January 6, 2012
Disability Review Board: Veterans entitled to review of DoD-issued disability rating
As required by the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008, the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) allows veterans who were medically separated from service to have their disability rating reviewed. The Act states that the review process will help to ensure fairness, consistency and accuracy for veterans relieved of their military commitment early due to medical issues.
In order to be eligible, a veteran must have been medically separated between Sept. 11, 2001 and Dec. 31, 2009 with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less and not be eligible for retirement. Using those parameters, the military estimates that there are approximately 75,000 eligible veterans. As of May 2011, however, just 2,500 have applied to have their ratings reviewed.
Since the first case was reviewed in 2011, more than half of the ratings reviewed by the PDBR have been upgraded, allowing for a medical retirement. By law, the PDBR may not recommend a lower disability rating.
The Department of Defense designated the Air Force to lead the PDBR and evaluate cases from all military services and reserve components. The board will examine each applicant's medical separation, compare the military and Veterans Affairs ratings and make recommendations to the respective Service Secretary.