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Field Problem: What is ‘Med-Boarded?’

My husband is currently going through the medical board process for severe PTSD. His doctor told him that they would possibly “medically retire” him. I have never heard of this term, but I have heard of being “med-boarded.” Can you explain to me what the difference is (if there is any) between these two things? Also, when someone is medically retired, what benefits do the veteran and their families get to keep?

Shaylen; Fort Sill, OK; Active Duty Army spouse of seven years

Dear Shaylen:

Thank you for trusting us with your question. Some of these things we here at Army Wife Network learn right along with you, our readers and listeners. No one on our team has gone through—or is going through—this, so we researched for you. We know this is an incredibly tumultuous experience as is anything “new” and “medical” in or out of the Army.

What we learned is that someone undergoes a “medical board process,” which may or may not result in being “medically retired.” This is typically known as being “med-boarded.”

The process starts with the recommendation and support of a primary caregiver because an injury or illness has made it such that a service member is unable to perform their assigned duties at the necessary level. The medical process and timing can vary greatly. You may have to have x-rays, psychological reviews, or physical therapy, for example, in order to complete a “review packet.”

There’s a local review by multiple physicians where the soldier can agree or disagree with the findings before they go to further review(s), called a physical evaluation board.

There are different ratings of disability that are determined by the extent of the condition and whether it’s permanent or not (there is also a “Temporary Disability” category and benefits along with that). If the percent of disability is 30 or higher and permanent, your soldier would be medically retired with all the same benefits as a soldier who has served 20 years.

There is one online board called recommended the Physical Evaluation Board Forum where you can undergo this process with the support of a previous JAG lawyer who has experience processing packets and communicate with other military members who are being reviewed or have been reviewed. It’s nearly always beneficial to find and latch on to someone that is experiencing similar things, and the PEB forum might be where you find that someone.

Of course, our Facebook page is full of military families who may be going through the same thing as well. You’re welcome to always ask your questions there. When we presented the basic research on the “med-board” process on our page, one spouse (Hero On My Arm) knew her stuff and clarified Temporary Disability Retired List (TDLR) category in this way:

…You do get the same benefits when you are put on the TDRL (which most people are). They are just subject to change at re-evals. Thoughts and prayers to anyone going through the MEB process.

Our fans get a big “hooah” for helpfulness, so be sure to lean on them in this trying time.

We reiterate what “Hero” said too: Our thoughts are with you, Shaylen. We hope this information and resources help in some small way.


1 Comment

  1. mamaof3&vetwifeof1

    The Med Board can be stressful but your service member should have been appionted a person called a PEBLO who like a case worker to help walk them thru the process however from going thru this personally with my husband, knowledge is power so please go check the website married to army and chat section for veterans. My husband was medically retired and we kept all our benfits which was a blessing except we now pay for Tricare and our Dental is higher. We just got our VA and his next DOD check up is in a about 9 months. I wish you the best. Email me if you have any questions.


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