Army Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) Experience

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), my husband and I became more familiar with this than we ever planned to.

Remember that this is our experience, and as with everything in the Army, the experience can vary greatly from one soldier to the next.

During my husband’s first deployment (of four that he completed), he began to have some respiratory issues.

When he returned to the states, he noted his difficulties in his post-deployment evaluation. His respiratory condition only worsened, and to make a long story short, he was moved out of his MOS of 11Bravo to a less physically intensive position.

At this point, the BN surgeon recommended that he begin a medical board. My husband did not want to do this and fought to avoid it. With the support of his 1st SGT and several other higher-ups, he was allowed to avoid the med board and serve in his unit in a different capacity.

After his fourth deployment, his condition had still not improved, and his ETS date was now less than a year away. He was on various medications (and still is), so the BN surgeon recommended a med board again. So in his words, “we could at least try to get his medications paid for,” as the running total for them was more than $300/month.

He reluctantly agreed to start the process. He went through a variety of testing, physical evaluations, etc. There was a great deal of paperwork that had to be processed.

The process started at the end of October, and his packet was not ready to go to the board until March. After completing his paperwork, his packet had to be reviewed by three physicians before going to the board.

They also met with him, and he had the opportunity to either agree with their findings or disagree and state why. He agreed, and his packet was sent to Texas to be examined by the informal board.

From the time they received the packet in Texas until we received a decision was about 48 hours. It was remarkably fast and much quicker than either of us anticipated. He was called in again to discuss the findings and the next steps.

Until this point, we had no idea that the option of retirement existed. But we quickly found out that it did. He was given a rating of 30%, which qualified him for retirement.

Because his condition was not yet rated as stable, he was placed on the TDRL (Temporary Disability Retirement List).

When he accepted the decision, he had to be out-processed by the Army within 90 days. We pushed it until the latest possible time, and he was officially placed on TDRL and removed from active duty in June. So the entire process for us (from the beginning of the med board until discharge) was about 9 months.

The process and length of time can vary greatly. While the main steps are the same, the amount of time it takes to get from one step to the next can be drastically different for each soldier. We were told that orthopedic cases take the longest to process.

I have known some who have been out-processed in as little as three months and some who are still in the process after 18 months.

I am by no means an expert on the process. In my quest to learn as much as possible and through others reading my blog and emailing me, I found a message board dedicated to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) process. It can be found at www.pebforum.com.

It has a wealth of information and is run by a former military service member who represented MEB cases while he worked with JAG. He is also on the board quite a bit and has been very helpful in answering questions. Check it out.

If your soldier is going through the MEB process, please email me your story so it can be posted. You can leave out any identifying information if you wish. It is always helpful to be able to read a variety of experiences rather than just having to depend on the experience of one person.

author avatar
Stacey Abler
Stacey's husband joined the Army in 2003 and was medically retired after four deployments. She enjoys sharing her experiences and expertise around Army life while continuing to support Army spouses and families in their military journey.

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44 Comments

  1. Stacey-
    I’m glad it was some what a quick medboard for your husband. Mine has been going through that for 2 and a half years now! Lucky for him that I have kept all his medical docs and all his line of duty forms cause without that he would have nothing! One thing I do have to say to the military member just starting out is to KEEP all medical files in a 3 ring binder.

  2. Im a SGT in the army i have been in for 9yrs im stationed in germany but im going through the new MED board process I was diagnosis with type 2 diabetes but im taking meds for it do you think they will find me fit for duty or not because im hearing some people saying they will. I notice ever since i found out that i have diabetes my weight has been go up and down, having problems sleeping at night, my knees starting to hurt more and more. I have been down range 3 times do you think i have a legitament shot of getting med board out of the military.

  3. I enjoyed reading your story. Im in the MEB process myself. I was found unfit for duty. I provided the MEB with all the information the needed to help my case to stay in. I was hurt down range (my eyes) but my doctor said that i could get a waiver to wear my contacts and my strss fractions have healed. They did the surgery to help my ankle. Now im waiting on my ratings to come back whic is around 45 to 60 days. Ive been in this process for about 9 months now and my reenlistment window is available. If you could be please help me with some information about the different types of options that i will have.. Thank you so much,

    Latonya Green

    1. Latonya- I can only speak for my husbands situation but he can only extend for 6 months at a time since in Med process. We have finally heard back that 1 out of 3 lods have been approved so now just waiting on the other 2. I was wrong on how long it has taken to get this far in my previous post but its been 3.5 tears instead of 2.5. What Med board is saying is that after his lods get approved he will have to have atleast 1 year left on his contract, then meet with Med docs in floedia and then the physical disability evaluation board after that in Georgia or Kentucky. Every case is different because of how much is wrong with that individual. The best advice I can give is to make sure you have all your visits to doctor (for the progress notes if with the va ). For a normal doc ask for.treatment records and put in a binder cause your going to need them!

    2. Well you are fortunate…I was notified about the MEB Board process March 12, 2012 and am still waiting for the Georgia, VA to determine Medical retirement OR disability paid. It is so frustrating since I have been collecting VA disability since November 2012…I have had 3 compensation and pension physicals…ridiculous and frustrating

  4. MEDICAL EVALUATION OFFICE
    Purpose of Briefing
    To provide an overview of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) Program

    To inform Soldiers and their family members of the program
    MEB Office Staff
    Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officers (PEBLOs)
    Suzanne Belladone
    Craig Dickman
    Cameron Hirtz
    Mary Hogan-Rijos
    Brenna Langdon
    Ginny Randazzo
    Megan Wickham

    Colleen Campbell- Supervisor

    MEB Office Hours
    Normal Business Hours:
    0730-0430
    CLOSED on Federal Holidays

    Fax number: 914-788-4861
    Phone number: ( 914) 737-4400

    MEB Office Address
    Agenda
    Purpose of the IDES Program

    Basic Terminology

    Responsibilities of your PEBLO
    and the VA MSC

    Our Mission

    MEB PROCESS

    PEB PROCESS

    DISABILITY RATINGS

    MISC INFO

    Our Mission
    To provide you and your family the best care while going through the Medical and Physical Evaluation Board Evaluation process

    To provide you with information that will allow you to make informed decisions throughout the MEB/PEB process

    Based on the fact that your military medical care provider has identified a potentially military unfitting medical condition(s) you are being referred to the joint DoD/DVA Disability Evaluation System (DES) process
    This is a new disability process that brings together the resources of the two departments to evaluate, following a single comprehensive medical examination, your referred medical conditions and those conditions you may claim. The process is intended to quickly deliver to you a finding regarding your fitness for continued military service and if determined to be unfit provide you with a single sourced disability rating determined by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs

    During the IDES you will be counseled on the process and advised how you can contribute to the development of your case and what your rights and responsibilities are when presented with the results of this disability evaluation process
    The immediate benefits to you include the fact that you will NOT have to undergo examination and evaluation through two separate systems and you will experience a smoother transition to the benefits and compensation available through the DVA immediately upon separation or retirement if determined to be unfit for continued military service

    Basic Terminology
    APDAB – Army Physical Disability Appeal Board
    DVA – Department of Veteran Affairs
    ERB – Enlisted Review Brief
    EPTS – Existed Prior to Service
    FFD – Fit For Duty
    MEB – Medical Evaluation Board
    MMRB – MOS/Medical Retention Board
    MSC – Military Service Coordinator (VA representative)
    ORB – Officer Review Brief
    OSC – Office of Soldier’s Counsel
    PDA – Physical Disability Agency
    PDR – Permanent Disability Retirement
    PEBLO – Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer
    PEB – Physical Evaluation Board
    SWSP – Separation with Severance Pay
    SWOB – Separate without Benefits
    TDRL – Temporary Disability Retired List
    USAPDA – U.S. Army Physical Disability

    Responsibilities of PEBLO
    Initiates your case file within 10 days, once profile has been received from your health care provider

    Completing Part I of VA Form 21-0819 within 10 days of notification of need for MEB

    Forwards the VA Form 21-0819 to Military Service Coordinator (MSC) within 10 days after completing Part I, along with your medical records

    Schedules you for comprehensive counseling sessions throughout the processing of your case

    Keeps you informed of the status of your case

    Responsibilities of VA MSC

    The Military Service Coordinator (MSC) will assist you in filling out VA Form 21-0819 within 10 days of the decision to start an MEB

    Forwards VA Form 21-0819 to Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) to schedule a single comprehensive physical examination

    Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) Purpose
    The MEB Process begins when optimum medical care has been reached or when your physician determines you will not be able to return to duty

    Designed to evaluate your medical condition(s) to determine if you do or do not meet the Medical Retention Standards IAW AR 40-501, Chapter 3

    Documents your medical condition(s) and duty limitations

    Refers you to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), when the findings and recommendations stipulate you do not meet retention standards or when referred by an MMRB

    Does not mean you must be found unfit by the PEB or discharged from military service

    A Medical Board is NOT…
    A “MOS reclassification Board”
    — reclassification is considered by the MOS/Medical Retention Board (MMRB) for Soldiers with P3 who meet retention standards

    You WILL NOT sit in front of a panel of board members.
    The MEB is an informal process comprised of at least two
    physicians who compile, assess, and evaluate your medical
    history to determine if your duty is affected by your medical
    condition

    How long does it take to complete a Medical Board?
    Our goal is to complete your MEB within 100 days. However, each case is unique and your MEB could take less or more than 100 days to complete.
    MEB Process
    Your PEBLO will schedule an initial meeting with you to complete Part 1 of VA 21- form, if you have not already done so

    You will turn in your Health Records to your PEBLO at this time

    The VA MSC will schedule a meeting with you to complete Part 2 of the form

    The MSC will forward the form to the DVA, who will schedule your Comprehensive Physical Examination

    Your PEBLO will prepare and mail the request for your Commander’s Evaluation letter.

    Your PEBLO will refer you to other resources as required (e.g. Army Career and Alumni Program (ACAP), Army Wounded Warrior (AW2) Program, etc.) prior to any separation or retirement

    What is in an MEB Packet
    Medical Data/Documents Created in the
    Support of Your MEB

    Complete Health Record

    Personnel/Performance Data

    What is in the MEB Package
    MEDICAL INFORMATION

    Coversheet (DA Form 3947) – Lists all medical conditions stating
    whether you do/do not meet retention standards of AR 40-501, Chapter 3

    Narrative Summary (NARSUM)

    Addendum – An addition to the MEB if something was not included in the
    original NARSUM

    Consults from clinics you visited.

    Copy of your Profile.

    Copy of the Comprehensive Physical Examination done by the VA

    Copy of your medical records

    Comprehensive Physical Examination done by the Department of Veteran Affairs
    You will receive one comprehensive physical from the VA

    It is imperative that you list all medical conditions known to you, as this is your opportunity to have all medical conditions addressed by the MEB to determine whether you do or do not meet retention standards and to ensure the VA review for possible compensation for all your listed conditions

    Consults
    If your health care provider(s) sees the need for you to be evaluated by another specialty clinic, they will request a consult with that clinic. Please notify your PEBLO or Case Manager

    Narrative Summary (NARSUM)
    The NARSUM is the heart of the MEB

    This comprehensive report, written by your health care provider, provides a “word picture” of your condition, history and status. Furthermore, it provides a recommendation, such as Medical Condition “XYZ” is medically unacceptable IAW para 3-__, AR 40-501 and case is referred to the PEB for further adjudication

    What is in my MEB Personnel/Performance Data**
    ERB/ORB/PQR

    Personnel Certificate is completed by the custodian of
    your 201 file (PSB)

    Commander’s Evaluation Letter

    NCOERs/OERs (E-5 And above) (Last 3)
    (if necessary)

    APFT SCORECARD (Last 3 tests) (if necessary)

    LES (Current End of Month)

    DA Form 4187 (Name changes, loss of rank, promotions, etc)

    **RC Soldiers have additional requirements (see next slide)
    Reserve Component Personnel/Performance Data
    Orders for all active duty periods – where injury/illness
    incurred

    Reserves – Chronological Statement of Retirement Points
    (ARPC 249-2-E) (commonly known as RPAS)

    National Guard – Retirement Points History Statement
    (NG Form 23) (commonly known as RPAM)

    Approved Line of Duty (if necessary)

    20 Year Letter if you have one
    If I am found unfit by the PEB Is there any way I can stay in?
    YES, you can submit a request for Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) or Continuation on Active Reserve Status (COAR)
    https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/active/epord/coad.htm

    Your PEBLO will provide you with specific criteria/details related to requesting this

    You can also obtain information and counseling on COAD/COAR from the OSC

    Generally, HRC is the approval authority for most requests
    — G-1 is the disapproval authority for AW2 requests

    MEB Process
    After completion of the MEB, you will be counseled and review the Board’s findings and recommendations

    You have the opportunity to seek advise from a Impartial Healthcare Professional when reviewing your MEB Findings and preparation of MEB Rebuttal

    You can consult with a lawyer from the OSC or some other advocate before signing the MEB.

    The MEB will state whether or not you do or do not meet retention standards IAW AR 40-501, Chapter 3

    You will receive a copy of your MEB and supporting documents for your files
    MEB DISPOSITIONS
    Generally, If you meet retention standards within the limits of your profile you are returned to duty in your PMOS

    If you do not meet retentions standards, your case will be referred to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) for further disposition

    If the MEB is a MOS/Medical Retention Board (MMRB) directed MEB, and the results of the MEB are you meet retention standards, you are Returned to Duty

    Can I Appeal the MEB?
    YES – If you disagree with any portion of your Medical Board, you have the right to appeal it.

    You may request an Impartial Physician Review of the MEB by a health care professional not involved in your MEB process.

    The physician will have 5 calendar days to review and advise you of the MEB findings.

    You will have 7 calendar days to request and prepare an appeal of the MEB findings to the DCCS.

    The OSC can assist you with your appeal.

    MEB Appeals
    The DCCS will review your appeal and make one of the following recommendations:

    MEB stands as written

    Can send back to health care provider for further information

    Can forward to PEB with attachments or additional notes

    Special Note
    The PEBLO won’t be able to provide you with disability ratings until you have gone through the entire PDES process
    First, PEB has to make the fitness determination .
    If found unfit, the PEB will request rating from the VA. The VA Rating site will provide the ratings to the PEB.
    You will receive your disability ratings for conditions that the PEB determined render you unfit form the VA.
    The PEBLO will counsel you regarding your PEB findings which will include ALL conditions (Referred and Claimed).

    Do You Have Any Questions
    About the MEB Process?
    Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)
    There are 3 PEBs – Located at the following locations
    Washington DC PEB
    FT Sam Houston, TX PEB
    FT Lewis, WA PEB

    PEB Process
    The PEB is the only board in the Military that can determine whether you are fit or unfit for continued Military Service

    Once the determination has been made whether you are fit or unfit, you will be notified of Preliminary findings

    If found fit for duty, your case will not be referred to the VA for a disability determination

    If found unfit, the PEB will forward your case to the DVA Rating Board for a determination of the appropriate disability rating for all of your medical conditions

    PEB Process
    The DVA Rating Board can return the case for additional information or clarification of data, in order to make a determination of the appropriate disability rating

    Only those medical conditions that render you unfit for further Military Service will be considered for determining your final disposition by the PEB

    PEB Process
    Once the PEB has rendered a decision, your PEBLO will be notified

    Your PEBLO will schedule a review and counseling session of the PEB’s findings and recommendations, usually within 24 hours but NLT 3 days

    You are given ten (10) calendar days to concur or nonconcur

    PEB Process

    You can also consult with an attorney from the OSC to determine how you want to respond to the PEB findings; or, request to review the VA ratings before making an election

    You cannot request a reconsideration of your VA rating if you nonconcur
    with your IPEB. You can only request a reconsideration of the VA rating
    if you concur with your IPEB or after the FPEB

    You will be informed of your preliminary informal findings of the PEB
    (Fit/Unfit Findings)

    DVA Rating Board

    If you disagree with the DVA Rating Board’s disability ratings, you may submit in writing a one time request for reconsideration
    Types Of PEB Dispositions
    Fit for Duty

    Unfit for Duty
    SWOB (no % given)

    SWSP
    Rating of 0%-20% and less than 20 YOS

    TDRL
    Rating of 30% or more or 20 YOS and medical condition is NOT stabilized enough for permanent rating
    Periodic re-exams every 12 – 18 months (5 yr maximum)
    Minimum of 50% pay for TDRL retirement check

    PDR
    Rating of 30% or more or 20 YOS

    Disability Compensation: Your PEBLO will show you how to calculate YOS and disability severance and/or retired pay

    PEB Appeal Process For Fit For Duty
    You are entitled to submit a written appeal

    You may request a formal hearing, as an exception to policy

    The PEB President decides whether to grant a request for formal hearing to contest a fit finding

    PEB Appeal Process
    You cannot request a formal PEB to question any disability percentages provided by the VA

    You can only appeal the PEB findings of unfit or fit for duty

    If your disposition is “UNFIT FOR FURTHER MILITARY SERVICE”, you have the right to request a formal hearing with or without personal appearance

    You can also submit a written appeal regarding your fitness for duty. You may submit any relevant and material evidence regarding the fitness of your medical conditions

    You have the right to be represented by an attorney from JAG or by a counsel of choice (civilian – at your own expense) for your formal hearing

    You may also elect to have representation from any of the various veterans organizations, if available. (DAV- Disabled American Veteran or American Legion). These services are free

    Physical Disability Agency (PDA)
    Component of HRC

    Reviews and approves/disapproves findings and recommendations of the PEB

    The PDA may:
    Return case to PEB for reconsideration, clarification, further investigation, formal hearing or other action
    Issue modified finding which could change Soldier’s fit or unfit decision
    If PDA makes any changes to the findings or dispositions, the Soldier has appeal rights (counsel + 10 days to sign)

    If PDA modifies PEB findings and you nonconcur, your case will be forwarded to USAPDAB for final review and decision.

    Final Disposition Physical Disability Agency
    PDB receives case from PDA and takes final administrative actions

    UNFIT:
    Transmits message to your Transition Center for disability separation/retirement orders
    Assigns final separation/retirement date: “Not Later Than 90 days
    Transition Center will publish appropriate orders

    FIT FOR DUTY:
    Issues a fit memorandum to the MTF
    The fit memorandum completes the disability evaluation processing

    What about confidentiality?
    Your medical board is personal and private

    Limited information can be provided to your unit:
    THE FACT THAT YOU ARE UNDERGOING
    DISABILITY PROCESSING

    WHERE YOU ARE IN THE BOARD PROCESS

    WHETHER YOU WERE FOUND FIT OR UNFIT

    Family members do not have automatic access to your medical records/board status without your written permission

    KEEP EVERYONE CONCERNED INFORMED
    How can I make this as painless as possible?
    Be Available
    DO NOT miss any of your appointments – Be on time, with your ID card, in the appropriate Uniform, and have medical records in hand

    NO SHOWS FOR ANY MEDICAL APPOINTMENT WILL BE REPORTED TO YOUR COMMANDER AND DELAY YOUR MEDICAL BOARD PROCEDINGS

    Always provide accurate phone
    numbers

    If you change units or assignments, let your PEBLO know

    Contact your PEBLO before leaving town
    Be Informed
    Ask questions. Ask how long each step should take and follow-up. This is YOUR career and YOUR board. Take the time to review all documents for accuracy. Provide accurate and timely information

    YOU ARE THE KEY TO YOUR BOARD

    IF YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETHING – DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS UNTIL YOU DO
    You will also be able to track the progress on your MEB via the My MEB Portal on AKO. If you have any questions about the data you see in the My MEB Portal, please contact your PEBLO

    QUESTIONS?

  5. I been referred to the meb on my T3 profile for asthma and lower back problems, I was wondering how long I have to wait to receive a call from the PEBLO or somebody to start the process , is being two weeks already and nobody called me. I ask the doctor that referred me to the meb and he says that my T3 profile with the meb referral is on place. My Commander is giving me a hard time with this and he is trying to say that I do not have any medical conditions because I pass my PT test that I almost failed.

  6. Sorry for the length of this question…My husband signed a 6 year contract for the Army back in 09. He is very smart, scored VERY well on all of his testing but to make a long story short ended up in 13B Field Artillery. We moved into post housing and after a short period of time my husband started falling out of runs, which was VERY odd for him because he is and has ALWAYS been a good runner. He was diagnosed with pretty severe Asthma! He has NEVER ever had this a day in his life until then. They placed his “P” in PULHES to a 3, he was given a MMRB and approved for job reclass. During all of this after being in base housing with a huge mold issues for 1 year we moved out, off post. His health has gotten SO MUCH BETTER. He takes his asthma meds but hardly EVER has to use his inhaler. He is now in the best physical shape he has ever been in and runs 2-3 times a day.
    My question finally is this…he has his eye on 2 certain jobs that he really wants to reclass to. They each are a much better fit for him and his abilities. The jobs are “P” 1 or 2. If he follows up with his doctor and has improved enough to have his “P” changed can they take back the approved MMRB and make him stay where he is? Please understand that we are not trying to be shady or do anything wrong. He just was looking forward to a change and we want to do everything right because he is in the Army for a carreer, not just a job. Our thought process is that either one of these jobs would help him in the civilian world with all of the cut backs and all too, A LOT better than 13B can! We thought about trying to do a job change when his re-enlistment comes up but we are unsure how all of this will work at this point. Unfortunately his “retention” person is never around and does not provide him with very much information so I was hoping maybe I could get some helpful honest info here. Thank you for your time and if you have ANY questions please let me know!

  7. Hello my names andrew I am a social in the army. I am looking for some info on a med board process. I have 6.5 years in at the moment I have to re up for a year. Which will put me at 7.5 years. Now this will be a few questions and I am sorry. I am rated at 70% at the va and they have not finished my claim. I have seizures,back problems can’t remember what they said about the back but its rated at 30%. I had a few tbi s while deployed. Its all been compressed and been truing to get things figured out. Its been a battle I have been home for over a year and due to va appointments and seizures can’t get a job. I have a permanent profile that does not allow me to do anything. Its NO’ s straight down the page. I have more issues but these are the big ones. So questions are as fallows.
    If rated above 30% at board what does this entitle me to?
    Will it be a severance package?
    What about retirement?
    What do I need to do to prepare for this?
    Im sorry about this I haven’t been lead very well in this direction. Im truing to be prepared for the future and haves good understanding of what lies ahead. The seizures are from my t b I service connected and I still suffer from them till this day about once a week. Any info would be a blessing thankyou so much.
    S P C. COURSE US ARMY INFANTRY

  8. Hello,

    My husband was recomended for MEB last month, just last week he received a phone call from the MEB that he was choosen for a new process that is a Quick board he has his briefing tomorrow which is one week after the phone call. This type of MEB is new and it is for soldiers whom have less than 7 things wrong with them. My husband did not want the MEB but this was not considered, and the only thing on his meb is chronic foot pain. my husband has been diagnosed with different things and since we started this process we have received a copy of all the army’s documents, half mind you the doctors diagnosed him but yet he was never treated for. We have four children and now the army is cutting cornners to save money. I am upset we are looking at being completed in 6 months because of the MEB quick board this means they will not take everything into consideration, I am really worried and feel like we are being screwed.

  9. My husband has been in for 13 years and has severe PTSD along with a large mass of physical problems. He recently had to admit himself for a week to try to get back on track, and they gave him a temp non-deployable profile and he was informed that they wanted to deploy him in January. After many long talks and quite a few fights he has started the process to med board. His behavioral health doctor is working with him and has wrote him 5 notes to help him along. We were told by others to expect it to be about 6 months or so but I am wondering if there is any more information available?

    1. Kingsley, your link isn’t coming up it just takes me to your archives. Can you email me your post? I would love to see how it works. We are in the process now and I have so many questions.

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