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ANG Medical Problems

magnuzno

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I am currently on my third year serving as an AGR in the ANG. I had 12 years of prior AD service. My injuries, both physical and mental, have clear and documented ties to my military service.

I'm also a pilot. I spent just under a year DNIF / medical down until trying flying again. About a year later and I'm worse off than before.

I think I'm ready to walk away. How would I go about suggesting or requesting a med board? I have a great relationship with my flight doc but I'm a little uncomfortable on this topic. Would it get caught in a separation physical if I tried to go traditional?

If I transition to traditional, is it now or never for a medical retirement? Can a traditional DSG get the same medical discharge process and entitlement as AGR/AD?
 

Guardguy11

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I'll do my best to give you some good gouge and start you on your journey.
How would I go about suggesting or requesting a med board? I have a great relationship with my flight doc but I'm a little uncomfortable on this topic.

If you have spent over a year DNIF I'm honestly surprised that your doctor hasn't pushed this on their own. Are you on a profile? If yes, what code are you? Code 31 is fixable within 365, and Code 37 is beyond 365.

The bottom line answer to your question above is that you shouldn't have to suggest anything in your situation. The Air Force has objective measures to ensure the readiness of the force and you don't sound like you meet that requirement in the slightest. If you are not on a profile, you should get on one ASAP.
Would it get caught in a separation physical if I tried to go traditional?
No. Switching to a trad role would not require a separation physical.

If I transition to traditional, is it now or never for a medical retirement? Can a traditional DSG get the same medical discharge process and entitlement as AGR/AD?

Here is the million dollar question. BLUF - Yes, a DSG can get the same Chapter 61 retirement as an AGR/AD person but it becomes harder to advocate for yourself doing it part time. You also fall into the out of sight out of mind category and unless your leadership is good, it might hurt you in the long run.

Bottom line gouge - Based on the limited information presented, you are eligible and owed a chapter 61 medical retirement from the military. You are at the very beginning of this journey but you should fight for this.

Recommended Steps:
- Stay on AGR
- Get on a profile or get your current profile upgraded to code 37
- have a no shit conversation with your medical provider and state expectations
 

magnuzno

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thank you for the great insight and suggestions.

I was DNIF for 11 months until the beginning of this year. I got back into the jet and have been flying for 9 months. As I go DNIF again, the one year profile timer would presumably have reset and I could wait another year. Everyone wants me to fly, so I imagine they won't be rushing me to a med board.

What are the implications of code 37? What can I do to effect that decision?

One option is I go exactly as Guardguy11 suggested. The biggest drawback I see to this is I'll have to be around my squadron for a year while not flying. I have some anxiety about that, it was much easier last year during covid with all the teleworking. I can figure it out.

The other option I've considered is trying to get out asap and go get on with an airline. That would mean continuing to put off at least some of the medical conditions for another year or more.

To give a little more detail on my health: I am right on the cusp of a mental health diagnosis. My phychiatrist let me "think about" starting an SSBI which would prevent me from flying for at least the short term. I've been in therapy for over a year, almost all of which has been undocumented until seeing the phychiatrist.

I have 6 herniated discs between my back and neck that would also likely result in being considered unfit. I have poor sleep (passed a sleep apnea test), day time fatigue, and weekly bad headaches.
 

Guardguy11

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What are the implications of code 37? What can I do to effect that decision?
The implications of a code 37 is that is starts the whole process. Once you get coded, it will initiation a Deployment Availability Working Group (DAWG) meeting which they will most likely say you should be med boarded.

The only thing you can do with you MH provider is tell them the true about your condition. From the sounds of it, the truth will cause them to put you into a code 37. It doesn't have to be a complete "clock reset". If at any point your provider feels that your condition will not improve within 365 days, they can code you as 37.

The other option I've considered is trying to get out asap and go get on with an airline. That would mean continuing to put off at least some of the medical conditions for another year or more.
This is certainly an option and the civilian airlines time off policy and return to flight program is much less stringent than the Air Force BUT you would still have your conditions.


To give a little more detail on my health: I am right on the cusp of a mental health diagnosis. My phychiatrist let me "think about" starting an SSBI which would prevent me from flying for at least the short term. I've been in therapy for over a year, almost all of which has been undocumented until seeing the phychiatrist.

I have 6 herniated discs between my back and neck that would also likely result in being considered unfit. I have poor sleep (passed a sleep apnea test), day time fatigue, and weekly bad headaches.
There are a few terms to consider heavily at this stage; referred, unreferred, fitting and unfitting. From the sounds of it, your unfitting condition (what disqualifies you from service) is your mental health. All of the rest will most likely fall into the fitting / unreferred category. That means that the DOD doesn't care about it and will keep you in service but the VA may consider those conditions for rating.

When you go through the Chapter 61 process, DOD and VA ratings are separate and they are based on the referred and unreferred conditions.

Hope this helps.
 

magnuzno

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
The implications of a code 37 is that is starts the whole process.

Wow thanks for the great write up.

My MH provider this week listed my condition as adjustment disorder. This was what she told me when I pressed her for it, after I told her I was still weighing if I should take the SSBI. I don't think she'll put this in as a Code 37 yet.

I wonder if I should start that conversation with my primary? He respects me and knows I'm going through a lot (and for over 2 years now). But as you pointed out, it will be much tougher to get my spinal issues and headaches rated as unfit.

I'm going to continue to work with the MH clinic. Unfortunately they are scheduling appointments a month out due to limited staff... The whole thing is crazy to me considering I told them I was going through some pretty serious stuff. When I said no to the drug they basically sent me on my way with an appointment a month out.
 

Guardguy11

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Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Wow thanks for the great write up.

My MH provider this week listed my condition as adjustment disorder. This was what she told me when I pressed her for it, after I told her I was still weighing if I should take the SSBI. I don't think she'll put this in as a Code 37 yet.

I wonder if I should start that conversation with my primary? He respects me and knows I'm going through a lot (and for over 2 years now). But as you pointed out, it will be much tougher to get my spinal issues and headaches rated as unfit.

I'm going to continue to work with the MH clinic. Unfortunately they are scheduling appointments a month out due to limited staff... The whole thing is crazy to me considering I told them I was going through some pretty serious stuff. When I said no to the drug they basically sent me on my way with an appointment a month out.
I am sorry to hear about the delay in care. Don't hesitate to seek immediate help if needed. Mental health doesn't get the glory of physical ailments but is harder to get through. Schedule a civilian doctor if you need to. As a matter of fact, you can get 10 "free" counseling sessions provided by military one source. I've used it multiple times and it quite literally saved my life.


Bottom line, your military journey is rapidly coming to an end and as shitty as it sounds, the military isn't going to care about you much longer. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself.
 

magnuzno

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I'm grateful for your help so far. This week I accepted an SSRI for my anxiety quick has basically put my flying career on hold.

I have a few more medical appointments and interventions over the next few weeks for various problems. As I navigate those, I'm going to try and figure out how (or if) I talk over separation options with my flight doc.
 
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