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Policy change benefits disabled Airmen

by Daniel Elkins
Air Force Personnel Center Public Affairs

9/4/2009 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) -- A policy change by Air Force Personnel Center officials here now allows some Airmen retiring with less than 20 years active service to receive retirement certificates.

A change to Air Force Instruction 36-3203, Service Retirements, authorizes Airmen with less than 20 years of active service who are retired permanently for disability to be issued Department of Defense Form 363AF, Certificate of Retirement. Previously, the policy limited presentation of certain retirement documents to members with 20 or more years of active service.

"The rule set had always been 20 years to get the certificate without a good look at those on the permanently disabled retirement list," said Col. William Foote, the Air Force Personnel Center director of personnel services. "However, to be fair to those Airmen who are impacted by conditions beyond their control, it's only right that we recognize their honorable service."

The change in policy is a result of feedback received through the Air Force Wounded Warrior Care Program, according to Maj. Juan Garcia, the AFPC Retirements Branch chief. The program stood up to provide policy and overarching support to wounded, seriously ill or injured Airmen, their families and families of the fallen.

"Given today's realities, we've found that there are a lot of people who have done great things for their country, and we want to take care of them," Major Garcia said.

He added that the policy change is one of the ways the Air Force continues to honor the sacrifices of its wounded, ill and injured Airmen.

Further, the policy change authorizes the presentation of the presidential certificate of appreciation and issuance of Air Force Form 1344, Certificate of Appreciation, to spouses of members with less than 20 years of active service who are permanently retired for disability.

For those Airmen who are on the temporarily disabled retirement list, this change does not apply since their retired status is temporary, and they could continue to serve.

For more information about this change, visit and type "retirement" into the search engine or call the 24-hour Total Force Service Center at (800) 525-0102.

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