Pilot career ending, likely going to MEB

I am full time AGR in the Air National Guard. After 16 years time in service I'm about to toss in the towel. I've been fighting medical issues for at least three years now. I have several diagnosis that will likely be found unfitting. I was looking for some advice and suggestions. Specifically, I'm trying to drag my feet a bit on the way out to preserve income and pay for expenses. I would definitely be interested in CSP if that were an option. My command will likely be supportive but most people around me have little to no experience with this.

My recent diagnosis that may be found unfitting include hypersomnia, migraines, stress disorder, TBI, overactive bladder, and more than 5 herniated discs in my spine. I'm on disqualifying medications for several of these conditions.

I am planning to research my conditions to see what things I should be thinking about along the way. In particular, "stress disorder" is currently in my record as a placeholder for PTSD. I am going to be reevaluated for PTSD next week, if my scores are still similar then that will likely become my diagnosis.

Some of these diagnosis will be pretty detrimental to my flying career. I may never fly again. I'm debating on if I should weigh my desire to fly after I leave the military against my desire to get all this properly documented and treated.
 

chaplaincharlie

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Some of you diagnoses are likely to make a civilian flight physical unobtainable. Given that, my advice would be to pursue every diagnosis to the maximum. In the MEB process you will likely be referred for a PEB. During the PEB you will meet with a VA rep. S/He should help you file a full claim. I would walk into that meeting with a head to toe list of every medical condition that occurred during your TOS.
 

Provis

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I am full time AGR in the Air National Guard. After 16 years time in service I'm about to toss in the towel. I've been fighting medical issues for at least three years now. I have several diagnosis that will likely be found unfitting. I was looking for some advice and suggestions. Specifically, I'm trying to drag my feet a bit on the way out to preserve income and pay for expenses. I would definitely be interested in CSP if that were an option. My command will likely be supportive but most people around me have little to no experience with this.

My recent diagnosis that may be found unfitting include hypersomnia, migraines, stress disorder, TBI, overactive bladder, and more than 5 herniated discs in my spine. I'm on disqualifying medications for several of these conditions.

I am planning to research my conditions to see what things I should be thinking about along the way. In particular, "stress disorder" is currently in my record as a placeholder for PTSD. I am going to be reevaluated for PTSD next week, if my scores are still similar then that will likely become my diagnosis.

Some of these diagnosis will be pretty detrimental to my flying career. I may never fly again. I'm debating on if I should weigh my desire to fly after I leave the military against my desire to get all this properly documented and treated.
You should have everything you need and then all you really need to do is to submit a profile packet and that should trigger the process.

My wife is AGR and her IDES process just concluded. I always recommend a private attorney from the start. It gives you the best chance to maximize the outcome. Your results will vary but I know for a fact my wife's results would have been no where close to what she got without a private dedicated attorney. She ended up with maxing out her DOD% and getting one condition combat related designation so her pension is exempt from federal taxes. Throughout the process she was coached on what to say for exams and what medical evidence to obtain to strengthen her case. Her attorney had her appeal at every point in the IDES process even if one small thing wasn't to her attorney's liking. It made all the difference!
 

magnuzno

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Thanks for sharing. I appreciate the advice on a private attorney. How did you find one? How much did they charge?

My providers are starting to talk about "decision points" and we're all weighing what to do. On one hand, starting the med board now will help me move on with my life. On the other hand, waiting gives me longer to be treated, possibly recover, and keep my job. I'm leaning towards moving on.

I will one year DNIF profile in November. I'm told that will auto-trigger a board. Is there any reason I should push to initiate the board sooner? I'm sure my providers would support either option.

Once one provider suggests that I am at a "decision point," how do I ensure my other conditions are included on my NARSUM and considered for fitness / DOD%? Do I need to be concerned that each military provider has to consider their respective condition as unfitting to even be considered / included on the NARSUM?

Does the perception of how I'm performing at my job matter much in how this will resolve? I'm currently non-deployable and on a profile unable to fly. I am trying to still contribute and help my team out where I can. I sometimes wonder if I need to advocate for my limitations more and dial back. I know that a lot of my peers would love to see me continue to serve and contribute however I can. I know its not what is best for me or my recovery. I'm happy to help, I just don't want to screw myself over when people try to tell me "you're fine."
 

Provis

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So once it gets to this point you need to decide for yourself. My wife had battled her health for several years before and it cost her her social life etc. She was using up every little bit of strength to complete the mission at the expense of everything else. As far as attorneys, I can send you 2 that I recommend that are dedicated towards IDES. My wife hired one before she was even referred to a MEB because it was inevitable. The planning and coaching throughout the process was invaluable and there wasn't any stress because anything that came up her attorney dealt with. She even got a 3rd unfitting condition added at the NARSUM stage by helping write the commander's impact statement. Her commander was fine with my wife filling it out since she knew more about how her health issues affected her job. There are so many little things that an attorney can help you with that can swing the outcome.

Before deciding to push for MEB or wait it out I would definitely consult an attorney.

Perception helps but of course if you are pushing through some issues and not putting your health first your perception of how bad it is may be off from your coworkers/bosses point of view. That's why my wife submitted a profile package (She's AGR) and started working within her limitations and that changed the perception to more align with where she actually was health wise.
 

magnuzno

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One of my providers is suggesting we move to a MRDP. She is a psychologist and suggests I ask another provider such as my psychiatrist, flight surgeon or physical med doctors to initiate the MRDP. She says its usually more appropriate coming from a psychiatrist for mental health than from her.

My relationship with this psychologist is much better. She is available to see me weekly and really understands my problem. My psychiatrist is never available and no where near as helpful or familiar with my case. Can my psychologist initiate a MRDP?

If one of these providers does an MRDP, what happens with my other medical conditions? Do my other medical providers have to individually determine that their treatment makes me unfit? I'm in a position where many of my conditions, when considered individually, may not be unfitting. Especially when some of my peers, supervisors, and even flight surgeon really want me to stick around if I can. When they're all considered together unfit seems way easier to understand.
 

Provis

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One of my providers is suggesting we move to a MRDP. She is a psychologist and suggests I ask another provider such as my psychiatrist, flight surgeon or physical med doctors to initiate the MRDP. She says its usually more appropriate coming from a psychiatrist for mental health than from her.

My relationship with this psychologist is much better. She is available to see me weekly and really understands my problem. My psychiatrist is never available and no where near as helpful or familiar with my case. Can my psychologist initiate a MRDP?

If one of these providers does an MRDP, what happens with my other medical conditions? Do my other medical providers have to individually determine that their treatment makes me unfit? I'm in a position where many of my conditions, when considered individually, may not be unfitting. Especially when some of my peers, supervisors, and even flight surgeon really want me to stick around if I can. When they're all considered together unfit seems way easier to understand.
So I am not as familiar with AF Guard. I would start by getting a profile to work within your limitations. The profile is what normally triggers the process. If you don't have a profile by definition you have no limitations and aren't at the MRDP.
 

magnuzno

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I've been DNIF for about 7 months. Previously dnif for 12 months. I'm non-deployable as well.

I am technically Air National Guard. I believe the instructions and guidance are likely the same for active and reserve Air Force.
 

Sam2001

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For a pilot remember it is the condition that requires the medication that will Med board you. Not the medication itself. Also joint AOPA and work with their FAA medical examiners to see what is needed to fly civilian. It takes longer for waivers in FAA so I would start with taking a Class 1 physical now. 12 months DNIF can trigger a Med board but if you are at month 7 I would just start stacking the deck in your favor and using the DNIF co conditions and ensuring your medical record matches what you are experiencing.
 

Yukon777

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In my case the flight doc initiated the MEB, it seems to me, with flyers, the flight doc would be the one to determine what issues are or are not compatible with flight duties as they are the ones who actually DNIF you. Additionally, if you have a good relationship with the flight doc you can more easily have the discussion to get everything included in the list of unfitting condition.
 

Sam2001

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Also if your MEB doc isn’t familiar with flight regulations and requirements ask them to consult your flight doc.
 

JohnnnyReb

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Research everything your self. Check all your line of duties make sure they are in there. If you got issues go to doc and document all of them. If you really think your flying days are over and no chance of staying in or wanting too, since i assume you are on no pay no points by now, Go ahead and jump the gun and go to a DAV rep and file for disability through VA. Add comnine all civilian medical that are associted with military records. Also, when you do your c&p exam dont be hero and over do it like i did. Remember, you will never get better when getting older, just worse. Range of motion if it starts to burn but you can move farther dont! Stop say i maybe can but im in pain so im stopping. I got screwed on my back shoulder and foot injuries I had from plane crash because of that. I went as far as could even tho in ton of pain. Hero mentality is not what you want to do in that exam. I remember reading mine, opening line, He looked well groomed fit man from appalachain mtns. He callin me a hill billy? He'll i go in there no shower goodwill clothes on if could do over lol. I got 10% on 6 areas, could been 20-50% Frequency of injuries matter, so the more you show you went to doc the better. Sad, cause everyone knows especially us flyers we were always told shut up, stay away from flight doc, suckitup. It up cause yhey will ground you. Then 20 years later when its important VA thinks you never had issues. Make sure you get copies of all your records and if the mental health was in line of duty try get an lod determination. Stay on medical ass, document all traffic, contacts. Once the find you unfit and start MEB, make sure you are assigned a PEBLO, MSC. and MH provider since they are required. PEBLO is liason for all meb issues. MSC will be the person helping with VA stuff. MH provider is important since you have psychological issue.
 

johnbgately

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Research everything your self. Check all your line of duties make sure they are in there. If you got issues go to doc and document all of them. If you really think your flying days are over and no chance of staying in or wanting too, since i assume you are on no pay no points by now, Go ahead and jump the gun and go to a DAV rep and file for disability through VA. Add comnine all civilian medical that are associted with military records. Also, when you do your c&p exam dont be hero and over do it like i did. Remember, you will never get better when getting older, just worse. Range of motion if it starts to burn but you can move farther dont! Stop say i maybe can but im in pain so im stopping. I got screwed on my back shoulder and foot injuries I had from plane crash because of that. I went as far as could even tho in ton of pain. Hero mentality is not what you want to do in that exam. I remember reading mine, opening line, He looked well groomed fit man from appalachain mtns. He callin me a hill billy? He'll i go in there no shower goodwill clothes on if could do over lol. I got 10% on 6 areas, could been 20-50% Frequency of injuries matter, so the more you show you went to doc the better. Sad, cause everyone knows especially us flyers we were always told shut up, stay away from flight doc, suckitup. It up cause yhey will ground you. Then 20 years later when its important VA thinks you never had issues. Make sure you get copies of all your records and if the mental health was in line of duty try get an lod determination. Stay on medical ass, document all traffic, contacts. Once the find you unfit and start MEB, make sure you are assigned a PEBLO, MSC. and MH provider since they are required. PEBLO is liason for all meb issues. MSC will be the person helping with VA stuff. MH provider is important since you have psychological issue.
These are valid points regarding how to conduct yourself during exams, but the traditional man-day Guardsmen advice would not apply here as this person is in an AGR status. Otherwise, solid advice that can make a world of difference for anyone following it.
 
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