Physical Evaluation Board Forum

A resource for Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), Medical Evaluation Board (MEB), Board for Correction of Military Records, Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR), and Wounded Warrior issues.

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As a follow up to the previous post- http://www.pebforum.com/site/thread...of-legacy-disability-evaluation-system.39004/ , I have gotten clarification for the "authority" for what I believe is the improper referral of some case to the LDES (despite "waivers" for the referral to this process). The memorandum cited as authority for these LDES referrals can be found in the Resources section of this site. Here is a handy link: http://www.pebforum.com/site/resour...n-the-legacy-disability-evaluation-system.85/ I think this memorandum conflicts with the guidance in DoDI 1332.18: (http://www.pebforum.com/site/resources/dodi-1332-18.50/) and with the guidance in DoDM 1332.18 vol II: (http://www.pebforum.com/site/resources/dod-manual-1332-18-volume-2.53/) Note that the authority in the AF Memorandum is the Air Force Principal Deputy Assistant, Secretary of the Air Force (Manpower and Reserve Affairs). The authority in the DoD Memorandum is the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, who is superior in authority to the Air Force deputy Secretary.
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I have an important advisory and issue of great importance for Air Force Reserve Component Members (Air Reserve and Air National Guard members). A few weeks back a colleague of mine called me and asked whether I had heard of ARC/ANG members being processed through the Legacy Disability Evaluation System (LDES). My friend shared a story of a client who was an AF Reserve member who was referred to the MEB and then the PEB notified his client that he was being processed by the PEB as an LDES case. The client had a current VA rating that was higher than the PEB decision. I was asked what I thought of this and I said that this made no sense and seemed patently illegal. I thought this was just an error or an aberration- until the next day when a prospective client, and ANG member called me and related that while in the MEB process, he was asked to "elect" the LDES process by his PEBLO because his case would be processed faster. My opinion is that this is a patently illegal processing of cases. It is very disturbing to me that this improper use of LDES processing is essentially a policy action by the AF PEBs for ARC/ANG members. Both cases are still processing and there is no definitive answer as to the resolution of this issue, but, I wanted to alert folks about this and let folks know not to agree with LDES processing in cases where they should be processed by the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). Here is a quick overview of the history and differences between the systems. The "traditional" of LDES system is what was in place for all cases prior to about 2008-2009. The LDES is where members are reviewed by the PEB, which determines both a members fitness and the disability rating assigned for any unfitting condition. After many complaints about the PEBs assigning low ratings for conditions that were then found by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) using the same...
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[​IMG] https://www.armytimes.com/articles/...lifornia-guard-bonuses-forgive-thousands-more "The Pentagon will repay millions of dollars in California Army National Guard bonuses that were improperly recouped from veterans and eliminate the debts of more than 17,000 troops who had been on the hook for repayment, according to the Defense Department's acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness. By July, the Defense Department will have reimbursed veterans who were sent to collections for their enlistment bonuses, cleared thousands more of their potential debts outright, and sent several hundred more to the Army Board for Correction of Military Records to make their cases, acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Peter Levine said in a Tuesday press conference...." This is great news!!
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This is important news. https://www.stripes.com/news/new-la...-to-recoup-erroneous-severance-taxes-1.445215 Via: By TRAVIS J. TRITTEN | STARS AND STRIPES "WASHINGTON — Thousands of veterans injured in combat could soon be able to recoup taxes erroneously collected from their disability severance pay due to a new law signed by President Barack Obama. About 13,800 veterans separated from the military due to their injuries might have been affected, the nonprofit group National Veterans Legal Service Program estimates. Due to an accounting error, as much as $78 million in taxes deducted over decades from the lump sum payments. Federal law considers the severance payments tax exempt. But the nonprofit group said the Defense Finance and Accounting Service system was automatically making deductions since 1991, meaning troops injured in conflicts spanning from the Gulf War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan might have been taxed thousands of dollars improperly. The Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act signed by Obama on Friday requires the Defense Department to calculate what money is owed to whom and provide veterans the option to reclaim the taxes. The lump-sum severance money was paid to veterans who were injured in combat but did not rate permanently disabled. The amounts depended on rank and length of service at the time. The average total payment was about $22,000 – severance ranged between about $12,000 and $100,000 – and was taxed at 25 percent, Moore said. The military was aware of the automatic taxes and attempted to notify troops undergoing medical separation of how to reclaim the money. It required the servicemember to file a claim with DFAS by December of the year that they were separated, Moore said. The...
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From the LA Times: "Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war. Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back...." http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-national-guard-bonus-20161020-snap-story.html
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From the NY TIMES: "A General’s New Mission: Leading a Charge Against PTSD By DIONNE SEARCEY OCT. 7, 2016 STUTTGART, Germany — It might have been the 2,000 pound bomb that dropped near him in Afghanistan, killing several comrades. Or maybe it was the helicopter crash he managed to survive. It could have been the battlefield explosions that detonated all around him over eight combat tours. Whatever the cause, the symptoms were clear. Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc suffered frequent headaches. He was moody. He could not sleep. He was out of sorts; even his balance was off. He realized it every time he walked down the street holding hands with his wife, Sharon, leaning into her just a little too close. Despite all the signs of posttraumatic stress disorder, it took 12 years from his first battlefield trauma for him to seek care. After all, he thought, he was a Green Beret in the Army’s Special Forces. He needed to be tough. General Bolduc learned that not only did he suffer from PTSD, but he also had a bulletsize spot on his brain, an injury probably dating to his helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2005. Now, after three years of treatment, General Bolduc is doing better. And, in his role as commander of American Special Operations Forces in Africa, he has become an evangelist for letting soldiers know that it is all right to get help for brain injuries and mental health problems..... http://nyti.ms/2dExv7U
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http://nyti.ms/2cnvs88 "At a special presidential forum on Wednesday night, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will appear backtoback, take questions from military veterans and talk about how our country treats them. Wick Sloane’s complaint probably won’t come up, but I wish it would. Sloane teaches at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston, and eight years ago, after discovering veterans among his students, he reached out to officials at his own alma maters, Williams College and Yale University, for any guidance they might have about working with this particular group. “They were bewildered,” he told me, because they’d had so little contact with veterans. He began collecting data, and for several years now, on Veterans Day, he has published an accounting of how many veterans, among a population of more than two million eligible for federal highereducation benefits, wind up at America’s most elite colleges. It appears on the website Inside Higher Ed, and this is from the first paragraph of his November 2015 tally: “Yale, four; Harvard, unknown; Princeton, one; Williams, one.” Harvard didn’t grant his request for information, he said. The tally noted just two veterans among undergraduates at Duke, one at M.I.T., one at Pomona and zero at Carleton.".... Something to chew on....not sure if the problem is outreach or veterans not applying for what might be out there.
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http://www.militarytimes.com/story/...s-permanent-brain-damage-case-study/88528568/ "The case of a service member diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder but found instead to have brain damage caused by a malaria drug raises questions about the origin of similar symptoms in other post-9/11 veterans. According to the case study published online in Drug Safety Case Reports in June, a U.S. military member sought treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for uncontrolled anger, insomnia, nightmares and memory loss...." I wish this were a shocking finding, but, I have come across way too many anecdotal cases of this to be surprised. A single case study is not "proof," but, I think it indicates support for the argument that this malaria drug can have serious health impacts on members.
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To all forum members, those who visit here, Servicemembers, Veterans, and Americans, Happy Fourth of July!!! It is a great day to celebrate our Independence and all that makes our Nation a shining example of what freedom gives! Enjoy the day, enjoy the time with family and friends! A special thanks to those who are serving away from their family and friends and even more thanks to those who are deployed and are fighting for our freedom today!
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I use google adsense and webmaster tools to monitor and help with any issues on the site. I logged in and got an alert that the site was "less than ideal" for viewing on mobile devices, so I enabled "Responsive views" for the forum. My look at it on my own device/phone after enabling this is that the text is larger and some navigation seems to be optimized for mobile viewing. I hope this is an improvement for folks! I suspect/wonder if it is, though, for folks with older devices. (Google tells me that 43% of the traffic here is on a mobile device....if so, that kind of surprises me and blows me away). Still, I wonder if this is an improvement for everyone, the majority of folks, just a few, or not at all. If you have feedback about this, please let us know!
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This is an important article from the NY Times: "What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological?" http://nyti.ms/1TZ2Te1 "A new study supports what a small group of military researchers has suspected for decades: that modern warfare destroys the brain. By ROBERT F. WORTH JUNE 10, 2016: "In early 2012, a neuropathologist named Daniel Perl was examining a slide of human brain tissue when he saw something odd and unfamiliar in the wormlike squiggles and folds. It looked like brown dust; a distinctive pattern of tiny scars. Perl was intrigued. At 69, he had examined 20,000 brains over a fourdecade career, focusing mostly on Alzheimer’s and other degenerative disorders. He had peered through his microscope at countless malformed proteins and twisted axons. He knew as much about the biology of brain disease as just about anyone on earth. But he had never seen anything like this. The brain under Perl’s microscope belonged to an American soldier who had been five feet away when a suicide bomber detonated his belt of explosives in 2009. The soldier survived the blast, thanks to his body armor, but died two years later of an apparent drug overdose after suffering symptoms that have become the hallmark of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan: memory loss, cognitive problems, inability to sleep and profound, often suicidal depression. Nearly 350,000 service members have been given a diagnosis of traumatic brain injury over the past 15 years, many of them from blast exposure. The real number is likely to be much higher, because so many who have enlisted are too proud to report a wound that remains invisible...." Read this article. It has no "answers" but suggest real problems with blast injuries and their impact on Servicemembers. The article is focused on medical issues, but, I think it has a definite tie in to legal and administrative treatment of Soldiers,...