1. What is the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR)?
Congress created the PDBR in 2008 to address inconsistencies in disability ratings awarded by the military service branches to service members who were medically separated between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2009. Congressional reviews found that the disability ratings issued by the military service branches were lower than the ratings issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to the same veterans for the same medical conditions.
The PDBR can recommend that a veteran’s military disability rating should be increased to 30% or higher. A military disability rating of 30% or more entitles a veteran to lifetime monthly disability retired pay, military health care, access to military commissaries and post exchanges, and other retirement benefits.
2. Who is eligible for a review by the PDBR?
All veterans who were medically separated between 9/11/2001 and 12/31/2009 with a combined disability rating of 0%, 10%, or 20% as a result of a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).
For all unfitting conditions, a review by the PDBR must include a comparison of the disability ratings issued by the military PEB with the disability ratings issued by the VA and consider any variance in its deliberations and impact on a final recommendation for the PEB disability ratings.
Explanation of key terms:
Medical separation: A medical separation is the process by which service members are discharged after being found medically unfit for duty by a PEB and assigned a combined disability of 0%, 10%, or 20%.
Unfitting condition: An unfitting condition is the term that describes a disability that was found by a PEB to make a service member unfit for continued military service.
3. Who is eligible for free legal help with a PDBR application through NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program?
All veterans eligible for a review by the PDBR (see #2 above) that received an initial disability rating from the VA for one of their PEB unfitting conditions that was at least 30%.
4. How do I request legal assistance from NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program?
If you qualify, we will provide you an application form to complete and return to us along with a copy of your DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty). If you do not have a copy of your DD Form 214, follow the instructions below to request a copy from the National Archives.
If you don't recall what your DD Form 214 looks like, you can see a redacted DD Form 214 here.
5. Can I apply for free legal assistance through NVLSP's Lawyers Serving Warriors® program if I do not have a copy of my DD Form 214?
No. To request assistance, you must submit a copy of your DD Form 214 to us along with our application. If you do not have a copy of your DD Form 214, request it from the National Archives.
6. How do I obtain a copy of my DD Form 214?
If you do not have a copy of your DD Form 214, follow the instructions to request a copy from the National Archives.
According to the National Archives, 90% of requests are processed within 10 days.