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After the completion of the MEB, the Soldier will review the findings and recommendations. If the Soldier disagrees with the MEB or feels there is information missing or not adequately addressed, he/she will have 7 calendar days to make election of concur/nonconcur, request impartial provider review and/or appeal.
If the Soldier wants to remain in the Army, he/she can use this opportunity to provide documentation on their ability to continue to perform their duties despite their medical condition(s). The rebuttal is referred back to the original physician who will address the issues contained in the rebuttal and make changes as appropriate.
The reviewing physician receives the rebuttal and can decide to let the MEB stand as written, send MEB back for further medical information, or forward to PEB with attachments or additional notes.
The reviewing physician's final disposition of the MEB can result in the following:
The first determination made by the PEB is whether or not the Soldier is fit to continue to perform his/her primary military duties. The PEBLO will counsel the Soldier on the findings, assist in the completion of an election of options and notify the PEB of the Soldier's decision on how to proceed. The Soldier must complete their election of options within a maximum of 10 calendar days.
If found fit, the Soldier may either concur or non-concur with the findings of the Informal PEB. If the Soldier non-concurs, he/she may submit a written rebuttal that includes new medical information or performance data not previously available or considered by the Informal PEB. Other supporting material may also be presented. A Soldier found fit by an informal PEB does NOT have a legal right to a hearing; however, as an exception to policy he/she may request a formal PEB hearing from the PEB President.
If found unfit, the Soldier has the right to accept the findings, or can non-concur with the findings and submit a written rebuttal and/or demand a Formal PEB with or without personal appearance. All written rebuttals will be considered by the informal PEB, which may issue revised findings based on the information provided or may affirm their original findings. A Soldier does not give up his/her right to a formal hearing by submitting a rebuttal.
As provided in law, no active duty or reserve Soldier found unfit by an Informal PEB may be retired or separated for physical disability without being given the right to a formal hearing. A Soldier who is found unfit by the Informal PEB and wishes to appeal can demand a formal hearing, with or without personal appearance. Army regulations require that unit commanders issue TDY orders to Soldiers to support travel to and from formal hearings.
The Formal PEB is the Soldier's opportunity, with the assistance of legal counsel, to present evidence, testimony and documents in support of his/her case. The Soldier may appear in person and present evidence pertinent to the case. The Soldier can be represented by an appointed Judge Advocate General Corps (JAGC) attorney, or counsel of their own choosing (a civilian attorney or a representative from a National Service Organization such as Disabled Americans Veterans). If the Soldier elects to have civilian counsel of his/her choosing, it will be at no expense to the government.
Certain Soldiers who are found unfit by the PEB may request to be Continued on Active Duty (COAD) or in Active Reserve (COAR) status as an exception to policy. Approval for COAD/COAR rests with Human Resources Command and the National Guard. The PEB does NOT approve or disapprove a COAD/COAR request. To be considered for COAD or COAR, you must have a condition that will not require undue loss of time from duty for medical treatment, must not pose a risk to the health and safety of yourself or other Soldiers, be physically capable of performing useful duty in an MOS for which currently qualified or potentially trainable and meet one of the following criteria:
A Service member (SM) referred into the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) may request a review of the medical evidence presented by the narrative summary or MEB findings. This request is done verbally or in writing by the soldier to his/her physical evaluation board liaison officer (PEBLO). PEBLOs will ensure they include a discussion of the IPR with their standard MEB checklist. The SM should ensure they are locally available for at least three weeks after the date of request to allow for medical review, SM rebuttal, if desired, and the convening medical board's authority return of their decision.
This request for an IPR is forwarded to the provider conducting the independent review, along with the summary of MEB findings. This provider is not directly involved in the Service Member's MEB process and will be able to review consults as needed for additional clarification.
After reviewing the records, the provider will have no more than five calendar days, excluding weekends and national holidays, to meet with the SM, advise the SM on the MEB findings, and dictate a narrative note with the details of these proceedings for inclusion in the SM's MEB record.
The SM is afforded the opportunity to request a rebuttal of the results of the MEB. The SM will have seven calendar days, excluding weekends and national holidays, to prepare a rebuttal to the convening medical authority.
All documents from the rebuttal are included with the MEB that goes to the PEB.
A Soldier is unfit to continue in the Army when the preponderance of evidence demonstrates that one or more physical and/or mental condition(s) significantly interferes with the Soldier's ability to perform the duties of his/her office, grade or rank. The PEB makes the decision on fitness by balancing the extent of a Soldier's condition, as shown through objective medical and performance evidence, against the requirements and duties that the Soldier may reasonably be expected to perform in his/her branch/MOS and grade. The mere fact that one or more medical conditions exist does NOT constitute an unfit determination.
The inability to deploy CANNOT be the sole basis for determining unfitness per DoD Instruction.
Typical medical evidence used by the PEB includes:
Typical performance evidence includes:
The PEB makes determinations of:
Counsel - Once a Soldier is scheduled for a formal hearing, he/she will be contacted by a military attorney of the JAGC assigned to the garrison Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) office where the PEB is located. These officers are NOT assigned to the PEB; they serve as independent military counsel.
Military counsel is normally appointed and made known to the Soldier prior to the scheduled formal hearing date. This occurs as soon after the Soldier elects a formal hearing as is practicable. Soldiers using military counsel normally meet their counsel for the first time, face-to-face, a day or so before the formal hearing. This is an opportunity to go over the Soldier's case and discuss any last minute questions. Changing representation (counsel) prior to the formal hearing does not constitute an automatic reason for delaying or postponing a formal hearing.
Informal vs. Formal PEB - At the moment the Formal Board convenes to consider a case, the Informal Board findings become null and void, and the Soldier CANNOT accept the Informal Board findings under any circumstance.
Reporting to the Formal PEB - On the day of the formal PEB, the Soldier reports, in the appropriate uniform of the day for the locale, to the Presiding Officer of the Formal PEB. The Formal PEB panel will inform the Soldier of his/her rights, including the right to make sworn or unsworn statements, rights under the Privacy Act and the right not to make any statements relating to the origin or aggravation of the injury. If the Soldier decides not to testify under oath, the Formal PEB panel will not question him/her.
Recording testimony - All Formal Board proceedings are electronically recorded, except during the general overview prior to convening and the deliberation phase. A copy of the recording is available upon request by the Soldier or their counsel.
Documents to bring with you - During the Formal PEB, Soldiers should anticipate questions relating to how and when their condition occurred, treatments received, medication and work limitations that the condition imposes. The Soldier will be provided an opportunity to discuss his/her case in detail. At the Formal PEB, the panel will usually have the Soldier's medical records, medical reports, administrative and performance records, and statements from the Soldier's chain of command concerning current duty performance.
To avoid undue delay, the Soldier should obtain and arrive at the hearing with those items that will be necessary in the presentation of his/her case. It is highly recommended that the Soldier submit any documentation not contained in his/her PEB packet to the members of the board at least 24 hours prior to the actual board date. The Formal PEB members use all of this information in the decision-making process.
A chance to address board members - Following questioning by the Board Members and the Soldier's Counsel's summation, the Soldier has one last opportunity to address the Board Members and has the option of making a brief statement. Once all evidence has been reviewed and testimony concluded, the Soldier and Counsel will be excused for board deliberations. Only the voting Board Members are present during deliberations.
Board members vote and provide recommendation - The Formal PEB members will independently vote to determine if the Soldier is fit or unfit. All findings are decided by majority vote. The Formal PEB then reconvenes and notifies the Soldier and his/her Counsel of their decision. A copy of the report of proceedings, which provides the PEB's findings and recommended disposition, is provided to the Soldier before he/she departs from the PEB. The Soldier is again provided 10 calendar days to make an election as to whether he/she concurs or non-concurs with the Formal PEB findings.
If the decision of the board is not unanimous, the dissenting board member may choose to submit a minority report citing the rationale for disagreeing with the majority. The minority report will be made a part of the MEB/PEB record and will cause an automatic review by the Physical Disability Agency (PDA).