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Some Vets Get Shot At Medical Retirement

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Week of March 21, 2011

Approximately 70,000 veterans who were given a medical separation between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009 have the chance to have their separations reviewed and possibly changed to a medical retirement. The reviews are conducted by the Physical Disability Board of Review, which will examine each applicant's medical separation and make a recommendation to the respective Service Secretary based on their findings. Although there is no guarantee that applicants will become retirement eligible, there is no risk of veterans losing their existing benefits. To be eligible veterans must have been medically separated with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and originally not found eligible for retirement. Visit the PDBR website to learn more and begin the application process.

Please pass this along to any veterans you know who may qualify for the PDBR.

Read more about the PDBR on the Military Advantage Blog.

My intentions are to help, my advice maybe wrong, be your own advocate and know what is in your C-File and the 38 CFR that governs your disabilities and conditions.

Do your own homework. No one knows the veteran’s symptoms like the veteran. Never Give Up.

I do not give my consent for anyone to view my personal VA records.


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I've recently received my letter letting me know that my materials are gathered and ready to send to the board. One reminder:

DODI 6040.44, PROCEDURES, Section 5,e. (2) states:

e. The PDBR shall conduct reviews of the disability rating(s) of the covered individual in accordance with the VASRD in effect at the time of separation.

(2)The following will be subject to review by the PDBR:

(a) Medical conditions determined to be specifically unfitting for continued military service, as previously determined by the Military Department PEB.

(b) Those instances when the covered individual requests the PDBR to review conditions identified but not determined to be unfitting by the PEB of the Military Department concerned.

For all those impacted, I recommend you request (b). I've requested (b), and will see how this impacts the overall application and outcome. They're supposed to work these within 60 days of receipt of a completed package, but that time seems to be delayed a great deal by the responses from the VA in providing records. I'm not quite sure how to follow this up, but will send in an IRIS request to at least find out.

I will also keep this board updated on the status of my package. I'm really hoping this comes out in my favor (above the combined 19% the AF awarded). I don’t know if there would be any back pay, but based on what my percentage of retirement, years of service, etc. it wouldn’t surprise me. I won’t get my hopes up, though. I’d just like to be able to use Tricare to supplement current healthcare costs.

Limbo is status quo for the VARO.

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I'll try and upload the reg.

Limbo is status quo for the VARO.

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Thanks guys -this is info we sure need to have here at hadit.

GRADUATE ! Nov 2nd 2007 American Military University !

When thousands of Americans faced annihilation in the 1800s Chief

Osceola's response to his people, the Seminoles, was

simply "They(the US Army)have guns, but so do we."

Sameo to us -They (VA) have 38 CFR ,38 USC, and M21-1- but so do we.

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I thought I'd give an update on my PDBR appeal and let people know what's going on, how long it can take and answer any questions if I can.

I was medically separated from the Navy after 12 and a half years as a Crypto Tech (started out in communications, crossrated to Arabic linguist). I was given severance pay, but not retired. My PEB rating was 20%. I can't remember what the VA code they used on the PEB was but it was basically "lower back strain". From what I understand, the services were and still are using out of date and incorrect VA codes on PEB findings.

I am currently rated at 60% by the VA for:

Degenerative disc disease (40%)

Degenerative joint disease (10% in each knee)

Radiculopathy (10% in each leg)

I also have a 0% rating for each ankle and for hypertension, so they're service connected, but I don't receive any money for them.

The VA takes $115 a month to pay my severance pay back to the military.

I currently have an appeal in because my conditions have worsened. I will also be putting in another claim shortly because I have been put on anxiety/depression medication and will be claiming depression secondary to the chronic back pain/problems.

I submitted my package to the PDBR, sent it to the inprocessing unit in Texas in March 2010. It took 6 requests from them to get the VA to send my records, so my case was not forwarded to Crystal City until October 2010. From what I've been told when I call for updates, the processing time in Crystal City before your case goes to the board can be pretty lengthy. To compound the issue, with the class action lawsuit concerning PTSD, many of the complainants from that case get put ahead of other claims due to a time limit set by the court to have their claims decided.

I called yesterday and was told that my case is still in the processing phase and that they couldn't give me any time frame as to when it would go to the board. The last time I called for an update, I was told that, if you are not involved in the PTSD lawsuit, it can take a year to a year and a half from the time your case arrives in Crystal Cityfor it to be decided by the board. The board makes a recommendation to the service you were in (in my case, the Navy) who then has the final decision as to whether they will accept the findings of the board or leave your PEB rating the same.

If you do get medically retired, you then have to wait to get info from your service, you have to get put back into DEERS to get i.d. cards for you and your family, the money situation has to be worked out as to whether you should receive any back pay. I've heard that part can take up to 6 months unless you go to a base and do alot of the legwork yourself.

I just thought I'd share my experiences with the PDBR process and hope this helps.


Sean CTI1, USN 1992-2005

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Good Luck

I wonder how they picked crystal city to do that?

Veterans deserve real choice for their health care.

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shieldsy71 -

I just got an email stating just about the same things. They're still waiting on my records from the VA. I'm going in on Monday, assuming they'll be open, and am going to request a copy of the documents in person. Unfortunately, my medical records from 1984 - 2004 were lost after the MEB. I did a tracer immediately as I had a clinic appointment shortly after the results were provided, and noticed I had a brand-new folder. I really hope they don't screw this up because of an AF mistake!. Should have taken the advise long ago to always get a copy of my treatment records after every clinic appointment.

Limbo is status quo for the VARO.

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