REFERRAL TO THE PEB for DISABILITY EVALUATION AND ADJUDICATION
An active duty member may be referred to the PEB by an MTF if the member’s condition is considered to be a disability. A member will also be referred to the PEB if a MEB is conducted and member is nearing high-year tenure, high-year tenure retirement, or voluntary transfer to the Fleet Reserve or retirement if there is cause for a disability review. The PEB will determine if member is fit or unfit based on the condition. SECNAVINST 1850.4E refers.
A case usually enters the Department of the Navy Disability Evaluation System (DES) when a MEB is dictated for the purpose of evaluating the diagnosis and treatment of a member who is unable to return to military duty. The member’s condition most likely is permanent, and/or any further period of TLD is unlikely to return the member to full duty.
A condition is considered permanent when the nature and degree of the condition render the member unable to continue naval service within a reasonable period of time (normally 8-12 months or less). Note: The term "permanent" does not necessarily mean the condition is unfitting.
Referral of a Medical Board report to the PEB can be referred for DES by PERS-835 (service headquarters) or submitted directly to the PEB by an MTF.
MEBs submitted on members with mandatory/voluntary retirement or mandatory/involuntary/voluntary separation dates should be received by the PEB 60 days prior to the originally approved retirement/separation date to allow for adequate processing time.
Once a case has been accepted by the PEB, the Informal PEB conducts a record review of the case. The individual concerned then is notified of the preliminary findings and given 15 calendar days in which to make a decision concerning the findings. If the member accepts the preliminary findings, the case is finalized and service headquarters (PERS-835) is directed to make an appropriate disposition (i.e., separate, disability retirement, fit).
If the member does not agree with the preliminary findings, the member can request reconsideration of that decision by the same Informal PEB and/or demand/request a personal appearance before a Formal PEB. If the member does not act on the preliminary findings, acceptance is presumed on the 16th day after receipt of the findings.
If the Formal PEB hears a case, it makes findings, and, subsequent to legal review and/or quality assurance review, findings are sent to the member. If the member accepts the findings, the case is finalized and appropriate disposition by service headquarters (PERS-835) is directed.
If a member disagrees with the findings/results of the Formal PEB, the member is given 15 calendar days from the date of receipt of the findings letter to petition the DIRNCPB. The member has the right to petition the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) at any time subsequent to final action on his or her case.
General policy is that any service member found to be Unfit to continue naval service by reason of physical disability to perform the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating will be retired or separated.
Certain conditions and defects of a developmental nature designated by the Secretary of Defense do not constitute a physical disability and are not ratable in the absence of an underlying ratable causative disorder. If there is a causative disorder it will be rated in accordance with other provisions.
These conditions include but are not limited to those listed below. Such conditions should be referred for appropriate administrative action under other laws and regulations.
1. Developmental Defects and Other Specific Conditions
Sleepwalking and/or Somnambulism
Dyslexia and Other Learning Disorders
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Stammering or Stuttering
Incapacitating fear of flying confirmed by a psychiatric evaluation
Airsickness, Motion, and/or Travel Sickness
Phobic fear of Air, Sea and Submarine Modes of Transportation
Certain Mental Disorders including:
Uncomplicated Alcoholism or other Substance Use Disorder.
Impulse Control Disorders
Sexual Gender and Identity Disorders
Psuedofolliculitis barbae of the face and/or neck
Medical Contraindication to the Administration of Required Immunizations
Significant allergic reaction to stinging insect venom
Certain Anemia (in the absence of Unfitting sequelae) including G6PD Deficiency, other inherited Anemia Trait, and Von Willebrand's Disease
Allergy to uniformed clothing or wool
Long sleeper syndrome
2. Circumstances not justifying referral to the PEB:
Lack Of Motivation. Lack of motivation alone for performance of duty does not justify referral to the PEB.
Request for referral to the PEB by the service member. \
Mere Presence Of Physical Defect. The mere presence of disease or injury alone does not justify referral. Referral should take place only when, in the opinion of a medical board, the defect may materially interfere with the member's ability to perform reasonably the duties of his or her office, grade, rank, or rating/MOS on active duty.
Inability To Meet Initial Enlistment/Appointment Standards. Once enlisted or commissioned, the fact that a member may fall below initial entry or appointment standards, does not require that the case be referred for disability evaluation.
Physical Disqualification For Special Duties. Physical disqualification from special duties, such as flying, serving on submarines or in a medical specialty, does not necessarily imply physical unfitness. Referral is appropriate only in cases where the member's ability to reasonably perform active military service is in doubt.
Inability to Meet Physical Standards for Specific Assignment or Administrative Requirement. The inability to meet screening criteria for a specific assignment or administrative requirement; i.e., deployment, overseas or sea duty assignment, or participation in PRT/PFT cycle, does not justify referral. Referral is appropriate only in cases where the condition appears to be permanent in nature or of such a degree as to render the member unable to return to naval service within a reasonable period.
Members Being Processed For Separation Or Retirement For Reasons Other Than Physical Disability. Do not refer a member for disability evaluation who is being processed for separation or retirement for reasons other than physical disability, unless the member previously was found Unfit but retained on active duty in a Permanent Limited Duty (PLD) status, or the member's physical condition reasonably prompts doubt that he or she is Fit to continue to perform the duties of office, grade, rank or rating.
SERVICE HEADQUARTERS CONSIDERATIONS
It is not within the mission of the Department of the Navy to retain members on active duty or in the Ready Reserve to provide prolonged, definitive medical care when it is unlikely the member will return to full military duty.
Prompt identification of physical impairments is essential to effective management of the LIMDU/DES system. There exists no authority to omit or postpone disability evaluation of physical impairment, which renders questionable the ability of service members to perform reasonably the duties of office, grade, rank, or rating.
Medical Officers should be aware of the 12-month cumulative limitation on TLD when considering any condition where surgical intervention might return a member to duty.
In light of the time necessary for convalescent leave and post-operative therapies (e.g. physical therapy), Medical Officers should normally consider performing operative procedures by the end of the first TLD period if conservative therapy has failed.
Medical and surgical procedures are frequently performed near the end of a service member's military career. Those are intended to improve a service member's health but they do not supercede pending involuntary separation or mandatory retirement, such retirement or separation may only be deferred if the member is hospitalized or a medical board report has been accepted by the President, PEB for disability evaluation processing.
Prior to any elective treatment by the Military Health System (MHS) a service member must consult with a competent military medical authority. Consideration of pending mandatory or involuntary separation or retirement dates must be taken into account. NAVPERSCOM will not defer separation dates to allow a member to utilize leave, which was not utilized due to a member being on convalescent leave.