualify for retirement and you need to be on disability, you may qualify for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP). This is when you receive both regular military retirement benefits and VA disability compensation. It was illegal to receive both benefits at the same time until 2004 but is now possible and accepted. There is absolutely no application process for CRDP; if you are retired from the military and have a service-related VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher, you will automatically receive monthly checks for your retirement and disability from the VA.