When you leave the military after a medical separation, there might be questions left in your mind. Did I get a fair rating? What if I’m entitled to a higher percentage?
If you were you medically separated from military service between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2009, you may be eligible to have your disability rating reviewed to ensure fairness, consistency and accuracy. The Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) was created by Congress as part of the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008. Veterans medically separated with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and not found eligible for retirement may be eligible to have their records reviewed by the Board. Former Reserve members are also eligible to apply. By law, the PDBR may not recommend a lower disability rating. Roughly 77,000 Veterans are eligible for the PDBR, but as of July 2011, less than five percent have submitted applications.
In more than 50 percent of cases reviewed, Veterans have had their original disability determination upgraded, resulting in a disability retirement. Although no guarantee of this re-characterization rate can be made, it’s a good indicator of the degree of success applicants have had with the board. If a Veteran is awarded a disability retirement, he or she becomes eligible for all retirement benefits normally awarded military department retirees: health care, access to the base exchange and commissary, and so on
Visit the PDBR homepage on how to apply. Ensure you are receiving what’s owed to you!
Michael LoGrande, a retired Air Force colonel, is a 1986 distinguished graduate of the Air Force Academy and flew the C-141 on active duty and the KC-10 both on active duty and in the Air Force Reserve. Prior to his retirement in 2011, he served as the Mobilization Assistant to the Director and as a legislation liaison at the Pentagon.