MEB Questions

JabbaTheNut

Registered Member
#1
Alright guys. So I’m currently active duty Air Force and have been in for just under 3 years. I started having weird dizzy spells and some other symptoms and was actually ordered to go to see my PCM because I checked a box that said I was having dizzy spells. After meeting up with my PCM he informed me he thought I might be having (absence) seizures and I then had to go to a Neurologist and have a lot of different tests done. I first met my PCM in January and in April they determined I had epilepsy. The first medication they put me on gave me really bad anger problems/personality changes and I was referred to go see a councilor and to take an anger management class. The psychologist I saw diagnosed me with having an adjustment disorder. I was notified that they would be placing me on a MEB in late April/early May. They received my Commanders Impact Statement about 3 weeks ago but my PCM still hasn’t sent a NARSUM. I haven’t spoken with my PEBLO in person yet but she did email me and told me I am code 37 until they can get the NARSUM and send all that to AFPC.

My questions are,
-What are the chances of staying in the Air Force with epilepsy?
-How long should it take my PCM to write a NARSUM and send it to my PEBLO?
-If I do get removed from the Air Force, will they compensate me for the Anger issues and personality change that happened due to the medication I was prescribed for the epilepsy?
-If I get removed, about how long do I have until I am final outprocessed?

Thanks in advance for all the input
 

Matt Kozyra

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#2
Jabba,

First off, I think we can all agree that you have the best name on the website, and we're all very jealous.

Second, my standard caveat: none of us can give you legal advice without an attorney/client relationship, and none of us can predict the future in your case without a LOT more information. Still, we can give you some general guidelines on the process and on typical outcomes.

-What are the chances of staying in the Air Force with epilepsy?
Probably not great. I talk on this forum a lot about the Navy's problem with too many Fit findings. Well, the Air Force has the opposite problem. Last few years, one of the biggest issues facing Airmen going through the DES is that they have members with 17-19 years getting found Unfit and denied retirement benefits. Those guys fight HARD to stay in, and they're still often denied. Right now, the odds of any particular Airman being found Fit in the DES are about 5%.

Epilepsy is an interesting diagnosis, though, because if they get you on a good anticonvulsant (Keppra, Lamictal, etc.), you can be completely symptom-free. That goes a long way to proving you're still fit for duty, depending on your MOS. Not likely ever going to be returned to flight status, but riding a desk may be fine. The 5% odds are for everyone going through the system. They're not for your case in particular. That's going to depend on a lot of different factors that neither you nor I have access to at this point, like how well you're responding to treatment and whether your command supports you staying in.

-How long should it take my PCM to write a NARSUM and send it to my PEBLO?
I'd expect it in the near future. I don't know if the AFMS has any timelines they're supposed to adhere to, but a few weeks is not super unusual. You can touch base with your providers to check the status and give someone a swift kick if they need it.

-If I do get removed from the Air Force, will they compensate me for the Anger issues and personality change that happened due to the medication I was prescribed for the epilepsy?
Maybe. This is one of the ones that we can't really answer at this point. In order to be separated/retired for your mental health issues, a few things will need to happen.
1. Your doctors will need to refer it to the Board and write a NARSUM addendum describing your symptoms and your course of treatment.
2. The Board will need to decide that the mental health problems are either individually or collectively Unfitting, meaning that they (either on their own or in combination with the epilepsy) are preventing you from being an effective Airman in your grade, rank, office, or MOS.
3. The Board will need to decide that the mental health problem that's Unfitting isn't one of the ones that's specifically excluded by their instructions. For example, you cannot be found Unfit for a personality disorder. It's - by definition - not a disability. Same with substance abuse disorders or mental retardation. They might be disabling, but Big Daddy Defense has decided they're not disabilities. You can be administratively separated for those issues (often called "Condition not a Disability," or CND), but you can't be medically discharged for them. Adjustment disorder is a particularly interesting one here, because "adjustment disorder" is not a disability, but "chronic adjustment disorder" is a disability. The difference between the two is their duration. Chronic adjustment disorder lasts for 6 months or more. Adjustment disorder lasts for less than 6 months. So, depends largely on how your NARSUM and mental health treatment notes are written. This won't likely be a problem for you, since it's been my experience that most providers are now familiar with the rules and write up the NARSUM properly. But it's something to watch for.

-If I get removed, about how long do I have until I am final outprocessed?
I honestly don't know what the Air Force processing timelines are looking like right now, but you might want to check out the "Timelines" section of this forum for some examples. A bunch of people post their personal experiences.

-Matt
 
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