Hello all.

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#1
Well I just got a certified letter from the PDRB last month. totally shocked me, I had given up on the Med Sep I got. I was an Infantryman with over 19 years combined service (6 NG then 12 active). I ended up rupturing two discs in my back while on patrol in Iraq OIF III. L4-L5 and L5- S1, central prolapse with nerve impingement. Needless to say I got pulled out of country and sent stateside for surgery. After Surgery for the L5-S1, I was told by the battalion surgeon, take the board or take a p2 profile, we promise not to deploy you for OIF V. This was six months after my surgery. I chose the board thinking I had no other alternative, since I couldn't carry any weight, (Infantry). I was boarded, asked for a reclass, denied and awarded 10% and severance pay. I believe they only gave me the MEB rating based on chronic back pain. The VA gave me 30%, 20% for the back and 10% for the nerve damage in my left leg. I didn't appeal the MEB due to 1. being pulled out of a combat zone and all the stress that brings, 2. being doped up for the pain at the time 3. going through a hell of a time with the wife reintegrating and worrying about not only my health but my career. So long story short, I thought I got hosed but figured once I took what was offered I was stuck. So my question is, how long is the process and what are the chances of getting anything higher for my case?

J. de la Torre
SFC / USA VET
 

FPF-HITT

Registered Member
#2
First off thank you for your service to our nation; now for the run down. The PDBR is a slow drawn out process so dig in and get comfortable. There is an Air Force website that you can go to (conduct a Google search for PDBR results and it will be one of the first few listed results) and you can see what the PDBR has decided on cases like yours by typing chronic back pain in the search box. The first one I opened was for an infantryman who was upgraded from 20℅ severance to permanent retirement. It's no guarantee that your outcome will be the same but more a gage of the reasoning the PDBR uses in similar and like cases. Second, you can look up your diagnoses on the VASRD code for your condition to see what the PDBR will be using to decide what kind of rating would be fair and to see if the army used the VASRD in effect at the time of discharge. There will be three board members deciding at the PDBR review board. You only need 2 of the 3 to decide in your case or and for the army to accept the decision. Finally be thankful to Colonel Michael Parker for making this second chance possible. Words cannot express the true magnitude of his selfless efforts when it comes to fighting for disabled veterans rights. Good luck.
 

FPF-HITT

Registered Member
#3
Also, look up the national veterans legal services program NVLSP and they will provide you pro Bono legal representation for the PDBR filing. You want a strong legal justification written for your case. The whole process takes about a year for them to gather your medical documents and build a strong case but it's worth the wait. If you just file a PDBR claim and say review it just because it's not fair, you will more than likely get the same result. Read your PEB and MEB and bounce it off the VASRD and if there are any inconsistencies, you will get a good idea if your separation was justified or not.
 

Keebs

Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
#4
Welcome to the board!

The PDBR process is approximately 2 years from start to finish. They will only review conditions you were medically separated for. They will use your VA records and comp and pen exam when comparing it to your military medical records and the percentages they rated you at. They will also review any treatment records you send in from private physicians.

As far as having an attorney, people have applied without one and have been successful. I am one. The VA, and your locals Veterans Service Officer can also help you apply. My VA social worker did. I don't want you to read posts and think you can only be successful if you use an attorney. But you do need to weigh each of your options and decide what is best for you!

As far as reading other decisions you are more than welcome to do that! But know that each case is different and so each outcome will be different. I am not trying to come in here and rain on a parade but I don't want you to have the assumption that if someone else has a case similar to yours and they got a positive outcome that you should expect a positive outcome as well.

Many of the regular members in this board are very knowledgeable and we are always here to help and answer questions!
 

FPF-HITT

Registered Member
#5
And like I stated before, reading other PDBR decisions similar to yours would just be a gauge of what kind of rational they use in rating like conditions and not a gaurantee. The only conditions that have a high success rate for permanent retirement are ones for PTSD or other mental health issues. For issues like yours, you are probably going to want a legal firm to represent yours. The PDBR was created because people like Colonel Parker identified the low ball ratings that combat veterans were getting due to the disregard for the VASRD when they were being boarded. For physical issues it was occurring but not as much as mental health. Jason Perry, the creator of this site also recommends for representation going into the PDBR. I've read all the cases on file and again, the only conditions with a high rate of success with or with representation are mental health conditions. Remember, this is a government run process and they aren't here to help you as the whole process was forced upon them by Congress. Don't take my word on any of this, do your research and make a well informed decision. There is no appeal process. If you fail at the pdbr, the only redress is federal court.
 

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#6
thank you all for your response and support. I always found it disheartening when I got my board results in Feb. 2007, then processed out in may 2007. I kept in contact with a few guys from division med hold who had the same if not similar injuries who processed out after I did. I was shocked when they got 30% med retirement with decisions only a few months after my board. I will look into the representation angle and will kinda let the results work there coarse. At the time of my MEB process, my buddy had the exact same injury and elected to roll the dice and took a P2, he only had 3 years to go for regular retirement. Three surgeries later he retired from active duty but had a bad recovery and cant walk to well now. I on the other hand only had 12 1/2 years active but was getting paid over 19 due to my previous NG service. I had 8 years to go for regular retirement with no guarantee I would have been kept no deployable. I always found it funny how while making all those life changing decisions I was doped up on pain meds 24/7. I felt my unit railroaded me to make a decision to board, rather than give me enough time to rehab after surgery. heck I wasn't even offered a re-class due to being a branch certified E-7 Infantry (there excuse for not re-classing me). anyway I hope and pray for a better result for the PDRB, after all it is a chance that I had no idea about. I never claimed PTSD even though I know I suffer from it. I haven't even claimed it through the VA. I don't rust the government to Label me as defective or sum such. LOL anyway I will keep track on the boards and look forward to interacting with you all.

J. de la Torre
Rock Blue 4 Ancient
 

FPF-HITT

Registered Member
#7
Just remember, there are no legal experts that are giving advice in this forum besides Jason Perry from time to time. He represents veterans in affairs such as these with a high success rate but his services come at a cost. When he writes, listen and take it for the gospel. Colonel Parker isn't a lawyer but he knows his stuff and every veteran who has been awarded retirement through the PDBR owes him a bit of gratitude. Without him, there would be no PDBR. I dropped off this site in 2014 because of the way he was disrespected by some rear ecehlon 63 H who became a subject matter expert on the PDBR and tried to tell col Parker how things were. Colonel Parker put him in his place in a highly professional manner but it was enough to make me drop off. The panel of PDBR personnel are the same kind of personnel who were doing boards back in the day when the services were disregarding the VASRD a d using illegally written service regulations to low ball ratings. If you have a lawyer who knows veterans rights and understands the MEB, PEB and TDRL process, they will be able to identify where the services did not follow federal law and than draw out a crystal clear picture for the PDBR on how your case should have been decided based off of federal laws. The NVLSP will file your app for free and get you free legal representation for the duration of a PDBR review. You wouldn't go into a movement to contact against an armor column without anti tank weapons. I wouldn't recommend going before another military review board without legal experts overseeing the process. The PDBR is pretty consistent with the way they rate disabilities which is why I say to find cases similar to yours to serve a gauge to the rational they use.
 

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#9
About how long after you first file the paperwork do you get any response that they have your packet. Not to try and rush anything but I feel like I mailed the form into a government black hole.
 

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#12
Funny thing I found on my MEB paperwork. They rated me 10% for chronic back pain as related to the Herniated discs along the line of VASD 5243. It referenced the 2808 med form which indicated both muscular skeletal #36 and neurological #39, but only shows on the med exam (2808) the muscular skeletal #36 narrative. No narrative or indications they listed on the exam about the Neurological results. Looking this and comparing it to the VA decision, the VA gave me 20% for the same injury and a secondary 10% for the Nerve damage in my left leg. The MEB paperwork indicated they calculated both those injuries in the same rating.
 

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#13
well may 1st got my letter telling me they have my application and have a case number assigned... Whoo hoo forward progress.
 

ultrapc1969

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#14
well may 1st got my letter telling me they have my application and have a case number assigned... Whoo hoo forward progress.
Glad to hear you got your letter I guess we will be in the same group of waiting for collection of our records which from what I am seeing is a 3-6 month or longer process depending on the VA and Army SP time line. Again Cong-rads.
 

jdelatorre

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#16
Well as of 2/08/2018 I received email saying my medical rinsurance cords have all been collected and forwarded to the board. Only 8 months since my last status check saying they were still being collected. Forward progress.
 
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