Findings came back / Seeking input

Should I accept or contest the PEB's findings?

  • Accept

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Contest

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0

Throwaway

Registered Member
#1
Hello everyone! If you are reading this thread, thank you!

I finally got my findings back, and I now have a week left to decide whether or not to finalize. I'm currently out of state (from the Naval base where my PEB is being handled), and will not return until the day before I have to give the PEBLO my decision. As such, legal counsel is out of the question, and I thought this would be the next best place to get a second opinion.

First off, my findings:

The PEB only received Persistent Depressive Disorder and BPD as my board-able conditions. As a result, they have found me UNFIT, Not-Rated, and to Separate w/o Additional Benefits.

The VA also received said disorders, along with various physical ailments, and rated me at 80%. My initial thought, as well as that of friends and families I turned to for advice, was that I should accept the findings and move on with my life.

On to my questions:

1. Would it be worth contesting my findings? I have heard and read that requesting a formal hearing can backfire, because the PEB takes a closer look at your submission, and you may end up shooting yourself in the foot (figuratively). Furthermore, based on circumstances and symptoms of Military Disability Ratings, the best I could hope for is 10% (for my Persistent DD). Am I correct in that assessment?

2. Other than word-of-mouth, I have very little new evidence to provide to the board, other than the narrative my providers had already submitted for the first go-around.

3. If the VA found my disabilities to be service-aggravated (hence, the 80%), is it likely the DoD will change their mind as well, since they decided it was pre-existing and not service-connected?

4. My PEBLO did not counsel me on TDRL requirements, and it is marked as "N/A" on my PEB Counseling Checklist. Does that mean I am in the PDRL camp? I could not find anything in the findings package that reflected either or.

If you've gotten this far, thank you for reading! :) I appreciate any and all advice you all can provide.
 

MackValdez

Registered Member
#2
No, I would think that you are not TDRL or PDRL. As you stated in the first part, it is separation w/o additional benefits. You would only get put on a disability retirement list if you would be getting future benefits. I know this is a scary time and everything seems so uncertain (I have been there) but it is good that you already have results from the VA before you are actually separated (I was not as lucky). I can't give you much advice.... if I were in your shoes I would accept the 80% from the VA and move on. If the DoD found that the condition was pre-existing I don't think it would be easy to change their minds.
 

MackValdez

Registered Member
#3
It is my understanding that you won't get any form of military retirement (temp or perm) unless you are at least 30% on your military separation. That is why it is saying separation w/o benefits
 

chaplaincharlie

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#4
Under the circumstances you stated; you would simply be separated - neither PDRL or TDRL. The Navy is notorious for their handling of PEBs. It might be worth a few hundred dollars to consult with a private attorney with expertise in the PEB process.

peblawyer.com
 
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Matt Kozyra

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#5
@Throwaway,

MackValdez and chaplaincharlie are absolutely right. A finding of "EPTS-NR" (Existed Prior to Service - Not Rated) doesn't result in any retirement benefits for you going forward. You're not retired - you're a medically separated Sailor. You'll get an Honorable discharge and a handshake on the way out the door, but that's it. Retirement benefits are very valuable (we typically say they're worth in excess of a million dollars over the course of a lifetime), so giving up on them isn't something that should be done lightly.

I can't speak to your odds of success at the Board, but I can answer some of the generic questions you had in your original post. You asked whether you could only get 10% for your depressive disorder. The answer to that is "maybe." If the Board were to find that the depressive disorder was aggravated by your time in service, then they will be required to give you the same rating for it that the VA gave you. If the VA gave you 10%, then the DoD will mirror that. If the VA gave you 30% or 50%, then the DoD will do the same.

I definitely do not recommend just taking the word of the folks on this forum as legal advice on what you should do. Not that we aren't great people, obviously. I was a Navy Formal Board attorney for years, and the rest of the regular contributors on the forum are some of the most knowledgeable folks in the world on these regulations. It's just that we don't have access to any of the evidence in your case, so we can't tell you whether you've got a good shot or a bad one.

Based on that, it is probably a good idea to contest your results, just so you have enough time to talk with an attorney who represents you. Shortly after you tell your PEBLO "I want a Formal Board," you'll get detailed to an attorney up at the Navy Yard who will be tasked with helping you through the whole process. Unless you get the new OIC who's just about to check onboard, every single one of those attorneys has hundreds and hundreds of cases under his or her belt.

As Chaps said, above, you can also get a consultation with a civilian attorney if the military one takes too long to get back to you, or if you just want a second set of eyes. Chaps recommended Jason Perry's website - he's the guy who runs this site. He's great. I think he typically charges for initial consultations, which not every attorney does. John Gately, for example, does free initial consultations. http://www.gatelylawfirm.com/.

You can always accept your initial findings later, if you decide your case isn't strong and you don't want to go through with a hearing. You can accept the initial findings any time up through the morning of your Formal Board. It's worth it to take some time to talk with a lawyer first, and contesting your findings will give you that flexibility.
 

Throwaway

Registered Member
#6
Thank you all for your replies! I must have misunderstood what PDRL/TDRL referred to. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how long I could expect to receive disability from the VA.

If I'm being honest, I'd much rather avoid dragging this out, if a favorable outcome is not very likely. I'm under the impression that, in order for the DoD to match the 70% from the VA for the depressive disorder, the additional evidence provided would have to be pretty overwhelming and indisputable, and word-of-mouth would almost certainly not suffice. Circumstances that may have aggravated my symptoms during my service were already presented by the narratives submitted by my providers.

Thank you, as well, for the information regarding attorneys. I was not made aware that I could accept my findings after the initial deadline, and I will strongly consider seeking the opinion of an outside entity, should the legal department fail to provide additional insight.
 

MackValdez

Registered Member
#7
Thank you all for your replies! I must have misunderstood what PDRL/TDRL referred to. Essentially, I was trying to figure out how long I could expect to receive disability from the VA.
The VA is pretty great actually (from my experience) For the most part, once you are given your percentage you keep at that level forever. I have heard stories of people that got reduced but most were those that refused care at the VA, stopped going to annual checkups, stopped complaining of their issues.
 

Throwaway

Registered Member
#8
I was able to get in contact with John Gately (thank you @Matt Kozyra for the suggestion), and am awaiting his initial assessment of my case.

If I were to accept the findings, I would want to attend school in the Fall. Does anyone know if there is a DoD or VA Representative I can contact in order to expedite the process? Essentially, I would want Personnel to get my separation date back to me asap, as well as keeping it on the smaller side of the 45-90 days. Has anyone been successful, or heard of anyone doing this? I would really hate to separate right AFTER classes start and have to wait until Spring.

Or am I asking too much at this point?
 
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