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The DOD got my ratings wrong – the appeals process

“The DOD got my rating wrong!” – what the appeal process looks like

The DoD Disability Appeals Process can be broken down into particular levels.  The first rater of your disability will be the Informal Physical Evaluation Board (IPEB).  The IPEB will use the assigned ratings provided by the VA.  If you are dissatisfied with the IPEB’s decision, you can appeal to a Formal Physical Evaluation Board.  This is done simply by signing a form (for example the DA Form 199) stating you do not agree with the PEB’s decision. 

What happens if you do not disagree after the Informal PEB, but later decided your ratings are wrong?

It is best to resolve any questionable ratings while still actively enrolled in IDES, but if you later decided that your ratings are incorrect, you must petition to your service’s  highest level of appeal as follows:


An appeal must be sent to the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records, this is done by sending a DD Form 149 and VA Form 10-5345 to:

Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records


550-C Street West, Suite 40

Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4742


You can submit your appeal within 3 years of separation to the Board for Correction of Naval Records.  If you were separated from either the Navy or Marine Corps more than 3 years ago, the BCNR may not hear your case.  To apply, send a DD Form 149 to:

Board for Correction of Naval Records

701 S. Courthouse Road, Suite 1001

Arlington, VA 22204-2490


Send a DD Form 149 to:

Department of Homeland Security

Office of the General Counsel

Board for Correction of Military Records

245 Murray Lane, Stop 0485

Washington, DC 20528-0485


The Army likes to do things a bit more complicated, depending on the exact circumstances of your case you can apply to one of three different entities:


Criteria for appeal to the APDRB:

  • Separated from the military because of a medical disability with the past 15 years
  • The PEB’s Rating Decision did not entitle you to any compensation at all

To put it plainly, the Army must have medically separated you for a condition for which you received a 0% rating and therefore, you have received no compensation from the military for that condition.

This Board will allow for an appearance before it while conducting a review of your case.

To apply you must write a letter, submit your DD Form 214, and all relevant evidence to:

Army Review Boards Agency 
251 18th Street South, Suite 385 
Arlington, VA 22202-3531   


Criteria for appeal to the ADRRB:

  • Officially separated from the Army in the last 5 years
  • You were given a disability rating of 10% or more

This Board is HIGHLY SELECTIVE, and will only hear cases if the original rating decision was made fraudulently, a full and proper hearing was not provided for your case after you requested  one within the proper time limit, OR if you have new evidence that you could not have submitted before the rating decision even though you made attempts.

To apply you must write a letter and provide all supporting documents to:

Army Review Boards Agency 
251 18th Street South, Suite 385 
Arlington, VA 22202-3531  


This is the highest authority for all Army disability decisions.  Application to this Board can all be done if:

  • None of the other Boards have satisfactorily fixed your ratings decision; or
  • Your are unable to apply to any other Board; or
  • There is a clear error in your military records

Whatever this Board decides is the FINAL DECISION; so preparation of your case is extremely important.  In order to apply you must send a DD Form 149 along with all supporting materials and evidence to:

Army Review Boards Agency 
251 18th Street South, Suite 385 
Arlington, VA 22202-3531  

Be sure to include all correspondences with any Boards or agencies regarding your disability case.  The ABCMR will only review your case if you fit one of the above criterion.

Continuing our discussion, what happens if you did appeal to the Formal Physical Evaluation Board, but still do not agree with its decision?

At this time you can submit a rebuttal to the FPEB’s decision.  It is often typical the decision of the FPEB is “rubber stamped” by the applicable service Board.  After a rebuttal, you may then appeal to either the PDRB if you qualify (see our discussion on qualifying for the PDRB), if you do not qualify you can appeal directly to the highest level of disability review for the DOD:

AIR FORCE – The Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records

NAVY and MARINE CORPS-  The Board for Correction of Naval Records

COAST GUARD – The Board for Correction of Military Records for the Coast Guard

ARMY – Either the Army Disability Rating Review Board, Army Disability Rating Review Board, or the Army Board for Correction of Military Records (depending on your circumstances)

NOTE: The ARMY has an interim level of review after the IPEB, the UNITED STATES ARMY PHYSICAL DISABILITY AGENCY (USAPDA).  The USAPDA reviews every IPEB or FPEB decision in which the solider disagrees with the decision and waives a formal hearing.  If the USAPDA agrees the case was mishandled, it will send it back to the PEB for reconsideration.  A back and forth ensues between the PEB and USAPDA until the USAPDA agrees with the PEB’s decision.  A rebuttal can be submitted after a final determination by the USAPDA if the Service Member still disagrees.  If the USAPDA does not elect to revise the decision of the PEB, the case is forwarded to the Army Physical Disability Appeal Board (APDAB) which will then decide if: (1) if the Soldier received a full and fair hearing; (2) if the proceedings were performed according to appropriate laws and regulations; (3) if the ratings decisions were supported by the evidence. If the APDAB decision is not satisfactory for the Soldier, he or she may then apply to the appropriate above listed Board depending on his or her situation.

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