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Author Archives: John Gately

Army Formal PEB Hearings Go Telephonic Due to COVID19 Pandemic

The Army PEB recently decided to convert all pending FPEB hearings to telephonic proceedings to comply with DOD limitations on domestic travel due to the COVID19 pandemic.  Here is how I will respond to this development. First, while the regulations allow for telephonic proceedings, I will file a reconsideration request seeking an “on the record” […]

VA C&P Exams by Video Call- An Accident Waiting to Happen?

Faced with a mounting backlog of Compensation and Pension (“C&P”) exams in IDES cases, the VA has decided to conduct as many of these exams as possible via a videoconference call.  This bizarre development has caught both VA examiners and the PEB system off-guard, with no one knowing how to conduct objective physical exams by […]

Board Delays & Extending Enlistments Due to COVID19

I have had several inquiries this week from prospective clients who have requested formal hearings in IDES cases, only to be told that these hearings will be scheduled for July, August, or September due to the COVID19 situation.  While this may change soon, enlisted members and probationary officers whose service agreements will expire while awaiting […]

How Will COVID19 Cases Be Rated in the PEB Process?

As our nation battles the COVID19 pandemic, I pondered how service members rendered unfit for further service due to residuals of COVID19 will be rated in the disability process.   Since the VASRD does not contain a schedular rating for this new disorder, we may expect that it will initially be rated by analogy to COPD, […]

What Impact Will a Positive COVID19 Test Have on Your Assignment Status?  

  While widespread testing for COVID19 has not yet occurred, it is logical to assume that the military will institute mandatory testing once a proper procedure is available. This testing process will raise a few questions regarding the availability of those who test positive for worldwide assignment and deployment.  This discussion will be complicated by […]

How to Find VA DBQ Forms

While the VA has discontinued publishing Disability Benefit Exam Questionnaire (“DBQ”) forms on its website, I have attached the last historical link to these forms to help you to be better prepared for your VA C&P exams.  Here it is: https://web.archive.org/web/20190807143131/https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp  

VBA Eliminates Need for Wet Signatures

In order to ease the burden on claimants and their advocates in the electronic claims era, the VBA has essentially eliminated the need for “wet” signatures on claims and appeals forms.  I have attached the current agency guidance below for your use to expedite the filing of claims and appeals.   VBA Wet Signatures

BVA Virtual Hearings- How to Fact Sheet

The BVA is now instituting virtual hearings to expedite cases and ease the travel burden on veterans and advocates appealing lower-level agency decisions.   For your convenience, I have attached the current BVA Fact sheet outlining how to request a virtual hearing for your convenience.  Stay safe, well, and coronavirus free!  BVA VirtualHearing_FactSheet  

Urgent- Major Change to DOD Isability System

A major change was made to the DOD Disability Evaluation System on 2/12/20 that eliminated all post-hearing appeals after formal hearings for cases processed after 3/1/20.  This change eliminates a whole level of appeals and forces service members to proceed to the BCMR/BCNR for their respective services.  What does this mean for service members?  It […]

Recovering Medical Costs After Winning at the PDBR or BCMR

If you have been retroactively retired by the PDBR or BCMR, you can now seek reimbursement for both insurance premiums and out of pocket medical expenses incurred before the favorable board action.  See McCord v. United States, Fed. Circuit Docket No. 2018-2243.   This decision is a significant breakthrough for anyone who was separated with severance pay […]


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