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

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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  1. Hello,
    My husband completed all the required paperwork for the MEB around October-November of 2012, its been almost 7 months and we still have not heard back anything about his disability rating from the VA. I know his case is getting processed in Washington state, is there a number we can call to ask questions about his status?
    Thank you very much in advance.

  2. My husband as in a car wreck and because of his injuries was sent to the peb, then med board. While he was going through the lovely med board process they QRB’d him. He is AGR and at the time hadn’t hit 18 yrs active yet. So he couldn’t claim sanctuary. Anyway, while waiting for the final word on the med board, he was not retained by QRB. Fast forward a couple of months, after calculating his time in service, it came to 19 years, 4 months and 4 days active duty. 8 months from being able to retire with 20 years active duty. Which means dual compensation and a heck of a difference in quality of life for our family. Well, thanks to the QRB he has no recourse. You can appeal a PEB, even the Med Board, but you can’t appeal the QRB! I feel so screwed by the system! He’s put in over 28 years total! He’s been in since he gradutate highschool and is going to be 47 soon. That is a lot of years to give to your country to not be able to get 8 more months!! All this because some teenager couldn’t wait their turn and had to pull out into fast moving traffic and cause a wreck and my husband to be injured and end his career. He is still seeking medical care due to the car wreck! So disappointed in this system.

  3. My husband has been in the army for 4 1/2 years. His first year of being in, he hurt his back during pt when his Sgt.. Had them carry a huge log and run with it. My husband was in the back of the line holding on to the back of the log when they suddenly halted. This caused his back to get jerked and he has been getting shots on and off on his back since this happened. The following year he was deployed to Afghanistan for a year and ended up with a hernia. They performed the hernia surgery over there inside of a tent and it later got infected, so he was bed ridden until it completely healed.
    When he returned home, they sent him to a specialist for an ultra sound to see if the hernia had healed and they found cysts on his kidneys , including a blood filled cyst which they originally told us was cancer. We were told that the cyst were probably caused from 2 of his medications that shouldn’t have been taken at the same time, but were prescribed to him by his PCM). The blood filled cyst was caused by some type of trauma (they’re not sure).
    He also was diagnosed with sleep apnea and has to used a CPAP machine every night for the past 3 years.
    He was deployed again to Afghanistan last year and while over there, he tore his rotator cuff (whatever it’s called) and had to have surgery on it as soon as he returned home. It isn’t healing well and they are suggesting another surgery. He is most likely going to Med Board. I’m worried that the Med Board will financially devastate our family, but he’s practically on a dead mans profile right now. Will our family lose our benefits? I’m so stressed I can’t even think straight. Oh yeah, he’s also been diagnosed with PTSD and has been seeing a counselor for over a year now. I’m so confused about the Med Board process and googled it, but it just gets me in a frenzy. He says he will get over 50% rating for his problems. How can we find out?

    1. Good grief, he’s had some bad luck medically! If he gets at least 30%, then he will keep his benefits the same as if he was retired after serving 20 years. If it’s less than 30%, then they medically separate him and he receives a one time severance. They can also decide to give him a temporary rating until they decide his condition is stable enough to be rated. If that happens, he’ll maintain benefits until a permanent decision is made.

      It can always vary but from what I’m hearing, there is a HUGE backlog and it’s taking a really long time to get a rating right now.

    2. I know I’m replying to this way late, but I want to let everyone know that you need 30% or more to be automatically medically retired, as has been stated, and a diagnosis of sleep apnea (with CPAP, that is important) is an automatic 50% on its own.

  4. My son is 20 and was hurt in airborne training when he was not secured properly during a 15 foot jump and fell head first to the ground. He was unconscious on impact and found to have traumatic spondylosis from the fall. He completed therapy, chiropractic manipulation, and recently painful epidural injections until they determine there was nerve damage. They told him they would not do surgery due to nerve involvement and proceeded the med board process. We are not at all familiar with this process and I am afraid my son maybe a bit naïve with this process. He will need a laminectomy and spinal fusion when he comes home as permanent nerve damage is a possibility . Is there anything he should be doing or anything he needs to know to ensure he is treated properly and not taken for a ride especially since the injury was a result of negligence? Everything I have research is very confusing.

  5. So I’m not sure if you still check this but if you do, I have a question. I have been in for little over 2 years now and one day while I was working out with my Lt. we was on leg press we’ll while I was pushing the weight I felt a pop in my lower back/ hit and my legs went numb for about 5 mins making it hard to walk. Well come 8 months later they say my profile can no longer work and that it will need to be permenint but if it does I don’t meet my mos lifting requirement not only that it hurts when I wear the body armor. The only hing really holding me back is that I’m scared if I do medboard they will try to (sorry for the language) screw me over; but I’m also scared that if I don’t medboard this problem may come back in the future sense I get dull pain in that region now. Is their any advise you could give me?

    1. can give you the best advice. My husband and I struggled with the what if scenarios as well. Hope all works out for the best.

  6. My question is to anyone while going through the process of a meb are you suppose to show up to work or just accountability formation

  7. I was assigned to a unit in Korea that has nothing to do with my MOS. Due to the fact that I hold a permanent profile that unfits me with the unit activities the doctor recommended me for MEB. Today I just met my MTF and now I am start to think about go to WTU. With a P3 profile now I have no idea where I will be sent and no clue what I should do. They said that it would take 60 days to get me out of Korea. I just get here in September after move my family out of Fort Drum. I am very unhappy and I will need all type of motivation to move forward.

  8. My husband has been in the service since 2008 (Army). He recently changed his MOS from 91B (Mechanic) to 94H (TMDE) last year . He’s had reoccurring back pain & asthma but didn’t really go to his PCM until a few years back. We are now stationed in S.Korea. He’s been on temporary profile (Peremant 3) 3x’s since December and he’s gotten examined for his back & chest. He was diagnosis was L2-L3: Disc bulge without central canal or foraminal stenosis, L4-L5: Disc bulge and mild bilateral facet hypertrophy cause mild central canal stenosis and Mild degenerative changes at L2-L3 and L4-L5. Pretty much he has arthritis in his lower lumbar (chronic pain) from what I gathered from google. I mean he gets the whole tingly, numbing sensation down the leg, pinching and stiffness in his lower back. Has the narrowing in his spine and no fluid in two of his disc. My husband was leaning towards Med board but without actually asking for it until the doctor brought it up and he recommended him for it. Then when my husband went to take his asthma test the specialist told him he had mild asthma but his PCM told him after speaking with the specialist at Brian Allgood said he had no asthma. He’s had breathing problems since coming back from Iraq probably due to the fact he was near burn pits while in Iraq & Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with an unknown allergen and is prescribed Zyrtec. Now, after all that was said and done, his PCM was waiting for the Physical Medicine doctor to make the note stating he was cleared for Med Board on his medical record. After calling and speaking with Physician he told my husband he wasn’t going to recommend him for it after all. The physician believes he won’t get anything out of the PEB if he pushes the Med Board thru. He also told him 1.) that he wants to steroid shots on his lower back when prior to telling him he wasn’t going to do them 2.) told him he wasn’t asking the right questions and complaining about the right things when it came to his lower back. I’m mean honestly, what kind of doctor tells you that? I’m guessing he wants my husband to be a baby about it just keep complaining about it. Although he did recommend my husband to ask his Commander to do a Medical Ch. 5-17. I got the gist of it from what I read online. Besides speaking with his Commander what does my husband need to do as far as paperwork on his end? He told me his Commander & BN Co are asking about his paperwork to make sure he gets him out of here as smoothly as possible & they speak with his therapist about how he’s doing mentally. So we know they’re trackin’. I’m just trying to understand why he would tell him yes but not jot it down & then turn around and tell him no?.. He wasn’t the only soldier to be told yes to then turn around and be told no either. I don’t know if there’s an upside to being Chapter-ed out medically? Can anyone shed some light on any of this? Anything that he can do to make it go smoothly?

  9. hi there, my name is David Marcucci.
    I recently just had a flat foot reconstructive surgery one month ago and they said I would most likely end up on a level p2 or p3 profile. Right now I have three 3’s on my pulhes in the first three categories of course and I was just wondering like what my future entitles in the military, is it just going to end up being an mos change because I cant perform my task as an 11 bravo or am I looking a possible meb due to my one year recovery time plus the fact that I have been misdiagnosed 3 times before this and have been on profile for more than 250 days before I even had my surgery which happened on march 14 of 2015. my first profile went into effect early may of 2014.

  10. MEB/PEB

    I am still in the IDES process. Can I still submit my permanent profile that was signed by my Surgeon, dated 27 April 2016?



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