Military Disability Rating Upgrades From the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR)

Vcag Military Disability Rating Upgrades From The Physical Disability Board Of Review Pdbr

Before 2008, the DoD had guidance published for evaluating and rating conditions that made a service member Unfit for Duty.  This guidance was inconsistent with the VA rating system and rather vague, leaving the different service branches to develop their own policies for evaluating and rating certain conditions. As a result, service members in different branches with the same condition often received very differently Military Disability Ratings from their Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).

Recognizing that this was both inconsistent and unfair, Congress decided to fix this problem by passing a law in 2008 that required all of the military branches to rate disabilities based solely on the VA's rating system, the CFR 38 Schedule of Ratings.

Over half of PDBR reviews result in an increased military disability rating. The PDBR does not have the legal authority to lower a military disability rating. Nor can the PDBR address concerns you may have about medical conditions that weren’t evaluated when you were medically separated. To ask to have medical conditions evaluated that were excluded when you were medically separated, you will need to request a correction to your military records.

For a Veteran’s case to be eligible for a record review by the PDBR, he or she must have been medically separated (a disability rating of 0%, 10%, or 20%) from the military between September 11, 2001, and December 31, 2009.

If you wish to apply to have your case reviewed by the PDBR, it is vital that you carefully put together your application with all the necessary information.

The PDBR takes into consideration all medical evidence leading up to the date of separation and only post-separation evidence that lies within the 12-month period immediately following the date of separation. Please keep in mind, though, that any post-separation evidence is only valuable if it helps to show the severity of the condition at separation. Showing that the condition is getting worse during that 12-month period doesn’t help since only the severity of the condition at the time of separation matters.

If you are preparing an application to submit to the PDBR, therefore, only submit the most pertinent information that lies before separation and within that 12-month period. Please don’t submit every medical record you have. If really important information lies outside that 12-month window, it can be included in the application to the PDBR, but it will not really affect the PDBR’s final rating decision.

Review the CFR 38 Schedule of Ratings for the condition you were medically discharged for. This information could include test and x-ray results, examination notes, prescribed medications, etc. Once you know how your conditions should be rated, you’ll know exactly what medical records you need to submit to the PDBR.

Remember, however, to use the CFR 38 Schedule of Ratings for the year you were discharged to see how the CFR 38 Schedule of Ratings in effect at the time of your separation differs from the current CFR.

LINK: HISTORIC CFR (Code of Federal Regulations)

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary medical evidence, you can apply by submitting it along with VA Form 3288 (REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM INDIVIDUAL'S RECORDS ) and DD Form 294 (APPLICATION FOR A REVIEW BY THE PHYSICAL DISABILITY BOARD OF REVIEW (PDBR) OF THE RATING AWARDED ACCOMPANYING A MEDICAL SEPARATION FROM THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES) . Also include your DD-214, all Medical Evaluation Board and Physical Evaluation Board records, and all VA records with your original and current ratings.


Mail all materials to:


500 C Street West, Suite 41

Randolph AFB, Texas 78150-4743


Submit electronic copies to:

Send your packet electronically to

  • Please ensure the documents are scanned in at a high enough resolution that we can run text recognition. Any pictures or images should be scanned at as high a resolution as possible. Unreadable information could delay your case due to the need to request legible paper copies.
  • Our ability to accept email is limited to 1 GB of data per email.  Please break up the file size accordingly.
  • A scanned or facsimile copy of the application form is considered a legitimate application.



NOTE: PDBR Decisions are final

You can request free legal help from Lawyers Serving Warriors Program, operated by the National Veterans Legal Services Program, if you meet their eligibility requirements.


For more information on PDBR as well as a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), use this link:





August 6, 2019 - 8:36pm
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