The MEB Process
When a service member develops a medical condition that may make them Unfit for Duty, they enter the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), which combines the DoD Disability Process with the VA Disability Process. The first half of the IDES is known as the MEB Process.
The MEB Process
The MEB process begins when the service member’s physician refers them to the IDES because of a medical condition that is not expected to improve enough for them to return to full duty within one year.
After the referral is submitted, the service member is assigned a PEBLO who helps counsel and guide them throughout the IDES process. It is the PEBLO’s job to ensure that the MEB Process proceeds smoothly.
Once the C&P Exams are complete, the results are sent back to the PEBLO, and the service member’s physician submits a medical report (called a “Narrative Summary” or “NARSUM”) to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB). The purpose of the NARSUM is to simply describe the history and severity of the service member’s medical conditions and their impact on the service member’s ability to perform their job duties. The physician also offers an opinion on whether the conditions are Service-Connected and EPTS.
In addition to the NARSUM, a statement is also submitted by the service member’s commander that notes how their medical conditions interfere with their ability to do their job. The service member can also submit a personal statement concerning their conditions, if they’d like.
The MEB Process continues with the MEB reviewing these reports and any other relevant medical and administrative records. After their review, the MEB determines the medical acceptability of each of the service member’s conditions. The MEB then compiles a report, called the Medical Evaluation Board Proceedings, and submits it to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).
Once the MEB submits their report to the PEB, the MEB Process ends and the PEB Process begins. If, however, the PEB decides that they do not have enough evidence to properly determine the case, it is sent back to the MEB, and the MEB Process is reopened until the MEB is able to compile all the necessary evidence. Once the PEB has sufficient evidence to make a ruling in the case, the MEB Process is officially over.
The MEB Process usually lasts about 100 days, but this is not set in stone. If the case is more difficult, the necessary evidence isn’t entirely submitted at the start of the MEB Process, or the PEB sends the case back, the MEB Process could take longer. On the other hand, if the case is fairly simple, and everything is properly submitted at the start, the MEB Process could take less time.
Preparing for the MEB Process
To ensure that the MEB Process goes quickly and smoothly, it is important that you are prepared for your MEB Process. While your physician and commander submit their evidence directly to the MEB, it is a good idea to be aware of their progress so that you can assist or encourage them as needed. Documentation is key! It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that all the necessary evidence is properly submitted at the beginning of the MEB process. Without the proper documents, the entire MEB process will be delayed—a frustrating ordeal for everyone.
Find Your Conditions on our site to see what information is needed to properly rate your conditions. You should then know what information must be included in the medical evidence that is submitted at the start of the MEB Process.
After the MEB Process Begins
If additional medical evidence, such as test results, arises or there are further developments to your conditions after the MEB Process has begun, make sure to get the additional evidence to your PEBLO as soon as possible to avoid a serious delay and to ensure that the conditions are properly rated.
For example: Jenny has a wrist condition that is being reviewed by the MEB. After the MEB Process begins, she falls and injures it further. Since her condition is now worse, the MEB needs to be aware of it as soon as possible so that it can make a proper recommendation and pass on all the correct information to the PEB.
What is the MEB Process?
The MEB Process is the first step of the medical discharge process. A service member with a medical condition that makes them unfit for duty is referred to the Medical Evaluation Board. The Board reviews their conditions and makes recommendations to the Physical Evaluation Board on which qualify as unfitting.
How long does the MEB Process take?
From the date of referral, the process takes roughly 2 months to complete.
How do I apply?
You do not apply to the MEB. Instead, you are referred by your military physician when you have conditions that they feel make you unfit for duty.
If I qualify for DoD disability, what benefits will I receive?
If the MEB and PEB both determine that your conditions are unfitting, you will either be medically separated or medically retired, depending on your disability rating. If you are medically separated, you will receive a one-time payment. If you are medically retired, you will receive a monthly payment as well as all other retirement benefits. You will also qualify to receive disability benefits from the VA.
How long does it take to receive my disability benefits?
You will begin receiving your benefits from the DoD within 2 months of separation.
How much money will I get monthly if I'm medically retired?
The exact amount you receive monthly is determined by your based pay and either your combined rating or your retirement percentage, whichever gives you a higher payment. You can find the full equation on our DoD Disability page.
Will the MEB Process also start the VA disability process?
Yes. Both processes for DoD disability and VA disability are now combined through the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). This system allows for veteran to start receiving benefits from the both the DoD and the VA as soon after discharge as possible.
What is the purpose of the MEB?
The MEB's purpose is to review all of the service member's evidence to determine which of their medical conditions make them unfit for duty. If there is not enough evidence to decide, it is the MEB's job to request more. Once they have finished their review, the MEB submits a report to the PEB with their recommendations.