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Health Services

Disability Evaluation System (DES)/Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO)

What We Do

We help Active Duty Service Members to navigate through the DES process while your medical fitness for duty is being reviewed and determined by the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).

Getting Help

We will reach out to you when you are referred to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB).
 
Active Duty Air Force Service Members managed by our office, may reach us by phone at 719-333-7980 during normal business hours or anytime using the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal.  Choose the option to Message My Provider and search USAF Academy Medical Evaluation Board.

Phases of the DES Process

MEB Phase

The MEB phase includes activities from the time your physician refers your case to our MEB office to the transfer of your case to Air Force Personnel Center Disability Operations Branch (AFPC/DPFDD) for the Informal Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB) to review.
The IDES MEB phase includes the following sub-stages:
  • Referral by your physician
  • Claim Development with the Military Service Coordinator
  • VA Compensation & Pension (C&P)/Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) examinations
  • Execution of the MEB (to include impartial review/MEB rebuttal)
During the MEB phase you may either utilize legal counsel provided, or obtain counsel of your choosing at your own expense. If you choose to consult with a member of the Office of Disability Counsel (ODC) they may be reached by email at: afloaja.disabilitycounsel@us.af.mil.

After sending an email, please wait at least 24 hours before calling them at DSN 665-0739/Commercial at 210-565-0739. The ODC attorneys and paralegals are independent from the DES process and serve as an advocate for you.

Service Members Option to the MEB

Once briefed on your MEB results, including the completed VA C&P exams (IDES only), you may submit any of the options listed below:
No Election
You concur with the MEB decision and wish to submit your MEB case to AFPC/DPFDD without an Impartial Medical Review, Rebuttal Letter or Letter of Exception.
Request an Impartial Medical Review (IMR)
An IMR is a review of your case by a physician or other health care professional not previously involved in your MEB. In rare circumstances the impartial reviewer may not validate the MEB findings. If so, the MEB Board President must consider whether changes to the MEB package are warranted and whether to reconvene the MEB once changes have been documented.

You may submit a written Letter of Concern (memorandum format) to the IMR physician outlining any specific issues you may have about your MEB package. (Note: Any concerns you have about the AF Form 1185, Commander’s Impact Statement for MEB must be addressed to your commander.)
Submit a Rebuttal Letter
A Rebuttal Letter is a document (memorandum format) that you submit to the MEB Convening Medical Authority (CMA) addressing why you disagree with the narrative summary or the MEB recommendations. You may also include any extenuating circumstances you feel should be considered.

The CMA is a senior medical officer appointed by the MTF Commander and may not be one of the physicians who served on your MEB or the impartial reviewer (if you elected an IMR).

The PEBLO will forward your Rebuttal Letter and the CMA response to the MEB president for review. Your MEB case will not be forwarded to AFPC/DPFDD until the rebuttal process is finalized and the MEB results still indicate you are potentially unfit for continued military service.
Submit a Letter of Exception (LOE)
In addition to the options above, you can submit a letter of exception expressing your desire to remain in the service, be separated, or retired. The LOE should support your wishes and is not another avenue to dispute your MEB case or narrative summary (NARSUM). The LOE is not mandatory and can be submitted at any time in the IDES process.
 
If you elected to complete any of the above, (IMR, MEB Rebuttal Letter with CMA response, and/or LOE) these documents will be included in your MEB package and forwarded to AFPC/DPFDD to be presented to the IPEB.

The IDES timeline is very rigid so you must ensure you are timely with each of these documents since only 7 (seven) days has been allotted within the MEB timeline to complete the IMR/Rebuttal process. You may request an extension, however it must be presented in writing to the PEBLO before surpassing the suspense date.

If your suspense date lands on a weekend or holiday, your response/documents will not be due until the next business day. You are encouraged to contact an attorney at the ODC for review of these documents before submission to your PEBLO.

PEB Phase

The PEB phase includes the following sub-stages:
  • IPEB
  • Proposed Ratings
  • Proposed Disposition
  • Elections
  • Formal PEB (FPEB)
  • Rating Reconsideration (IDES only)
Note: During the PEB phase you may consult with a member of the Office of Disability Counsel (ODC) at DSN 665-0739/Commercial, at 210-565-0739 or by email at: afloaja.disabilitycounsel@us.af.mil.

IPEB

The IPEB consists of at least two (2) board members, including at least one physician and a military personnel at field grade level or higher (or civilian equivalent). The IPEB will make a fit/unfit determination. A fit determination will be sent to the PEBLO.
For unfit finding:

If the IPEB finds you unfit for continued military service, they will list the conditions which make you unfit. For LDES, the PEB will use the current Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) and apply the appropriate ratings. For IDES, the VA Disability Rating Activity Site (DRAS) will prepare a preliminary rating decision for all your referred and claimed conditions and will make it available to the IPEB.

The IPEB will apply the VA ratings to your unfitting conditions and make one of the following recommendations:

  • Discharge with Severance Pay (DWSP
  • Permanent Retirement (PR)
  • Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL)
  • Discharge Under Other Than 10 U.S.C., Chapter 61
  • Discharge under 10 U.S.C. § 1207

Transition Phase

Return to Duty Processing

Your case file will be forwarded to the Medical Retention Standards office (AFPC/DP2NP) for possible determination of an Assignment Limitation Code (ALC-C).

(NOTE: ARC members who are recommended for Return to Duty may be ALC-C coded, removed from orders and/or retired/separated by the appropriate Air Reserve Component (ARC) agency; AFRC/SG, ARPC/DPTOT, NGB/SG or A1PS.

Processing for Separation/Retirement

1. Date of Separation/Retirement

The time from the date your case is finalized (published order) to the date of retirement/separation should allow sufficient time for out-processing, any permissive TDY granted by your commander, and use of any unsold leave. You may request an earlier separation/retirement date through your PEBLO at the time of your concurrence with the IPEB or FPEB. If you request a separation/retirement date of less than 30 days, your request must be routed through your Military Personnel Section (MPS) for endorsement.

The MPS is responsible for ensuring all out processing and briefings can be completed by your requested earlier date. Once a date has been established, only AFPC/DPFD may approve changes to the retirement or separation date in cases where you can show an unusual personal hardship. Both your PEBLO and your Military Personnel Section (MPS) will receive a copy of the separation message.

2. Grade Determination

a. For Retirement: Unless entitled to a higher retired grade under some other provision of law, you will be medically retired in the highest of the following grades:

I. The grade in which you were serving on the date placed on the TDRL or on the date permanently retired for disability.

II. The reserve grade you held at the time of retirement if it is higher than the grade in which serving on active duty. The Reserve grade must be a valid USAFR or ANG grade that is still in effect at the time of retirement.

III. A higher grade in which you served satisfactorily on active duty as determined by the SAF.

b. For Separation: The discharge grade will be the higher of the following:

I. The grade in which you are serving at the time of discharge.

II. A grade in which you served satisfactorily on active duty, as determined by the SAF.

III. If selected (officer) for promotion or your line number (enlisted) is prior to the date of the SAF memorandum approving your discharge, you may be discharged in the regular or Reserve grade to which you had been selected and would have been promoted had it not been for the physical disability for which you are being separated.

3. Pay Computation

After your retirement the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS)-Cleveland Center is responsible for your final retired pay computations. DFAS will send you an explanation of how they computed your retired pay and you will have 45 days to contest their computation. You may contact them for more information using their toll free number at 1-800-321-1080. For further information concerning your pay please visit the DFAS website at: https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/disability/.

a. Retired Pay Computation: If you are retired for disability, your retired pay is computed based on your years of creditable service or percent of disability, whichever is most advantageous to you. Creditable service for Regular Air Force members is active duty service time; for Air Reserve Component members it is total retirement points divided by 360. If using creditable service, the calculation is to multiply 2.5% times your years of service, then times the retired pay base. Using the disability rating, multiply the percent of total disability reflected on AF Form 356 times the retired pay base. For more information on your retired pay please visit the DFAS website at: https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/disability/.

b. Disability Severance Pay Computation: If you are discharged with entitlement to disability severance pay, you will receive a lump sum severance payment equal to 2 months of base pay for each year of service, up to 19 years, but not less than 3 years for non-combat related conditions and not less than 6 years for combat related conditions. There is no maximum dollar amount for disability severance pay. For the purpose of computing severance pay, a part of a year of active service that is 6 months or more is counted as a whole year, and a part of a year that is less than 6 months is disregarded. For example, if you have 2 years, 7 months active service, you are credited with 3 years of service when computing severance pay. For Air Reserve Component members, years of service is computed as retirement points divided by 360. For more information, please visit the DFAS website at: https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/disability/ and select Disability Entitlements tab.

4. Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay

CRDP, CONCURRENT RECEIPT: Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) allows military retirees to receive both military retired pay and Veterans Affairs (VA) compensation. You must be eligible for retired pay to qualify for CRDP. If you were placed on a disability retirement, but would be eligible for military retired pay in the absence of the disability, you may be entitled to receive CRDP.

You do not need to apply for CRDP, you will be enrolled automatically if qualified. Please visit the DFAS website at:
https://www.dfas.mil/RetiredMilitary/disability/ to see if you may be entitled to receive CRDP.

5. VA Versus Air Force Disability

As a matter of information, you should be aware of the differences between the Air Force and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability programs.

The Air Force and the VA are separate government agencies which operate under different laws and policies. The findings of the two agencies frequently differ because the VA may compensate for any service-connected physical or mental condition listed in the VASRD, whereas the Air Force may only compensate for those conditions which render you unfit for further military service.

For this reason, it is not unusual for the military and VA total disability ratings to differ.

DES Roadmap

Roadmap of the Disability Evaluation System

How to Use the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

Visit our tutorial page that includes screen shots and step-by-step instructions for submitting messages, booking appointments and requesting appointments.
 
When messaging or searching our clinic, use the name: USAF Academy Medical Evaluation Board.

Contact Us

Phone

719-333-7980

Hours

Monday–Friday
7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Location

4102 Pinion Drive, First Floor
Co-located with Beneficiary Services

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

USAF Academy Medical Evaluation Board
Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.