This article is intended to help those service men and women who are facing the challenge of a Medical Evalution Board/Physical Evaluation Board (MEB/PEB). MEB/PEB can be difficult and perplexing, but hopefully this article will be of some help to you. The first thing you must understand is MEB and PEB are not the same thing, although very similar. I will explain the difference later on. Then you should be aware of the process of the MEB/PEB.

So, what is the difference between the MEB and PEB? The MEB is initiated to see if you meet retention standards or not. At this step if you meet the retention standards then you are simply returned to your duty assignment, however if you do not meet retention standards then your file is fowarded to the PEB for further evaluation.

The PEB process was explained to me like this; there are three main steps the informal board, formal board, and the final appeals board, which depending on your branch of service will have a different name. The final appeals board for me was the Secretary of the Air Force, because I was in the Air Force. What does this all mean to you? Well, if your records are sent to the PEB, then just your records will appear before the informal PEB. The informal PEB will make its decision based on your medical records, and then forward the results back to your Physical Evaluation Board Liason Officer (PEBLO). At this point you and your PEBLO will sit down and you will decide if you agree or not with the findings of the informal PEB. If you agree PEB is over, however if you do not agree and appeal you will have to go before the formal PEB. At this point you will be assigned judge advocate (JAG) to assist you with the rest of the process. Depending on your situation you may or may not be required to appear in person before the formal PEB. Upon the formal PEB's decision you will have the opportunity to agree or appeal their decision, however once you make it to the final appeals board, that's right, no more appeals the decision is final.

What is it exactly the PEB is looking for? The PEB will be looking for two specific things: 1 – to see if you are fit for duty or not, 2 – what your disability rating is, if found unfit. Usually, if you are having to go through the PEB part then you are going to be found unfit. The problem that arises the most is with the disability rating. Most appeals are a result of, what the member thinks, is to low of a rating. I advise you to be ready to appeal if you do not agree with their finding. I was fortunate, because I was found with an extremely good rating and compensated accordingly. Be patient, get familiar with certain terminology, and ask questions. The more you know the better prepared you will be.

Last, you should be forwarned. Be extremely cautious of any severance pay you may be offered. I say this because many people will see, what they think at the time, is a large sum of money, but do not realize that they will not get any VA compensation until the severance pay is paid back. Before you except any severance pay I would advise you to research that topic a little more.