Temporary Disability Retirement List Review Cases
If you have been placed on the Temporary Disability Retirement List (“TDRL”), this means that one or more of your conditions is not yet medically stable and your case will be subject to continuing review. These review exams will occur one or more times during the statutory period that you may remain on the TDRL.
In a change to the TDRL process, members placed on the TDRL with a retirement date on or after January 1, 2017 will no longer enjoy a five-year period in which their cases may be reviewed and finalized. For such persons, all case will be adjudicated within a three-year window. If your retirement date was prior to January 1, 2107, then your case will be processed under the five-year review period. At that point, your case must be finalized. In reality though, most cases are finalized well before the end of the review period. That is why you must prepare for your first TDRL review exam starting the day that you retire.
For the vast majority of you reading this page, you will have been placed on the TDRL as part of the Joint DOD/VA IDES Process. However, the TDRL review process is very similar to the old legacy system and requires careful study and preparation. You will be afforded the same rights and remedies granted you under the legacy system. The only decision that is not subject to appeal is continuing you on the TDRL- since you are not deemed to have lost benefit sand there is thus nothing to appeal. To assist you in preparing, I have outlined below what you need to do to help me to successfully represent you on the TDRL.
First, you must ensure continuity of care by signing up for Tricare the day that you are placed on the TDRL and simultaneously enrolling in the VA health care system as well If you receive additional insurance coverage through an employer or university, that is fine- but always maintain your enrollment in the Tricare and VA systems as well. Why? To ensure seamless transition of coverage in the event of job loss or problems with COBRA plans.
Second, for every condition for which you were placed on the TDRL, you must be seen at least three to four times per year and follow any prescribed treatment plans. This includes obtaining updated printouts from your pharmacy showing that you have filled your prescriptions as scheduled. Please do not tell me that you did not follow up with doctors because you felt that it did not make a difference- no one cares. If you are not undergoing treatment, the logical conclusion is that condition no longer bothers you. Thus, you should always obtain copies of your records to establish that you need ongoing medical care for each condition.
Third, for mental health conditions, particularity trauma-induced conditions, you will likely be seen within six months of being placed on the TDRL as per the requirements established in 38 CFR Part 4.129. This means that there can be NO break in therapy and medications must continue to be prescribed and filled. If you have not seen someone in several months, your 50% PTSD rating will likely be reduced to 10% for someone requiring medication alone and no therapy. Thus, you cannot have a break in treatment- whether you receive therapy in-person, by phone or video, there must be a documented record of it- no matter what.