The Pentagon created the Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) to review and reassess the disability ratings originally given to all veterans who served between December 31, 2009 and September 11, 2001 but since September 30, 2011, less than 4% of all qualifying veterans with disabilities have been reviewed, according to an article in The Air Force Times.
The vast majority of veterans, however, are unaware of the board’s existence. Approximately 77,000 veterans qualify for the review, yet only 2,842 applications have been received since January of 2009.
Eligible veterans were assigned disability ratings of no more than 20%. If a veteran were to be awarded 30%, however, that veteran could then qualify for medical retirement and lifetime benefits as well.
The PDBR compares veterans’ applications to their original review board records. They then look at any additional information veterans submit to support their request for a higher disability rating. Of those applications for review the PDBR has already considered, 49% have resulted in disability ratings being pushed to 30% or more.
Congress believes there were “inconsistencies in disability ratings across the services,” which is what the board was created to address. Some of those inconsistencies are branch-exclusive, meaning the highest disability ratings seemed to be awarded to Air Force officers while the lowest disability ratings seemed to be given to “enlisted Marines and soldiers.” Although the review process itself is fairly lengthy, the PDBR cannot lower veterans’ current disability rating.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, a South Florida disability attorney from Veterans Help Group is ready to help. To learn if you are entitled to certain programs and benefits contact our veterans disability rights firm today – 1-855-855-8992.