DOD reviews veterans’ current disability ratings

| August 25, 2011 | 0 Comments

Dustin Senger
Fort Carson Public Affairs

FORT CARSON, Colo. — About 25 percent of post-9/11 veterans reported a service-connected disability in July 2010, according to U.S. Labor Department statistics, in March.

Nearly a third had a disability rating of less than 30 percent.

Ratings of 10 and 20 percent pay out $123 and $243, respectively, per month, according to the latest Veterans Affairs compensation benefits rate tables. After 30 percent, benefits have the possibility of increased payments, dependent compensations, disability retirement and access to the Tricare military health program.

The Physical Disability Board of Review, or PDBR, was established “to review the disability determinations of covered individuals by Physical Evaluation Boards,” according to the Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008.

The PDBR re-evaluates records for anyone who served in the armed forces between Sept. 11, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2009, with a disability rating of 20 percent or less.

“Congress put this board in place so we can correct inaccurately rated disabilities, so we can afford (veterans) what they should have been afforded in the first place,” said Michael LoGrande, director, PDBR.

LoGrande said PDBR applicants receive an objective, Department of Defense-level review of their previously filed disability ratings.

“Congress made it incredibly clear to everyone that it’s apparent the services are artificially suppressing disability ratings, across all of the services. Only five percent of the eligible population has applied,” LoGrande said.

Cases include traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, limb dysfunction or loss of vision or hearing.

“If you apply to the PDBR, you don’t have to prove there was an error or injustice,” LoGrande said. “We look at everything available and see what can be rated.”

Almost all of the PDBR findings have resulted in a correction of military records, he added.

Each board combines a medical officer alongside two senior line officers, who represent the veteran’s branch of service. The board may endorse rating modifications, additions or recharacterizations to retirement. The board is not authorized to recommend reductions, according to the bill passed in 2008.

The Dignified Treatment of Wounded Warriors Act of 2008 legislation also funded the creation of pilot programs for the Disability Evaluation System, which are projected to reduce processing times and standardize policies across military departments.

“(PDBR) is an opportunity to correct a Soldier’s military record, as it pertains to their medical board rating,” said Edward Butler, an Army Wounded Warrior program advocate, here. “It will assist not just the Soldiers, but also their families.”

Post-9/11 veterans with a combined disability rating of 20 percent or less can apply to the PDBR at www.health.mil/pdbr.

 

 

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Category: Army News Service, News

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