Chapter 5-17 during an MEB


Registered Member
In July of last year I was discharged on a Chap. 5-17 with a character of service as "Uncharacterized" after being recommended for an MEB for a high grade tear of the obturator externus (hip). I filed a VA claim immediately when I returned home. In October I received an email in EBenefits stating that I had an IDES rating of 10% or more. Upon further research I learned that IDES is the system used for the MEB process. Finally, a year later the VA completes my claim. I haven't received my award letter as of yet and upon browsing other forums learned about Benefits Explorer since I couldn't get any info from Payment history or VA letters. It states that I have 20% VA and 20% Military. Does this mean that I was given 20% for the MEB? And what does this mean as far as other benefits (education, etc.)?


PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
What is a 5-17. What was the basis of the discharge?

From AR 635-300...

5–17. Other designated physical or mental conditions
a. Commanders specified in paragraph 1–19 may approve separation under this paragraph on the basis of other
physical or mental conditions not amounting to disability (AR 635–40) and excluding conditions appropriate for
separation processing under paragraph 5–11 or 5–13 that potentially interfere with assignment to or performance of
duty. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to—
(1) Chronic airsickness.
(2) Chronic seasickness.
(3) Enuresis.
(4) Sleepwalking.
(5) Dyslexia.
(6) Severe nightmares.
(7) Claustrophobia.
(8) Transsexualism/gender transformation in accordance with AR 40-501 paragraph 3-35.
AR 635–200 • 6 June 2005/RAR 17 December 2009 57
(9) Other disorders manifesting disturbances of perception, thinking, emotional control or behavior sufficiently
severe that the Soldier’s ability to effectively perform military duties is significantly impaired. Soldiers with 24 months
or more of active duty service may be separated under this paragraph based on a diagnosis of personality disorder. For
Soldiers who have been deployed to an area designated as an imminent danger pay area, the diagnosis of personality
disorder must be corroborated by the MTF Chief of Behavioral Health (or an equivalent official). The corroborated
diagnosis will be forwarded for final review and confirmation by the Director, Proponency of Behavioral Health, Office
of the Surgeon General (DASG-HSZ). Medical review of the personality disorder diagnosis will consider whether
PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and/or other comorbid mental illness may be significant contributing factors to
the diagnosis. If PTSD, TBI, and/or other comorbid mental illness are significant contributing factors to a mental health
diagnosis, the Soldier will not be processed for separation under this paragraph, but will be evaluated under the
physical disability system in accordance with AR 635-40.
(a) The condition of the personality disorder is a deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior of long duration
that interferes with the Soldier’s ability to perform duty. (exceptions: combat exhaustion and other acute situational
maladjustments.) The diagnosis of personality disorder must have been established by a psychiatrist or doctoral-level
clinical psychologist with necessary and appropriate professional credentials who is privileged to conduct mental health
evaluation for the DOD components. It is described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM–IV) of Mental
Disorders, 4th edition.
(b) In the case of Soldiers who are, or have been, deployed to an area designated as imminent danger pay area, the
diagnosis of a mental condition not amounting to disability will be reviewed by the installation MTF Chief of
Behavioral Health, or the equivalent, and confirmed by the Director, Proponency of Behavioral Health, Office of The
Surgeon General (DASG-HSZ).
b. When a commander determines that a Soldier has a physical or mental condition that potentially interferes with
assignment to or performance of duty, the commander will refer the Soldier for a medical examination and/or mental
status evaluation in accordance with AR 40–501. Command-directed mental status evaluations will comply with
paragraph 1–32e. A recommendation for separation must be supported by documentation confirming the existence of
the physical or mental condition.
c. Separation processing may not be initiated under this paragraph until the Soldier has been counseled formally
concerning deficiencies and has been afforded ample opportunity to overcome those deficiencies as reflected in
appropriate counseling or personnel records. (See para 1–16.)
d. Nothing in this paragraph precludes separation of a Soldier having a condition as described in a, above, under any
other provision of this regulation.
e. Prior to involuntary separation under this paragraph, the notification procedure in chapter 2, section I; or the
administrative board procedure in chapter 2, section II, will be utilized.
f. For characterization or description of service, see paragraph 5–1.
g. Except for Soldiers being separated under paragraph 5–17a(9) for personality disorder who have deployed to an
area designated as an imminent danger pay area, commanders specified in paragraph 1–19 are authorized to order
separation under this paragraph. See paragraph 1–11 for additional instructions for ARNGUS and USAR Soldiers. The
criteria in chapter 1, section VII, will govern whether the Soldier will be released from AD or ADT with transfer to the
IRR, or discharged. The separation authority for Soldiers separated under paragraph 5–17a(9) for a personality disorder
who have been deployed to an area designated as imminent danger pay area is the GCMCA.


Registered Member
The basis was Chap 5-17 (other mental/physical conditions) but it was for "hip pain." While waiting to be chaptered out of the Army for "hip pain" they finally diagnosed me with the torn obturator externus via MRI while looking for sports hernia. The doctor recommended me for an MEB but my unit continued with the 5-17. I thought an MEB takes precedence over any other discharges besides bad conduct . . .


PEB Forum Veteran
Can you please answer these questions to help me understand your situation better:
1) how long were you in the service when you got chaptered? (Usually, am uncharacterized discharge is reserved for those with less than 6 months of service,e.g. basic trainees)
2) Did you receive any money from DoD after you got discharged?
3) When you state you doctor recommended an MEB, did the doctor note that recommendation on your profile (that action would initiate an MEB) OR did he write on your chapter paperwork that your medical condition did not meet retention standards (that action would satisfy the requirements of the chapter)?
4) what does your discharge orders say? It would seem very strange that an MEB transpired without your participation. Especially after you have already been discharged under a chapter. Very peculiar.

Your initial posting makes reference to conflicting facts that put you in a chapter as well as an MEB simultaneously. When you get chaptered, you do NOT get any money unless you have served 6 YEARS or more. Whereas with an MEB, a percentage less than 30 % would generate severance pay.



Registered Member
You're right, it is very conflicting. That's why I have so many questions. I was in basic training when the chapter paperwork was initiated for a chapter 5-17 for hip pain. While waiting for my chapter discharge to finish, the Dr. started an MEB which was was noted on my profile on 07/01/2011 after finding a high-grade muscle tear of the obturator externus with tendon retraction and after complaining for 3 months of of the hip pain. On 07/07/2011 I was discharged via chapter 5-17. I did not receive any severance. And I did not have EPTS for anything. I filed a VA claim when I returned home for the torn Obturator Externus, and in January put in another claim for FAI and labral tear of the hip, which the VA had combined stating the torn hip muscle is now being claimed as FAI and labral tear. Although I sent in a statement in support of claim in March saying that these are not one injury, but three they combined all three as one claim. In October 2011, I received many emails through Ebenefits, but the one that caught my attention was for VR&E . ..."We understand that you are in the process of separating from the military and have received an IDES rating of 10% or more. You are therefore eligible to apply to apply to the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) VetSuccess program." In January I had contacted my Congressman's office for help since I had yet to even have a C&P appt. I had also applied to the Army Board of Corrections in April to have my DD214 changed to discharged due to disability. I had 2 C&P appointments in Feb and Mar. In June I received payment of earned leave from the Army. Yesterday I received my packet from the VA stating that they're awarding me 10% for "extension of the thigh limited to 5 degrees or less" and 10% for "limitation of adduction of the thigh, cannot cross legs." For service connection for Acetabular impingement, claimed as torn right hip muscle, acetabular tear, and femoral acetabular impingement. I have tried to call the Physical Disability Agency this morning, but I keep getting a Verizon voicemail. I'm not sure what to do, but I think I've been screwed and what I want in the end is medical care for my disabilities and the GI Bill so I can get on my merry way. I have also been reading that the medical care I need for these issues are not covered under Tricare, so again I feel like I've been kicked in the face. I was not able to complete training for my MOS (12M) since I couldn't pass the physical exam due to my injury and I was not offered to reclass.

Ed Mercanti

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
To be processed under the DES you have to have a medical condition which is medically disqualifying for RETENTION. Sounds to me that the finding was medically disqualified under PROCUREMENT standards, but qualified for retention. In such a situation the military has to separate you because you cannot complete initial entry training, but cannot medically board you.


Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Was this from an injury that occurred after you entered service? If so, MEB/PEB is in order. See DoDI 1332.38 for circumstances where they can discharge without a MEB/PEB but those center on prexisting conditions w/o service aggravation.


Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Below is the relevant section form DoDI 1332.38. As you will read, it is pretty tough standard to kick one out without a MEB/PEB but that standard is often ignored or not understood by local units all the way up the chain to the Secretary of the Army level and DoD as well. If the condition was not noted on your entry physical, it cannot be deemed EPTS without clear and unmistakable evidence that it existed prior to service and, if EPTS, clear and unmistakable evidence that it was not further aggravated while in service. As you can see from E3.P2.5.4. below, all a member would need to do is contest the service aggravation issue to stop such a chapter and receive a MEB/PEB. No doubt nobody told you this at the time.

Again, the standards are often ignored or not understood and the wounded warrior ends up paying the price.

Once the MEB was started, it is required to cover all medical conditions.

Indeed in sounds like your case is screwed up seven ways to Sunday. Make sure you pass this info on to whoever is reviewing your case so that can base their review on the standard.

E3.P2.5. Members with a Nonwaivered Pre-Existing Condition.

Service members who are identified with nonwaivered medical conditions or physical defects that existed prior to service may be administratively separated without referral into the DES when the medical condition meets all the criteria listed in subsections E3.P2.5.1. through E3.P2.5.4., below:

E3.P2.5.1. The medical impairment is identified prior to or within 180 days of the member's initial entry on active duty or active duty for training or full-time National Guard duty.

E3.P2.5.2. The medical impairment does not meet accession standards under DoD Directive 6130.3 (reference (e)).

E3.P2.5.3. The impairment is not a condition that is cause for referral to the PEB under enclosure 4 or Service supplemental medical standards.

E3.P2.5.4. Service aggravation of the impairment has not occurred. If the Service member contests the “not Service aggravated” determination by the physician recommendingseparation, the member may request the MEB be forwarded to the PEB for review.

Ed Mercanti

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
AR 635-40

a. Objectives of standards.
To ensure all Soldiers are physically qualified to perform their duties in a reasonable manner, medical retention qualification standards have been established in AR 40–501, chapter 3. These standards include guidelines for applying them to fitness decisions in individual cases. These guidelines are used to refer Soldiers to a MEB.

3–1. Standards of unfitness because of physical disability
The mere presences of an impairment does not, of itself, justify a finding of unfitness because of physical disability. In each case, it is necessary to compare the nature and degree of physical disability present with the requirements of the duties the Soldier reasonably may be expected to perform because of their office, grade, rank, or rating.
a. Objectives of standards.
To ensure all Soldiers are physically qualified to perform their duties in a reasonable
manner, medical retention qualification standards have been established in AR 40–501, chapter 3. These standards include guidelines for applying them to fitness decisions in individual cases. These guidelines are used to refer Soldiers to a MEB.

So, what does a command do with a soldier who is medically qualified for retention but has a condition which precludes his or her completion of initial entry training?


Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
MEB/PEB. Unfit because they cannot perform common military tasks. You can be found unfit even if the conditon meets retention standards.

AR 40-501 #-41) has a catch all for such circumstances:

e. Miscellaneous conditions and defects.

Conditions and defects not mentioned elsewhere in this chapter are causes
for referral to an MEB, if—

(1) The conditions (individually or in combination) result in interference with satisfactory performance of duty as substantiated by the individual’s commander or supervisor. Any medical condition, injury or defect (individually or in combination) that prevents the Soldie
r from performing any of the functional activities listed under item number 5 on DA Form 3349 (Physical Profile).



Registered Member
I was hoping that with the evidence I had sent in to ARBA, my 214 would be corrected to show discharged due to disability and I would be done with this mess. That wasn't the case. I checked the status of the app on ACTSOnline yesterday and it said that the board denied it. I don't know the reason as of yet, but I really don't understand how it could have been denied.
maparker, my injury would definitely fall under AR 40-501 3-14n since I had a complete tear of a tendon that attaches to a major joint (hip).
JUSTICE, From what I've read, I think it would be disqualifying under both procurement and retention.
This injury is not pre-existing and it does not fall under a Chapter 5-17. I'm not sure how else to prove that an MEB was started. I gave them medical records, profile, and MRI results. I called a lawyer in the Houston area and was told that he has no doubt I could win the case, but he wants $10k to do so. There has to be another way . . .
Also, in order to get an IDES rating, I would have to be referred into the DES system-right? Would the US Army Physical Disability agency be able to tell me anything even though I was discharged before the MEB was finished?
Hind-site is 20/20, but knowledge is power. . . I wish I knew more about my rights and the process while I was still in.
A guy in another forum said to get help from the VA. I don't think they could help me with this-can they?

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Sounds like you will have to file a suit in the Court of Federal Claims to pursue this further (you could go to Federal District Court, but I tend to think Court of Claims is the better venue for these types of claims). The VA cannot help you address this issue (however, their findings and the exams they conduct can be used as evidence in court).
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