Common issues in the IDES process

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#1


So, you are starting in the military disability process....you probably feel like the characters above.

Let me point out several pointers and common errors that impact folks in getting to a favorable outcome.

1) Make an honest and fair evaluation of your situation and your goals as early as possible- then fight for your desired outcome.
I have stated this countless times. One of the best things you can do to get the outcome you desire is to decide as early as possible what your desired outcome is. I have come across many cases where the member gets a bad outcome because they have "waffled" on what they want. For example, I have seen many cases where a member really wants to be found fit and continue their career. So, at the MEB level and the IPEB level, they minimize their conditions. They don't seek medical care, treatment, or documentation of their conditions. They submit letters arguing that they are doing fine, or mention to their doctor (who records the statement in the treatment notes) that they have no problems. Then, when it is apparent that the member is going to be found unfit, they change their argument and try to argue the opposite- that they are unfit and should be retired. Some members, depending on their condition or the rating criteria applicable to them can still get a retirement finding depending on their situation and the facts of their case. However, many members do poorly when they switch their arguments later in the process. Often, a problem is lack of evidence.

2) Make sure you exercise your rights.

I can't count the number of cases that I have come across where folks felt they were wronged, knew the outcome was bad, but accepted findings that hurt them. Later, they want to fight their case out. Sometimes this is possible and a bad situation can be corrected. However, it is rarely the case that agreeing to something you know is wrong helps the case. If you don't understand something, get educated on it or ask for help. That is what we are here for, too. Rarely (really, almost never) does it help to give up rights. Fight for what you want if you have a reasonable basis for your belief in something.



3) Get educated on the issues and understand what your issues are


Understand the issues in your case. Normally, they are your fitness to continue to serve, your potential disability ratings and compensation, the combat related nature of your conditions, your entitlement to other benefits (Social Security, taxation, healthcare, education, and employment benefits).



4) The process will likely take a lot of time



There are guidelines for the time it should take to process a case, start to finish. These are only guidelines. Cases can move faster or slower. Don't be surprised about either situation. Bottom line, definitely look to what others are facing and check up on processing timelines results from recent cases. However, understand that "average" case timelines may not apply to you. To the best of your ability, prepare for a longer or shorter timeline.

5) Don't give up before the "game is over"




As Chris Webber said, "Run through the tape!!"

At almost every level of the process, there are appeals. If you have a case that can be "won," but have not so far, continue to gather evidence, continue to press your appeals, and continue to fight. The only caveat is that if fighting further is not likely to work in your favor or if the costs are greater than what the fight will gain gain you, then know that you have done your best and move on (at the point, the "game" is over).

6) Don't assume that because you have been wronged you will win

Be clear on the legal issues and what matters vice the issues where you have been wronged but it does not matter (unfortunately, this is a truth- you can be wronged but, depending on the issue, it does not mean you will "win"). Often folks focus on the wrong issues (like, someone doing them wrong, but causing no prejudice or legal error). Keep your shot group tight and focus on the issues that matter.

7) Get the care you need

You health is a primary issue. Don't suffer in silence.
A pervasive error (especially for combat arms folks, pilots, those with certain security clearances, etc.) is not getting conditions addressed or evaluated. The military culture often says, "suck it up and drive on." That can be a valuable survival tool in the right situation. But, the flip side is that you have to take care of yourself. If you need help, get it! You do yourself and your unit a disservice if you are unable to function as needed. If you are broken, you can't help accomplish the mission and you need help, GET HELP! You will improve your health and document your issues in most cases if you do so.


8) Have a plan

Whether you get the correct outcome or not, you are going to move through this process. Have a plan for what comes next. This applies equally to those who get a good or a bad outcome. The future is coming one way or another. Have a plan for any outcome and thrive based on the plan. Just sitting back and seeing what happens does not count as a plan.


9) Don't have tunnel vision

This is related to both point 8), and point 10). Understand that what you think are the issues and the likely outcomes may not be the case. You have to take a wider view and take control of your future. Be flexible and persevere.


10) Bask in your success, determine to fight for your right, or let it all go. Either way, prepare to move on.



At some point, you will receive a decision in your case. If it is a good one, then, congratulations! You have earned it. If you have not received a good outcome, then make a decision (see point 1, above) as to whether you will continue the fight or whether you will let it go. If you ultimately do decide to let it go, then have a plan for what is next for you- school, work, or something else. If you have no plan, then the world will enforce some decisions on you- decisions that you may not like or are not best for you.

These are just some thoughts and words of wisdom. Use what is helpful. Reject what is not. Either way, best of luck to you as you start on this journey and come out on the other side! Read up on the issues in your case, post questions, share your experiences, and take pride in what you have accomplished. You are already a better person for having served. Give yourself credit for making the best of your situation, and if you can, help others along the way.

Thanks for your service, and count yourself as being part of an elite group- those who have served and volunteered their service. I hope all goes well for everyone who read this.

Any questions or issues, please post them, or start your own thread if you have specific issues!
 

eps17

PEB Forum Veteran
#2
Very good points from someone who has been through the process and minimized their conditions to try and be found fit...only to fail and end up with a 10% rating from the USAF and a 100% rating from the VA.

Very good advice. Don't do what I did folks.
 

nwlivewire

PEB Forum Veteran
#5

ranger2992

PEB Forum Veteran
#6
Ok folks this thread is not a question and answer thread. Jason took the time to write all this out as a simple guideline for new members. If you have something you see that he may have missed, post it. Otherwise start your own thread, or search out threads that address your situation specifically. I will be deleting, or moving posts that don't meet these guidelines.

Joe
 

Busyarmymom

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#7
This is an awesome post. I cannot say how awesome this is.

Especially the "don't quit". No matter how tired, frustrated, and impossible it seems, don't quit (of course, unless it will hurt you to continue on).

As a Soldier, you have faced many PT test, or Friday morning runs where you were literally puking at the end. You were so tired, and so worn out, that you were bent over from pain, and you were throwing up your guts. The MED Board is like that. Sometimes, you are going to finish the MED Board on your knees, or low crawling across the finish line. That is ok. Just make sure you don't give up.

No matter how bad of a day I am having, I always tell people, Don't make the MED board force you to quit.

I credit this forum for saving my MED Board. Thank you!
 

LTCWIFE

Registered Member
#8
When I found this forum and read a good many of the posts...well..it brought back so much of the process that my husband and I have been and still are going through!!!
The response from Busyarmymom is sssooo TRUE...you CANNOT give up...you must push yourself and your soldier FORWARD. Head to toe to name all of your "conditions"...do not leave anything out. If you have decided on your path and that path is to leave the service then please stick to that plan...waffling will hurt you or if nothing else slow you down to a crawl.
I cannot stress enough for the spouse of the military person to become INVOLVED with this whole process from the very beginning. I made this process for us "You & Me Against the World"...that world consisting of anyone or anything that would stand in our way of getting to the result that my husband wanted and needed for himself. Go with your soldier to every ACAP/PEBLO/VA/JAG meeting, every mandatory & informational class, every doctors appt and by all means get EVERY medical, prescription, sick call, dental, MRI, Xrays, CT Scans, VA C&P, etc record that exist. Most record offices have the capacity to copy the info to a CD and that's great, but the paper copies will also keep you from using your ink to give it to the PEBLO. KEEP COPIES OF ALL FORMS that you fill out and/or sign.
Once we met with the VA Rep to list his conditions we were told to stop going to the doctor...DON"T DO THAT!!! if something is wrong or you are just sick or you need surgery...go and have it taken cared of. It is best to do all of this BEFORE you are separated from active duty.
This is going to be a long process for a good many soldiers and you as the spouse can help them through all of this. Is it a lot, YES...will it be consuming, AT TIMES...does the soldier need you to assist, YES...will you benefit from learning what your soldier is told to do, MOST DEFINITELY. Hopefully you have a soldier like mine...one that welcomes and wants your assistance, your time and attention and your insights for how all of this will affect the family. Your soldier will love you for being involved and you will gain so much knowledge that will help all of you as this journey is happening and when it is all over.
Take care,
LTCWIFE
 

ranger2992

PEB Forum Veteran
#9
When I found this forum and read a good many of the posts...well..it brought back so much of the process that my husband and I have been and still are going through!!!
The response from Busyarmymom is sssooo TRUE...you CANNOT give up...you must push yourself and your soldier FORWARD. Head to toe to name all of your "conditions"...do not leave anything out. If you have decided on your path and that path is to leave the service then please stick to that plan...waffling will hurt you or if nothing else slow you down to a crawl.
I cannot stress enough for the spouse of the military person to become INVOLVED with this whole process from the very beginning. I made this process for us "You & Me Against the World"...that world consisting of anyone or anything that would stand in our way of getting to the result that my husband wanted and needed for himself. Go with your soldier to every ACAP/PEBLO/VA/JAG meeting, every mandatory & informational class, every doctors appt and by all means get EVERY medical, prescription, sick call, dental, MRI, Xrays, CT Scans, VA C&P, etc record that exist. Most record offices have the capacity to copy the info to a CD and that's great, but the paper copies will also keep you from using your ink to give it to the PEBLO. KEEP COPIES OF ALL FORMS that you fill out and/or sign.
Once we met with the VA Rep to list his conditions we were told to stop going to the doctor...DON"T DO THAT!!! if something is wrong or you are just sick or you need surgery...go and have it taken cared of. It is best to do all of this BEFORE you are separated from active duty.
This is going to be a long process for a good many soldiers and you as the spouse can help them through all of this. Is it a lot, YES...will it be consuming, AT TIMES...does the soldier need you to assist, YES...will you benefit from learning what your soldier is told to do, MOST DEFINITELY. Hopefully you have a soldier like mine...one that welcomes and wants your assistance, your time and attention and your insights for how all of this will affect the family. Your soldier will love you for being involved and you will gain so much knowledge that will help all of you as this journey is happening and when it is all over.
Take care,
LTCWIFE
Good post LTCWIFE! That advice rings so true, yet is forgotten by so many. The feeling of wanting to be a "doer", and "accomplishing the mission" it a hard thing to get over, and understand the new mission is to make yourself, and your family whole again.

Anyway, I enjoyed your comments. Just out of curiosity, I am wondering if you are willing to share some of the things your husband saw happening as he went through the system? The reason I ask is it is rare that a senior leader goes through, and the perspective they have can be very helpful. Although they may not face the same roadblocks a SPC may have, I am sure they see things that don't meet "common sense" standards, and how the process can be improved. If it is easier, or makes him feel more comfortable, he is welcome to PM me, or he can post it in here. Either way, I will pass it along.

Thank You,

Joe
 

Warrior644

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#10
When I found this forum and read a good many of the posts...well..it brought back so much of the process that my husband and I have been and still are going through!!!
The response from Busyarmymom is sssooo TRUE...you CANNOT give up...you must push yourself and your soldier FORWARD. Head to toe to name all of your "conditions"...do not leave anything out. If you have decided on your path and that path is to leave the service then please stick to that plan...waffling will hurt you or if nothing else slow you down to a crawl.
I cannot stress enough for the spouse of the military person to become INVOLVED with this whole process from the very beginning. I made this process for us "You & Me Against the World"...that world consisting of anyone or anything that would stand in our way of getting to the result that my husband wanted and needed for himself. Go with your soldier to every ACAP/PEBLO/VA/JAG meeting, every mandatory & informational class, every doctors appt and by all means get EVERY medical, prescription, sick call, dental, MRI, Xrays, CT Scans, VA C&P, etc record that exist. Most record offices have the capacity to copy the info to a CD and that's great, but the paper copies will also keep you from using your ink to give it to the PEBLO. KEEP COPIES OF ALL FORMS that you fill out and/or sign.
Once we met with the VA Rep to list his conditions we were told to stop going to the doctor...DON"T DO THAT!!! if something is wrong or you are just sick or you need surgery...go and have it taken cared of. It is best to do all of this BEFORE you are separated from active duty.
This is going to be a long process for a good many soldiers and you as the spouse can help them through all of this. Is it a lot, YES...will it be consuming, AT TIMES...does the soldier need you to assist, YES...will you benefit from learning what your soldier is told to do, MOST DEFINITELY. Hopefully you have a soldier like mine...one that welcomes and wants your assistance, your time and attention and your insights for how all of this will affect the family. Your soldier will love you for being involved and you will gain so much knowledge that will help all of you as this journey is happening and when it is all over.
Take care,
LTCWIFE
Good post LTCWIFE! That advice rings so true, yet is forgotten by so many. The feeling of wanting to be a "doer", and "accomplishing the mission" it a hard thing to get over, and understand the new mission is to make yourself, and your family whole again.

Anyway, I enjoyed your comments. Just out of curiosity, I am wondering if you are willing to share some of the things your husband saw happening as he went through the system? The reason I ask is it is rare that a senior leader goes through, and the perspective they have can be very helpful. Although they may not face the same roadblocks a SPC may have, I am sure they see things that don't meet "common sense" standards, and how the process can be improved. If it is easier, or makes him feel more comfortable, he is welcome to PM me, or he can post it in here. Either way, I will pass it along.

Thank You,

Joe
Indeed, I agree; it does seem pretty rare to see Senior leaders within the DoD IDES MEB/PEB process! ;)

To that extent, my experiences within the DoD IDES process from referral to acceptance at 24 years of active duty service was as a Senior Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Army! :)

Moreover, I have posted numerous threads since becoming a PEB Forum member of my opinions and experiences while in the DoD IDES process for sure albeit the most prolific issue I observe is that the military service member becomes totally frustrated, basically gives up and wants out of the military immediately by signing the IPEB finding documentation without hesitation! :oops:

In my opinion, giving up to sign the IPEB findings just to depart the military is definitely not a wise decision in reference to a military service member's potential future military disability compensation benefit’s financial future! :confused:

As such, I have always and shall continue to always encourage all military service members within the DoD IDES MEB/PEB process and those who are eligible for military disability compensation benefits to "remain positively proactive and never default acceptance to potential injustice! Fight then continue to fight some more until receipt of those well-earned and well-deserved military disability compensation benefits!" :cool:

Although currently at a total of 564 calendar days while now awaiting military disability retirement, I was only partially successful within the DoD IDES MEB/PEB process with IMRs, MEB appeals, a PEB VARR submittal, and two Formal PEB appeal hearings :mad: with horrific SPEBC military legal representation.

Hmm indeed, if I didn't remain vigilant throughout the entire DoD IDES process, my opportunities at least for any kind of even partial success would have definitely been null and voided for sure in my opinion!

Thus, I quite often comment that "possessing well-informed knowledge is truly a powerful equalizer."

Best Wishes!
 
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Busyarmymom

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#11
I find some of these recent replies really interesting. Why? Because, at my WTU alone there are a few FULL BIRDs, a few more LTCs, and numerous MAJs being MED BOARDED. So, I kind of find this thread kind of strange. They probably have other ways of getting their information or help, so they don't openly ask for help, but some to a town hall meeting (where everyone is required to be there) and dang, there is brass everywhere you look. I just don't think they are open about their situation until you actually see them.
 
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