Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)

A soldier is placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL) if during the MEB (Medical Evaluation Board) he was assigned a disability rating of 30% or more but the condition was not deemed stable enough for a permanent rating. TDRL entitles a soldier to all retirement benefits the same as if he had served twenty years or more.

A soldier can only be on TDRL for a maximum of five years. At the end of five years, a permanent decision must be made regardless of whether the condition is deemed to be stable. While on TDRL, a soldier undergoes a physical evaluation of his condition every 12-18 months. It is CRUCIAL while on TDRL to maintain excellent medical records through the physician or other healthcare providers as well as documenting how and when the condition has affected your life.

The soldier will receive a letter in the mail (and possibly a phone call as well) alerting him to the evaluation appointment. This is typically done at the nearest post that is equipped to perform these evaluations. The soldier will be reimbursed for travel expenses. Many of the tests that were run during the original MEB process will be run again for comparative purposes. The doctor will then form a recommendation and complete the packet. The packet is sent to the soldier to either agree or disagree with the findings. From the time the soldier receives the packet, he as five days to agree or disagree with the findings. If he disagrees, he must attach documentation as to why he disagrees. The packet is then forwarded to the board for a decision.

At this point, a variety of decisions can be made.

  1. The soldier is found fit for duty. Usually, if this happens, the soldier is given the option whether to reenlist or be discharged. There is no disability compensation for this.
  2. The soldier is given a 0%-20% disability rating. He will be given a severance package the same as if this finding had been made during the original MEB process.
  3. The soldier is given a rating of 30% or more and the condition is still not rated as stable enough for a permanent rating. The soldier remains on TDRL and will be evaluated again in 12-18 months.
  4. The soldier is given a rating of 30% or more and the condition is stable enough for a permanent rating. The soldier is placed on PDRL the same as if this had happened during the original MEB process.

If the soldier does not agree with the decision, he can appeal. There is a very short timeframe in which he can file the appeal. If he appeals, he will appear in front of the formal board to plead his case. This is generally done with the assistance of JAG or personal counsel, though it does not have to be. If the soldier cannot appear in person, many times the board will allow the soldier to have his appeal heard by phone.

If the soldier is given a rating of 30% or more qualifying him for retirement, this is a risky game to appeal. When the soldier appears in front of the formal board, they can change the decision in either direction which includes dropping the rating below 30% which would then disqualify the soldier for retirement. Be sure to discuss all of your options with counsel before pursuing an appeal. On the other hand, if you were given a rating of 0% and know you can’t be found fit for duty, you really don’t have much to lose by going to the board to appeal the decision. This is a personal decision that must not be taken lightly.

It is crucial that the soldier keep his address updated with the Army while on the TDRL. Failure to report for an evaluation can result with being dropped from TDRL.

Our personal story…My husband was medically retired in June with his last evaluation the previous April. In December, he was called and informed he was due for his evaluation. When he questioned the timing (it had only been 8 months), he was told that the doctor was deploying soon so he had to come in within the next few weeks. He agreed and was seen in January. The physician questioned why he was there so early and when my husband told him what he was told, he replied that it was news to him. Very frustrating!

He was sent his packet to review at the end of February. Again, this was very confusing. The packet is large and unlike with the original MEB, there’s not a physician sitting there to explain to you exactly what it says and what it could be mean at the board. There were discrepancies throughout his packet. But the option was to agree or disagree and if he disagreed, he had to attach documentation as to why. The doctor’s recommendation was also very vague. It basically stated that his condition had not improved, would require follow up and he recommended removal from TDRL and that a permanent decision be made. But we were left wondering what kind of permanent decision? We agree that his condition has not improved but was he recommending discharge (which we disagreed with) or retirement (which we agree with). There was no way to tell and we also had no one to call. I was lucky that when I posted about it on my blog, several soldiers who had been through the process emailed me about it.

We ended up agreeing with it and attached a document that we referenced on the agree/disagree form that cleared up the inaccuracies that were throughout the report. As of the time I’m writing this in the middle of March, we do not yet have a decision. I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep since the process started. We are hoping for a decision in the next few weeks so we at least know what we are dealing with and facing.

UPDATE: My husband’s TDRL was extended until May of 2009 when we will go through the process again.

46 thoughts on “Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)”

  1. I have been on TDRL since Feb, 2011. I am suppose to go to FT.STEWART ,to get my review done.
    Problem is they are about 14,000 soldiers behind on this list. I just called FT.STEWART and talked to them ,I asked what would happen if my 5 years are up ,and they still have not called? There answer “YOU WILL LOOSE ALL YOUR BENIFITS”. I have a friend who was medically discharged from the army ,was put on TDRL ,and has already been reviewed. He was discharged 2 years ago.
    How dose that happen?? What the heck am I suppose to do if I don’t get to go and do my TDRL review, and I loose my benefits? Also the VA mailed me a letter ,stating that I am Totally and permanently disable ,in 20012. Now the VA is saying that the letter was a TYPE-O ,and that it dose not mean that I am totally ,and permanently disable. Meanwhile ,I cannot work due to all the medication I am taking ,I have been diagnosed with TBI ,and I have a service dog ,and my wife is my CAREGIVER. Can someone please give me an answer or guide please.

  2. Hey guys don’t rely on tdrl. Secondly have a decent savings plan, your not dumbass joes anymore buying on that military credit. and for that stress fracture kid, gtfo. Anyone who went to basic before this war will laugh at your stress fractures and there’s a good possibility your kid is overweight, thus a simple jog will do that to hips back and cause stress fractures. Everyone else good luck I just got my stuff back, so I can finally breathe.
    11b36b

  3. Jessie Buckman

    My husband was in the Marine Corp and was on TDRL when he passed away in 1979. Cause of death was service connected, so as a survivor was eligible for DIC from VA, and also had a military ID card. I used my ID card until the early 1990’s when I lost it, and never got it replaced. In the last two years, I decided that I would apply for a replacement card. I went to the RAPID Center and wanted to apply, but they said that his name was “not in the system.” I then called DEERS to see if I would be eligible, and they said that I would not be, and that I should have never had an ID card to begin with – and without an explanation. I then called the Department of Defense and they said that they did not have records and advised me to get in touch with the National Archives for papers showing that he was on TDRL. They had no papers and forwarded the request to the Marine Headquarters…..this was approximately a year ago. I wrote to the Marine Corps Commadant about six months ago, and have not heard anything since that time. Is there any advise that you can give to me – it would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in advance.

    1. I’m sorry I’m just seeing this. Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice to provide. I assume you don’t have any of his paperwork to prove what his status was?

    2. Jessie Buckman

      Stacey – thanks for the acknowledgement that you even read my question. Unfortunately, I do not have any documents other than his DD214. I had written to the National Archives for papers, but they did not have any, and forwarded a request to the Marine Corps Headquarters for papers….and that was about a year ago, and I never did hear anything. Thanks again for your help.

  4. I was placed on tdrl 5 years ago. I was active for 4 and half years with a tour to iraq. I was army and 11b. Through tdrl there are very little rescorces or people telling you gow to handle things. Guys, take initiative Seek answers and you’ll find them. I was one of the ones whi never wanted to retire or get out, I didn’t want free money from the government like some of you pukes that ive been reading about. That kid in basic? Come on, what a joke. I fought to get off tdrl and be found fit. I was found fit, re-enlisted and now back in. Your time on tdrl counts towards full retirement so I only have 10 years left til I hit 20. Some of yall need to stop looking for free rides and free money and understand this country doesn’t owe you shit. Get your VA pay and drive on. Stop trying to double dip and raise my damn taxes. Tdrl is made for you to get better nit for you to bitch and moan about getting more free money.

  5. Tdrl is not something you ask to be in.. They determined if you need to be in the list or not! I wish things were easy and simple I never ask to Lt Col in the Air Force to mess up my hand because he do not paid attention in school is unfair some of the ignorants comments in here.

  6. I was placed on the TDRL in Nov 2013… I took a C & P exam in August 2014 and became 100 P & T for a unfitting condition with the VA…Can the army drop my rating since I am 100% p & T.

  7. I was trying to figure out how to get my military disability retired pay back. I’m not good at this so I need all the help I can get please please help me

  8. My hubby *was booted* out(as he likes to call it) at 17 years in AD for PTSD.they put him on TRDL and his re evel is coming up next month.we are stressed and worried about the rating being dropped(bin hearing all the stories ,especially for PTSD)he was found fit for all the other things going on .his PTSD got him 50% from DOD( he said it should be 30%.he has really mild).va rated him at 90%.he is/was CW 2 and is hoping that he will get found fit for duty so he can finish up his 3 years.i know its probably not going to happen but still.

  9. I have a question. My husband was put on tdrl in 2012. 100% through the VA 70% through the Marine Corp. He was in a very bad IED explosion in 2010. We go to every exam they ask him to go to for the revaluations. Last week he got a package in the mail with his certificate of honorable discharge. He will be discharged as of the 31st of This month . They rated him somehow under 30 percent so no PDRL. Never called him to explain this, not a single word. Just a certificate in the mail. We have no idea what to do. He has medical appointments 3 times a week. He was never given the chance to appeal or anything. He obviously wants to go on PDRL since there is no way he can actually work with his condition. What are we supposed to do?? Any help would be appreciated!

  10. Vanessa borneo

    This is madness as a spouse I reached out to congress and fighting for my husband who has PTSD and the army came back with TDRL bullshit I will keep fighting for my husband……this is how our soldiers are being treated for this sorry ass country

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