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DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook

Image of the cover of the Wounded, III, and/or Injured Compensation and Benefits Handbook

What is the Compensation and Benefits (C&B) Handbook?

The C&B Handbook is a reference guide of programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members and the people in their support networks. It is a living document, updated annually by the Department of Defense (DoD) in collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs (VA), Labor, and Education, as well as the Social Security Administration and the U.S. Military Services.

How is the C&B Handbook useful to Service members and their family members?

Navigating recovery, reintegration, or transition can be confusing and overwhelming. There are a multitude of government and non-government resources available, but it can be difficult to know where to begin. The C&B Handbook serves as a starting point for Service members and their support networks to find government programs and resources they can use during this journey. It provides a centralized location that briefly introduces and summarizes programs and resources, while providing links for further information.


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What’s new in this edition?

  • Updates to programs and benefits that changed in 2018 such as DoD disability compensation, the Transition Assistance Program, the Computer/Electronic Accommodation Program, and VA education and mental health benefits
  • Changes to the Medical Evaluation Board and Physical Evaluation Board processes in the Disability Evaluation Systems (DES) (Chapter 5)
  • Instructions for calculating DoD disability compensation under the Blended Retirement System (Chapter 6)
  • Added Survivor Benefits chapter (Chapter 8)
    • After the unfortunate occurrence of a Service member’s death, his or her family members may be eligible for various federal benefits, privileges, and entitlements. This chapter summarizes the resources and programs available to Service members’ survivors, including death gratuity, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, Survivors Pension, housing and relocation options, education benefits, medical and dental coverage, burial benefits, and more.
  • Updated information on TRICARE benefits and health plans (Appendix A)

What programs and benefits are available to wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members?

As summarized throughout the C&B Handbook, there are many programs and resources available to wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members, such as personalized recovery support, mental health care, legal assistance, DoD and VA disability processing, disability severance pay or disability retirement, Social Security Administration disability payments, VA Home Loan Guaranty and other VA benefits, tuition assistance, and more.

What resources are there for caregivers and family support networks?

Chapter 3 of the C&B Handbook provides an extensive list of organizations, military support programs, and other resources which help families and caregivers through the complexities of supporting a Service member during recovery. Examples include:

  • Military and Family Support Centers, located on nearly every base/installation, which assist Service members and their families with maintain­ing healthy relationships and lifestyles, strengthening interpersonal competencies and problem-solving skills, and managing finances;
  • Military and Family Life Counselor Program, which supports Service members, their families, and survivors with face-to-face non-medical counseling services worldwide; and
  • TRICARE Respite Care Program, which provides a “break” for primary caregivers who have been caring for an ill or injured Service member at home and assisting with activities of daily living.

Who do I contact if I have questions?

Each Military Service branch has personnel dedicated to answering compensation and benefits questions. For Service-specific assistance, please contact the appropriate wounded warrior program via the following links:

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DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook


The purpose of this handbook is to provide Service members and their support networks with a reference guide to answer some of the most pressing questions that arise for wounded, ill, and/or injured Service members.

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