The Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)


The Medical Evaluation Board
Medical Acceptability
After the Medical Evaluation Board
Preparing for the Medical Evaluation Board

The Medical Evaluation Board

medical evaluation board (MEB)

When a service member has a medical condition that may make them Unfit for Duty, they are referred to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and enters the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). The Medical Evaluation Board is Step 4 of the IDES.

Each military installation with a medical facility has its own Medical Evaluation Board. The MEB is comprised of a group of medical authorities. There is not a fixed number of people who can sit on a Medical Evaluation Board, but MEBs must have a minimum of two medical professionals, one of which must be a physician. For psychiatric conditions, the case must be evaluated by a doctor of psychology or a psychiatrist.

When a service member is referred to the Medical Evaluation Board, they submit evidence of their conditions, including medical records and a letter from their commander stating how the conditions affect their ability to do their job. (Normally these are submitted to the MEB directly by the service member’s commander and physician, but it’s never a bad thing for the service member to be aware and ensure that everything is properly submitted. It’s also not a bad idea for them to get copies of these documents.) Service members may also submit personal statements about their conditions.

The Medical Evaluation Board sorts through all of the evidence submitted and compiles a report that summarizes the history of the service member’s medical conditions from their beginning up through the exam. This report is called a “Narrative Summary” or “NARSUM.” 

The MEB then determines which of the service member’s conditions are medically unacceptable. If no conditions are medically unacceptable, the service member is returned to duty. If at least one condition is medically unacceptable, the MEB forwards the case on to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).

Before the report is sent to the PEB, the service member will have a chance to review it. The service member can then request an optional impartial medical review by a physician unrelated to the MEB. This physician will provide their opinion on whether or not they believe the MEB findings to be accurate and complete.

If the service member disagrees with the MEB, they can submit a rebuttal. The MEB will consider the rebuttal and make changes if they see fit.

Return to Top

Medical Acceptability

Medically unacceptable conditions are ones that do not meet the Standards of Medical Fitness for each branch of the military.

Though the Medical Evaluation Board determines medical acceptability, only the PEB has the authority to decide if a service member’s conditions make them Unfit for Duty.

While it is very unusual for the PEB to rule a medically acceptable condition to be unfitting, it is not at all unusual for the PEB to rule a medically unacceptable condition to be fitting. The MEB looks only at the Standards of Medical Fitness that are in place. The PEB, however, looks at exactly how the condition actually affects the service member’s ability to do their job.

For example, the amputation of the index and middle fingers will always be judged medically unacceptable by the Medical Evaluation Board, but not necessarily unfitting by the PEB. If the service member is a gunman, then the PEB would most likely determine that the condition is unfitting since it would be very difficult for them to shoot a gun without these two fingers. If the service member were a linguist, however, the PEB could judge their condition to be fitting since the service member would still be able to translate without any trouble.

Return to Top

After the Medical Evaluation Board

Once the Medical Evaluation Board decides whether the service member’s conditions are medically acceptable or not, they either return the service member to duty or forward the case on to the PEB.

If the MEB decides that none of the service member’s condition are medically unacceptable, then the service member is returned to full duty and the IDES ends. If the MEB decides that one or more of the service member’s conditions are medically unacceptable, then the case is forwarded on to the PEB. The Medical Evaluation Board process is now over.

If, however, the PEB does not feel that they have enough information to make a decision, they can send the case back to the Medical Evaluation Board. The Medical Evaluation Board is then responsible for gathering any additional information or evidence that may be needed by the PEB.

Return to Top

Preparing for the Medical Evaluation Board

In order for the MEB Process to run as smoothly as possible and as quickly as possible, it is vital that all the proper evidence is submitted to the MEB at the beginning of the process.

Medical unacceptability is best determined by medical records and Commander’s letters that detail exactly how the condition affects the ability of the service member to perform their duties.

In addition, to ensure that your medically unacceptable conditions are rated correctly, Find Your Conditions on this site so that you can know what information is needed to assign the proper Military Disability Ratings to your conditions.

Return to Top


What is the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)?

The MEB is the first step of the medical discharge process. A service member with a medical condition that may make 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 conditions are medically unacceptable.

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 PEB determines that your conditions are unfitting, you will either be medically separated or medically retired, depending on your disability rating. If you are rated 20% or less, you will be medically separated and receive a one-time payment. If you are rated 30% or more, you will be medically retired and 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 base 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.

Is the MEB part of the IDES?

Yes. Both 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 are medically unacceptable.

Scroll to Top