Medical Evaluation Boards and Physical Evaluation Boards
Physical Disability Evaluation System (PDES)
The Army Physical Disability Evaluation System (PDES) is the Army agency that governs the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)/Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) process. PDES provides a full and fair hearing to determine a Soldier's physical fitness for continued military service. If the Soldier is found unfit to return to duty, PDES will determine the level and type of compensation due to the Soldier and initiate the relevant procedures to separate or retire the Soldier.
Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)
The Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) is a process designed to determine whether a Soldier's long-term medical condition enables him/her to continue to meet medical retention standards, in accordance with Army regulations . It also provides an opportunity for military physicians to clearly document a Soldier's medical condition and any duty limitations it may cause.
The MEB is considered an informal board because, by itself, it does not drive any personnel actions. The findings of the MEB are referred to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), which formally determines fitness for continued service and eligibility for disability compensation. The MEB process is also not a military occupational specialty (MOS) reclassification board. Reclassification is considered by the MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2) for Soldiers with a permanent level 3 profile (P3) who meet retention standards.
The MEB is comprised of at least two physicians, and is convened once the medical retention decision point is reached or when the Soldier's physician thinks the Soldier will not be able to return to duty for medical reasons. The board evaluates a Soldier's medical history and condition, documents the extent of the injury or illness, and decides whether the Soldier's medical condition is severe enough to impede his/her ability to continue serving in a full duty capacity. The physicians do this by relating the nature and degree of the Soldier's medical condition to Army retention standards and the duties that the Soldier may reasonably be expected to perform in his/her office, grade, or rank.
Entering into the MEB process does not mean the Soldier will be automatically discharged from military service. The MEB will refer a Soldier to the PEB when the findings and recommendations stipulate that either 1) the Soldier does not meet retention standards, or 2) the Soldier should return to duty in a different military occupational specialty
(see MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2)).
MEB decisions can affect the Soldier and Family, so it is necessary for all to understand the entire board process. Having all the documents and necessary medical information completed before the board meets is vital to achieving the best outcome.
The MEB should be complete within 90 days after the initial packet submission and evaluation outcome. However, each case is unique, and the MEB could take less or more than 90 days to complete.
Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)
If the MEB finds the Soldier unfit to return to duty in his/her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), the Soldier will be referred to a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) . PEBs are administrative boards that determine whether a Soldier's injury prevents his/her continued performance in the Army.
The Soldier will have the opportunity to review and comment on the medical and non-medical information referred to the PEB. The Soldier is responsible for providing accurate, comprehensive information about existing medical conditions and administrative actions.
The PEB determines:
- Fitness or unfitness to continue military service
- Eligibility for disability compensation
- Disability codes and percentage rating
- Disposition of the Soldier's case
- Whether or not the injury or illness is combat-related
MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2)
MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2) is for wounded, ill, or injured Soldiers who meet retention standards but cannot fulfill the requirements of their current job or Military Occupation Specialty (MOS). During the MAR2 process, the Army identifies new MOS possibilities for a Soldier and re-assigns them. Once the Soldier heals and transitions out of the WTU, they will typically move directly into a training program for the next MOS at a their new duty station to ensure they have the necessary skills for their new work.
Army Disability Rating
If the PEB determines that a Soldier is unfit to continue military service and finds that the Soldier is eligible for disability benefits, the PEB determines the Soldier's disability rating, ranging from zero to 100 percent.
VA Disability Rating
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issues separate disability ratings independent of the Army PDES. Veterans who may be eligible for VA disability compensation will be evaluated through a separate process with VA physicians. The WTU will facilitate a warm hand-off for each Soldier and his/her Family to the VA upon transition to Veteran status.
Streamlined Disability Evaluation System
There is currently a pilot program to allow wounded servicemembers to undergo concurrent evaluation by both the Army and VA. This streamlined Disability Evaluation System (DES) is designed to be faster, fairer, and simpler for servicemembers going through the DES process. Servicemembers going through this process will receive a single disability rating from both the Army and the VA. At this time, this option is offered at approximately 25 installations across the country.
Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO)
Soldiers Counsel are available to provide information and advocacy to
Soldiers during the MEB/PEB processes. Once a Soldier receives a P3
Profile, Service Members can receive counsel from our office. We are experts
in the PDES system and in due process rights. As soon as a Soldier enters
the MEB system, he or she should attend one of the briefings held by the
Office of Soldiers Counsel, or consult with us individually. Soldiers will
learn what our office can do for them throughout each step in the process.
To find out more and/or to locate the nearest office, please visit: Office of Soldiers' Counsel.
Continue on Active Duty or Continue on Active Reserve (COAD/COAR)
Soldiers found unfit for duty by a MEB or PEB may be eligible to apply for Continuation on Active Duty (COAD)/Continuation on Active Reserve (COAR) regardless of the extent of their injuries. Any Soldier interested in applying for COAD/COAR should notify the Triad of Care and PEBLO. The Transition Options section of this website provides more information on the COAD/COAR process.
Soldier's Role in the MEB/PEB Process
During the MEB/PEB process, the Soldier will continue to work closely with the Triad of Care and with his/her PEBLO. The Soldier must attend all scheduled appointments, take the mandatory comprehensive physical exam, assist the WTU in providing required personnel and administrative data, and maintain regular, open communication with the Triad of Care and PEBLO.
My MEB Portal
Soldiers may track progress on their MEBs through the My MEB Portal on AKO. Note: AKO login capability is required.
The following Army regulations govern the MEB/PEB process:
- AR 600-60, Physical Performance Evaluation System (MMRB) PDF
- AR 40-400, Patient Administration (Chapters 7 & 8) PDF
- AR 40-501, Standards of Medical Fitness (Chapters 3 & 7) PDF
- AR 635-40, Physical Evaluation for Retention, Retirement, or Separation PDF
Soldiers who disagree with MEB findings have the right to send an appeal to the Deputy Commander of Clinical Services for review and comment. Soldiers interested in appealing MEB/PEB findings should contact their Triad of Care and PEBLO.