Service members can incur a wound, illness or injury at any time, whether serving in combat operations, during training evolutions, any other time on the job or even after hours. With the aid of exceptional medical care and adequate time to heal, many Service members can recover and return to full and unrestricted duty. Unfortunately, some Service members may suffer a long-lasting or permanent change from a wound, illness, or injury, and this may affect their ability to continue a military career. In this case, it is appropriate for them to be referred to the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) process which will determine their fitness for continued military service.
Service members and their families do not have to navigate the IDES alone. The Department of Defense Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) and the Veterans Affairs Military Service Coordinator (MSC) are non-clinical case management specialists who are trained and available to provide assistance and information to the Service member and their family and/or representative. During the IDES process, two evaluation boards will review a Service member’s case file documentation. A Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) will review the Service member’s record to decide if he/she meets medical retention standards. After the MEB, a Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) will be convened to determine the Service member’s disposition—return to duty, separation, or retirement, either permanent or temporary. The Service member will begin receiving any VA benefits determined by the IDES process as soon as allowed by law.
If a Service member has questions about IDES, they should contact their MCS or PEBLO or visit the DoD Compensation and Benefits Handbook for Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members for an IDES summary.