Like the Air Force, the Army Physical Evaluation Board process begins with the members of one of the three Informal Panels nationwide conducting a paper review of your DOD/VA IDES MEB package, the DA 7652, your profiles and any other documents accompanying your package
When you receive the findings of the Informal Panel- also known as the IPEB, you will make an election of rights as to whether you accept the initial findings or whether you wish to proceed onward with the IDES process.
How we proceed depends upon your goals. If you have been found fit but wish to be found unfit, our first step will be to develop a detailed brief supported by medical and nonmedical evidence showing how each proposed unfitting condition prevents you from performing your duties. Nonmedical evidence is critical at this juncture, as the decision to find you fit was probably based upon an inaccurate or outdated command input. If you have been found unfit but believe that you can still perform your duties, it is critical to develop nonmedical evidence demonstrating this fact.
Most prospective clients come to me because they have been found unfit and offered disability severance pay vice a medical retirement. In this instance, it is necessary to determine whether there are additional medical conditions that should be found unfitting and thereby raise the disability percentage above 30%- the mystical, magical number for retirement purposes. In addition, it is also critical to determine whether there is new medical evidence regarding conditions for which you have been found unfit that merits a rating increase through a one-time VA reconsideration request.
Prior to formal hearings, I always submit a formal reconsideration request to the FPEB. This is a written case brief outlining our contentions and supported by the medical and nonmedical evidence establishing the points made in the brief. This brief will be accompanied by a separate but similar document outlining for the VA Decision Review Officer the reasons why your disability rating for DOD unfitting conditions should be increased. The formal reconsideration request is a free bite at the apple, as we will always demand a formal hearing if your request is not granted.
This can have one of two results- either they grant us an on the record decision or tell us where the case is weak, so that we can correct any problems prior to a formal hearing. At the formal hearing, we will present any and all evidence, testimony and documents that support our case. If we need to file an appeal to the USAPDA , just relax. It is all covered by my fee agreement- one price, start to finish- no surprises.