The Medical Evaluation Board
The Medical Evaluation Board
When a service member has a medical condition that may make him Unfit for Duty, he is referred to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) and enters the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES). The Medical Evaluation Board is Step 4 of the IDES.
Each base/fort/station/etc. with a medical facility has its own Medical Evaluation Board. The Medical Evaluation Board is comprised of a group of medical authorities. There is no fixed number of people who can sit on a Medical Evaluation Board, but Medical Evaluation Boards normally consist of 2 physicians. A third specialist physician is required for psychiatric and dental conditions.
When a service member is referred to the Medical Evaluation Board, he submits evidence of his conditions, including medical records and a letter from his commander stating how the conditions affect his ability to do his job. (Normally these are submitted to the Medical Evaluation Board directly by the service member’s commander and physician, but it’s never a bad thing for the service member to be aware and ensure that everything is properly submitted. It's also not a bad idea for him to get copies of these documents.) Service members may also submit personal statements about their conditions.
The Medical Evaluation Board’s main job is to sort through this evidence and submit a report to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). In the report, the Medical Evaluation Board determines which of the service member's conditions are medically unacceptable.
Medically unacceptable conditions are ones that do not meet the Standards of Medical Fitness for each branch of the military. The Army is the only branch to compile an official regulation of its general fitness standards, but while each branch has its own set of standards, they are all very similar.
Though the Medical Evaluation Board determines medical acceptability, only the PEB has the authority to decide if a service member’s conditions make him Unfit for Duty.
While it is very unusual for the PEB to rule a medically acceptable condition to be unfitting, it is not at all unusual for the PEB to rule a medically unacceptable condition to be fitting. The Medical Evaluation Board looks only at the Standards of Medical Fitness that are in place. The PEB, however, looks at exactly how the condition actually affects the service member’s ability to do his job.
For example, the amputation of the index and middle fingers will always be judged medical unacceptable by the Medical Evaluation Board, but not necessarily unfitting by the PEB. If the service member is a gunman, then the PEB would most likely determine that the condition is unfitting since it would be very difficult for him to shoot a gun without these two fingers. If the service member were a linguist, however, the PEB would most likely judge his condition to be fitting since the service member would still be able to translate without any trouble.
After the Medical Evaluation Board
If, however, the PEB does not feel that they have enough information to make a decision, they can send the case back to the Medical Evaluation Board. The Medical Evaluation Board is then responsible for gathering any additional information or evidence that may be needed by the PEB.
Preparing for the Medical Evaluation Board
In order for the MEB Process to run as smoothly as possible and as quickly as possible, it is vital that all the proper evidence is submitted to the Medical Evaluation Board right off the bat. To know what evidence should be submitted to the Medical Evaluation Board, Find Your Conditions so that you can know what information is needed to assign the proper Military Disability Ratings to your conditions.