The Defense Department announced today the establishment of a new Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) to review disability ratings of wounded warriors and provide another avenue of administrative recourse for our wounded veterans. The Air Force has been designated as lead DoD component for operation and management of the PDBR.
“The PDBR has no greater obligation to our wounded, ill, and injured service members and former service members than to offer fair and equitable recommendations pertaining to the assignment of disability ratings,” said Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness David S.C. Chu.
The PDBR will reassess the accuracy and fairness of the combined disability ratings assigned to service members who were discharged as unfit for continued military service by the military departments with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and were not found to be eligible for retirement. The PDBR will not review the military departments’ determinations of fitness for continued military service. Instead, the PDBR will review the combined disability ratings assigned to the specific conditions that resulted in a member being declared unfit for continued military service, acted upon by the military department Physical Evaluation Boards.
Any service member may have his or her case reviewed by the PDBR if he or she meets certain conditions. The member must have been separated from the Armed Forces between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2009, due to unfitness for continued military service resulting from a physical disability under chapter 61 of title 10, U.S. Code. Additionally, the member must have received a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less, and have been found not eligible for retirement. By law, once adopted by the service secretary, a PDBR recommendation is final, and removes the service member’s option to pursue subsequent review through the respective military department’s Board for the Correction of Military Records.
Service members may request the PDBR review their case if these conditions are met. Alternatively, the PDBR may itself decide to review an individual’s case, pending consent of the service member. Generally, individuals will apply for PDBR review through their respective military department, however more specific guidance will be provided by the Air Force.