February 27, 2013

Our Army IDES/MEB/PEB/Med Board Experience

Grant’s experience in the Army was not what he expected--to say the least.  On the other hand, my experience as an Army wife was pretty much exactly what I expected… The greatest obstacle (and ultimately the reason why he was discharged) was the injury he received to his left foot as a result of over-training.

It became pretty clear following Grant’s surgery that we had explored all of our options and that his foot was not going to get any better.  With each new doctor that Grant saw, they would agree with the previous doctors and tell Grant to start thinking about transitioning out of the Army.

From the first mention of Medical Evaluation Board (MEB), I started researching.  We’re type A people, we like to have a plan.  On date three, we started making life plans A through F and with the Army we’ve always had what we want to happen, what we think will happen, and what will most likely happen plans.  Unfortunately, the published, public information is convoluted and does not give a clear timeline of events for the MEB process.  And even when you do find something that is published, it doesn’t always mean it’s accurate.  Additionally, since the implementation of the new IDES system, there is a lot of outdated information out there.  This is our experience with the new IDES MEB/PEB/Med Board process.

As soon as the MEB process started, Grant and I decided that I would start writing a blog post with his timeline so that hopefully our experience might provide a little insight for someone in the future who has to go through this unfortunate experience…

January 2011- Grant’s pain in foot intensifies.  Placed on Temporary Profile.  Temporary Profile is continuously renewed/extended/modified by doctors and PAs until August 2012.

January 2012- Tarsal Tunnel Release surgery in Nashville by civilian podiatrist

January to July 2012- Various appointments with doctors (Podiatrists-both Army and Civilian, Physical Therapists, Pain Management Clinic…).  Various medications and treatments tried to heal foot and manage pain.  None do anything.

Friday July 20, 2012– Army Podiatrist recommends Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)

Friday July 27, 2012- Met with Battalion PA to start MEB paperwork

Friday August 3, 2012- Met with Nurse Case Manager to complete paperwork (DD Form 2807)

Friday August 3, 2012- Met with PA to have sign off on DD Form 2807

Friday August 3, 2012- Turned in completed DD Form 2807 to Nurse Case Manager

Monday August 13, 2012- Demographic Appointment (Meeting with other people starting the MEB process to turn in paperwork and learn more about the process) At this appointment, Grant turned in the list of documents the Nurse Case Manager gave him at their appointment on the 3rd.

Monday August 20, 2012- Packet completed by Grant’s Commander was due.

Wednesday August 22, 2012- Appointment with doctor. Grant turned in packet completed by Commander. Doctor recommends Physical Evaluation Board.  Permanent profile is written (supposed to be approved within 48 hours).

Monday/Tuesday August 27/28, 2012- Commander at Blanchfield Army Community Hospital signs off on permanent profile (Profile was actually approved 72-96 hours after drafted; not within the 48 hours we were told it would be).

Wednesday August 29, 2012- Appointment with PEBLO.  Turned in Officer Record Brief (ORB) and Officer Evaluation Report (OER).

Wednesday August 29, 2012- Paperwork appointment with VA. Required to document areas of pain for benefits.

Tuesday September 4, 2012- MEB Disability Briefing.  Briefing with large group of MEB participants to go over process, explain rights, and schedule appointments. 

Tuesday September 4 to Wednesday September 12, 2012- Various VA appointments to verify VA paperwork Grant completed.  Allows VA to document any existing conditions for their own purposes.  This information is also included in MED/PEB packet

Wednesday September 5, 2012- Meeting with Legal to discuss rights during process.

Friday September 7, 2012- Army Career Assistance Program (ACAP) appointment.  Required to help transition out of the Army.

Wednesday September 12, 2012- Met with PEBLO to discuss process.  His PEBLO told him 1 month until doctor will meet with him to write narrative.  Then he has 5 days to review narrative with legal.  Once submitted to Lewis, 3 months until we get an answer.  After that, 1 month until we hear back from Washington.  Estimated final answer and potential percentage date: February 2013.

Tuesday September 25, 2012- Met with doctor (same as 8/22/12) for dictation to write narrative.  Doctor said narrative was already written.  Doctor says 10 days for doctor, PEBLO, and colonel at hospital to sign narrative.  Then 5 days for Grant to review with legal.  If Grant agrees with narrative, packet is sent overnight to Fort Sam Houston. 1 to 4 weeks for response from Sam Houston.  1 to 6 months for response from Washington.

Wednesday September 26, 2012- VA Disability Briefing. 4 hour brief. (Note: They sent Grant to the wrong brief.  This brief was for people being medically retired, so he will have to go to another VA Disability Briefing)

Mon, Tues, and Wed October 1, 2, 3, 2012- Senior Leader TAP Employment Workshop.  Wear business attire.  Mandatory workshop to prepare you for getting a job outside of the Army.  Worked on resumes, interview tips, and appropriate attire.

Monday October 8, 2012- VA Disability Briefing. 4 hours.  Correct brief for people who are being medically discharged.

Thursday October 11, 2012- PEBLO called to say dictation (NARSUM) would be ready for review the 19th.

Friday October 19, 2012- Appt with PEBLO to receive dictation (NARSUM).

Friday October 19, 2012- Grant rushed over to legal to have the lady look it over.  She gave us the all clear so Grant went back to his PEBLO.  The packet is now OFFICIALLY COMPLETE!!! And was sent overnight to Ft. Sam Houston.

His packet was opened at Ft. Sam Houston on October 25, 2012.

Tuesday November 27, 2012- Grant visited his PEBLO to ask why he hadn’t heard anything yet.  His PEBLO checked the computer and announced that on November 8, 2012 the Army found Grant UNFIT to serve. PEBLO says it takes 2 months from that date to hear back about disability ratings.  Due to the holidays, we should expect to hear by January 15th.

As soon as the packet gets sent off to the VA for ratings, start logging onto E-benefits to check the timeline.  It sounds like E-benefits isn’t always updated, but for us it was way more accurate that what Grant’s PEBLO was tracking.

His packet was opened by the VA for ratings on January 14, 2013.

His packet went into the preparation for decision stage at the VA on January 24, 2013.

His packet went into the on pending decision approval stage at the VA on January 31, 2013.

His packet was closed at the VA on February 5, 2013.  Notification was sent.

February 12, 2013- PEBLO called Grant to let him know his 199 was in and ready to be signed for Grant.  Ratings: 10% Army, 40% VA.  Grant had a lawyer at JAG review the form and then signed it with his PEBLO.  PEBLO immediately scanned the 199 and uploaded it to the system.

February 15, 2013- Separation memo from Washington arrived. Grant had to fill out two DA-31 forms (one for PTDY and one for leave).  He also had to have a counseling form signed. (Both had to wait until Tuesday the 19th because of the holiday weekend).  PTDY: Grant is allotted 10 days for ETS-ing and 10 days for MEB transition.

February 19, 2013- Grant got forms signed.  Went to Out Processing.  Orders received. Out-processing begins.

March 1, 2013- Grant signs out of the Army to start PTDY and chargeable leave.

March 31, 2013- Grant’s final day in the Army.

The wait between being found unfit and receiving his ratings was by far the worst.  We knew we were moving back to CA, we just didn’t know when.  It felt like the days were moving so slow that time was actually moving backwards.  It’s beyond terrible.  Be prepared for the wait to feel like an eternity.

I hope our timeline helps out those who go through this process in the future.  Be your own advocate.  Ask questions, push for accurate timelines, track your progress.  Keep copies of everything! Put your body and your family first.  And most importantly, remember that although this process is long, you will get through it.


2 comments:

  1. This is very helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to write it all out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! I hope it helps!

      Delete

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