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AR 600-8-4 Line of Duty Policy, Procedures, and Investigations (4 September 2008)

Comments: To view or download the complete regulation, click on the link to it in the box above these comments.


1-1. Purpose
This regulation prescribes policies and procedures for investigating the circumstances of disease, injury, or death of a soldier. It provides standards and considerations used in determining line of duty (LD) status.

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2–1. General
Line of duty determinations are essential for protecting the interest of both the individual concerned and the U.S. Government where service is interrupted by injury, disease, or death. Soldiers who are on active duty (AD) for a period of more than 30 days will not lose their entitlement to medical and dental care, even if the injury or disease is found to have been incurred not in LD and/or because of the soldier’s intentional misconduct or willful negligence, Section 1074, Title 10, United States Code (10 USC 1074). A person who becomes a casualty because of his or her intentional misconduct or willful negligence can never be said to be injured, diseased, or deceased in LD. Such a person stands to lose substantial benefits as a consequence of his or her actions; therefore, it is critical that the decision to categorize injury, disease, or death as not in LD only be made after following the deliberate, ordered procedures described in this regulation.

2–2. Reasons for conducting line of duty investigations
The following are reasons for conducting LD investigations:
a. Extension of enlistment.
An enlisted soldier who is unable to perform duties for more than one day because of his or her intemperate use of drugs or alcohol or because of disease or injury resulting from the soldier’s misconduct is liable after returning to duty to serve for a period that, when added to the period that he or she served before the absence from duty, amounts to the term for which he or she was enlisted or inducted (10 USC 972).
b. Longevity and retirement multiplier.
Eligibility for increases in pay because of longevity and the amount of retirement pay to which a soldier may be entitled depends on the soldier’s cumulative years of creditable service. An enlisted soldier who is unable to perform duties for more than one day because of his or her intemperate use of drugs or alcohol or because of disease or injury resulting from misconduct is not entitled to include such periods in computing creditable service in accordance with the Department of Defense Financial Management Regulation (DODFMR).
c. Forfeiture of pay.
Any soldier on AD who is absent from regular duties for a continuous period of more than one day because of disease that is directly caused by and immediately following his or her intemperate use of drugs or alcohol is not entitled to pay for the period of that absence. Pay is not forfeited for absence from duty caused by injuries. Pay is not forfeited for disease not directly caused by and immediately following the intemperate use of drugs and alcohol.
d. Disability retirement and severance pay.
For soldiers who sustain permanent disabilities while on AD to be eligible to receive certain retirement and severance pay benefits, they must meet requirements of the applicable statutes. One of these requirements is that the disability must not have resulted from the soldier’s "intentional misconduct or willful neglect" and must not have been "incurred during a period of unauthorized absence" (10 USC 1201, 1203,
1204, 1206, and 1207). Physical Evaluation Board determinations are made independently and are not controlled by LD determinations. However, entitlement to disability compensation may depend on those facts that have been officially recorded and are on file within the Department of the Army (DA). This includes reports and investigations submitted in accordance with this regulation.
e. Medical and dental care for soldiers on duty other than AD for a period of more than 30 days. A soldier of the National Guard or U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) is entitled to hospital benefits, pensions, and other compensation, similar to that for soldiers of the Active Army for injury, illness, or disease incurred in LD, under the following
conditions prescribed by law (10 USC 1074a):
(1) while performing AD for a period of 30 days or less;
(2) while performing inactive duty training;
(3) while performing service on funeral honors duty under 10 USC 12503 or 32 USC 115;
(4) while traveling directly to or from the place at which that soldier is to perform or has performed—
    (a) active duty for a period of 30 days or less;
    (b) inactive duty training; or
    (c) service on funeral honors duty under 10 USC 12503 or 32 USC 115;
(5) while remaining overnight immediately before the commencement of inactive duty training, or while remaining overnight, between successive periods of inactive duty training, at or in the vicinity of the site of the inactive duty training; or
(6) while remaining overnight immediately before serving on funeral honors duty under 10 USC 12503 or 32 USC 115 at or in the vicinity of the place at which the soldier was to so serve, if the place is outside reasonable commuting distance from the soldier’s residence.
f. Benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA).
In determining whether a veteran or his or her survivors or family members are eligible for certain benefits, the DVA makes its own determinations with respect to LD. These determinations rest upon the evidence available. Usually this consists of those facts that have been officially recorded and are on file within DA, including reports and LD investigations submitted in accordance with the provisions of this regulation. Statutes governing these benefits generally require that disabling injury or death be service connected, which means that the disability was incurred or aggravated in LD (38 USC 101). The statutory criteria for making such determinations are in 38 USC 105.

2–3. Requirements for line of duty investigations
Line of duty investigations are conducted essentially to arrive at a determination of whether misconduct or negligence was involved in the disease, injury, or death and, if so, to what degree. Depending on the circumstances of the case, an LD investigation may or may not be required to make this determination.
a.The LD determination is presumed to be "LD YES" without an investigation—
(1) In the case of disease, except as described in paragraphs c (1) and (8) below.
(2) In the case of injuries clearly incurred as a result of enemy action or attack by terrorists.
(3) In the case of death due to natural causes or while a passenger in a common commercial carrier or military
aircraft.
b. In all other cases of death or injury, except injuries so slight as to be clearly of no lasting significance (for example, superficial lacerations or abrasions or mild heat injuries), an LD investigation must be conducted.
c. Investigations can be conducted informally by the chain of command where no misconduct or negligence is indicated, or formally where an investigating officer is appointed to conduct an investigation into suspected misconduct
or negligence. A formal LD investigation must be conducted in the following circumstances:
(1) Injury, disease, death, or medical condition that occurs under strange or doubtful circumstances or is apparently
due to misconduct or willful negligence.
(2) Injury or death involving the abuse of alcohol or other drugs.
(3) Self-inflicted injuries or possible suicide.
(4) Injury or death incurred while AWOL.
(5) Injury or death that occurs while an individual was en route to final acceptance in the Army.
(6) Death of a USAR or ARNG soldier while participating in authorized training or duty.
(7) Injury or death of a USAR or ARNG soldier while traveling to or from authorized training or duty.
(8) When a USAR or ARNG soldier serving on an AD tour of 30 days or less is disabled due to disease.
(9) In connection with an appeal of an unfavorable determination of abuse of alcohol or other drugs (para 4–10 a).
(10) When requested or directed for other cases.

2–4. Informal LD investigations
Documentation for an informal LD investigation typically consists of DA Form 2173 completed by the MTF and the unit commander and approved by the appointing authority, State AG, or higher authority. The final determination of an informal LD investigation can result in a determination of "in LD" only, except as provided in paragraph 4–8(c)(1). (See chap 3, sect I, for a detailed discussion of the informal LD investigation.)

2–5. Formal LD investigations
A formal LD investigation is a detailed investigation that normally begins with DA Form 2173 completed by the MTF and annotated by the unit commander as requiring a formal LD investigation. The appointing authority, on receipt of the DA Form 2173, appoints an investigating officer who completes DD Form 261 and appends appropriate statements and other documentation to support the determination, which is submitted to the GCMCA for approval. (See chap 3, sect II, for a detailed treatment of the formal LD investigation.) ...