PDBR: I was denied. Things I learned along the way. Take this advice!

Crewjohn

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Hello All,

I just found out today (8/1/19) that I have been denied my PDBR. Apparently, I was denied last November, but they didn't tell me until now (and I've been in the same house for 10 years).

My injury: Nasty sports injury on my right knee. I was sent into surgery, multiple screws in my right knee, limited duty, and discharged. I was rated 10% and warned by my superiors not to fight it.

Like many others, I got the PDBR letter in the mail telling me that I was a part of a group of medically separated vets who were given lower ratings than we should have been. And like many others, I went to my VSO and we filled out the form together. He attached a couple of medical records of mine and we sent it off.

Let me say this up front; I love my VSO. Don and I are good friends. We hang out outside of the office. BUT, he had never heard of a PDBR and didn't really know how to go about it. So we filled it out and mailed it in.

After getting into the process and receiving the letters along the way, I realized that I'd messed up. I tried contacting multiple lawyers that I found on this forum AFTER my claim was in process. All of them told me that they couldn't help me and that I should have contacted them before hand. That was it, no help.

My advice: Do not apply for the PDBR without the help of a lawyer! I know you're excited to get the process started and also that you want it in the pipeline so that you're not waiting years for a response. But trust me, you want someone who knows this process. I blindly sent my application in, and it bit me. Now I can't appeal.

Like others, I got my hopes up. Major surgery, screws, I was discharged and lost my career. I'd questioned my low rating but didn't fight it because I was young and didn't know any better. So I thought this might be the way to make it right. How naive I am.

DO NOT GO INTO THIS PROCESS WITHOUT A COMPETENT LAWYER HELPING YOU WITH THIS!!!!!!

This process was made non-transparent, non-communicative, and unhelpful by the congress and pentagon for a reason. They want to grease people through, deny them, and then say that they 'tried'. We vets are used to this treatment.

If you are reading this before filling out your claim, STOP! Get a lawyer. I know that they are expensive; and most take half of your benefit as compensation (so if you get $20,000 in back pay they get $10,000 of it). Trust me, this is nothing compared to what you will get in return.

Good luck to all. I'm signing off.

-John
 

Rater81

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I'm so very sorry to hear about your decision. I know Lawyers Serving Warriors does Pro Bono work for those that had a 30% VA rating on the condition that they were medically discharged. NVLSP Sorry again to hear your news. I'm afraid it's this way for most people. They just try to get away with whatever they can not to retire people that deserve it.
 

Crewjohn

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
Thanks for the kind words Rater. I put this experience under the column of "They made a new program for vets and then made 100 restrictions to where no one can qualify for it........but the government can look like they're giving a shit"

I should have been a banker.
 

RonG

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Hello,

Your recommendation that veterans enlist the aid of an attorney for a PDBR appeal is excellent.

I too am sorry your appeal was not approved.

Some do benefit from the review to determine whether they received a proper rating previously.

Approximately one year ago, Stars and Stripes reported, "...Greg Johnson, PDRB director, provided written responses to two dozen questions on the board’s operations. Overall, he explained, 42 percent of applicants receive a recommendation that their original rating be upgraded. Their service branch has the final say on whether a recommendation is approved but in almost every instance they have been. To date, 47 percent of Army veterans who applied got a recommendation for upgrade, and 18 percent saw their rating increased to at least 30 percent to qualify for disability retirement." This is only an excerpt from a longer article.


I have no doubt that challenging the initial rating is difficult as evidenced by your remarks and the relatively low number of applicants who later received increases to =>30%.

Regards,
Ron
 

chaplaincharlie

Super Moderator
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Lifetime Supporter
Registered Member
Anytime a person goes through a legal process with long term consequences they don;t understand, an attorney with relevant experience is necessary.
 

visserjr3

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
I am sorry to hear this John. As others have pointed out, the numbers are against us statistically. However, you are a person who is loved and valued by people known to you. Don't let this define you. Some ambiguous board made a recommendation, but it does not change who you are or the sacrifices you made for this country.
 

Crewjohn

PEB Forum Regular Member
Registered Member
I am sorry to hear this John. As others have pointed out, the numbers are against us statistically. However, you are a person who is loved and valued by people known to you. Don't let this define you. Some ambiguous board made a recommendation, but it does not change who you are or the sacrifices you made for this country.

Thanks for the kind words. But this is the nail on the coffin as far as my 'veteran' status. I've been pulling away from it for years. I don't wear the shirts, nor camo gear. I don't tell people I served. I'm pretty much severed emotionally from the whole thing.

My advice to my three children is simple; it's no longer advantageous to serve our nation. The nation will most certainly not serve you back. It's unfortunate, but true. They've seen the mountain of envelopes from the VA, half of which are baloney, the other half is bad news. They've met the men we have at my backyard fire circle with a missing hand, or multiple divorces. They remember the man from fire circle that committed suicide.

Funny enough, I got a meeting with my congressman about this process (PDBR). My advice was that since the pentagon was caught red handed lowering our ratings, then it should have been automatic to move us all to 30% and retire us. Spend money on a board that does that, not on a board designed to deny claims.

Anyway, you get my emotions on this. But I'm done. As far as the world knows, I never served this nation nor will they find out.

Thanks again for the kind words.

-John
 
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