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1. What is the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)?

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is a joint DOD/VA process for determining whether a disabled service member is unfit for continued military service, and, if so, the level of military disability benefits the service member should receive upon discharge.

To assess the severity and compensability of disabilities through the IDES, a service member’s case is generally considered by two boards: a medical evaluation board (MEB) and a physical evaluation board (PEB).  The PEB evaluates all major illnesses or disabilities and decides whether any of them make the member unfit for continued service, and, if so, which ones cause the member to be “unfit.”

Once the PEB determines which conditions make a member unfit, a disability rating (reflecting the severity of the disability) is assigned to each unfitting condition by a VA rating specialist using the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD).

A combined military disability rating of 30% or more entitles the service member upon discharge  to medical retirement benefits, which include lifetime monthly disability retired pay; lifetime military health care for the veteran, spouse, and minor children; access to military commissaries and post exchanges; and other retirement benefits.  However, a service member assigned a combined military disability rating of less than 30% receives a lump-sum severance payment and no retirement benefits.

2.  What type of IDES assistance is available through NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program?

At no cost to the service member, our program will assign a trained attorney to represent the service member throughout the entire IDES process.  The attorney will obtain and review all relevant service records, medical records, and examinations and, if necessary, draft MEB rebuttals, PEB rebuttals, and written requests to the VA for ratings reconsiderations.

3. Who is eligible for free legal help with IDES processing through MEBs and PEBs?

Although we anticipate expanding our services to cover all service members who have been referred to the IDES, we are currently limiting our services to service members whose formal physical evaluation board (PEB) would convene in Washington, DC.  Therefore, the following service members are eligible for free legal representation through our Lawyers Serving Warriors® project:

• All service members (active duty and reservists) serving in the Marine Corps and Navy who have been referred to the IDES.
• All Army Soldiers (active duty and reservists) who have been referred to the IDES and will have a physical evaluation board (PEB) convened in Washington, DC, which includes Soldiers processed through the following Warrior Transition Units:

Walter Reed National Medical Center Camp Atterbury
Fort Belvoir United States Military Academy
Fort Bragg Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit-Massachusetts
Fort Dix Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit-Illinois
Fort Drum Community-Based Warrior Transition Unit-Virginia
Fort Eustis Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
Fort Knox Kaiserslautern, Germany
Fort Lee Heidelberg, Germany
Fort Meade Bavaria, Germany

4. If I have been placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (TDRL), am I eligible for free legal assistance with TDRL medical processing?

Yes, service members who have been placed on the TDRL are eligible for free assistance through our Lawyers Serving Warriors® project.

5. How do I request legal assistance from NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program?

Click here to provide us with your contact information so we can send you an application form to complete and return to us.

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