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Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) | Disability Claims Attorney

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System is a joint DoD and VA process by which DoD determines whether wounded, ill, or injured service members are fit for continued military service, and by which DoD and VA determine appropriate disability compensation benefits for service members being medically separated or retired. The IDES features a single set of disability medical examinations appropriate for fitness determinations by service branches, along with a single set of disability ratings provided by VA for use by both VA and DoD in rating a service member’s disabilities.


The first phase of the IDES is the medical evaluation board (MEB), an informal administrative board that reviews a service member’s medical condition and recommends whether or not the medical condition will impede the service member’s performance of his or her duties. Prior to the MEB beginning its review, a service member will be sent to a VA C&P exam for each potential service-connected disability the service member may have. The completed C&P exams are then provided to the MEB for review and recommendation. The MEB does not physically exam the service member – its findings are based on the C&P exams performed by the VA, as well as the service member’s military treatment records.

The quality and accuracy of MEB findings are highly dependent on the underlying C&P examinations, and thus it is important to carefully review an MEB’s findings as this is the best time to dispute and correct inaccuracies. Upon receipt of MEB findings, a service member has appeal/rebuttal rights, as well as the right to request a review of the MEB findings by an independent provider.


If the MEB finds a service member unfit for duty, the service member’s case is referred to an informal physical evaluation board (IPEB), which conducts a paper review of the record and adjudicates fitness to continue military service, disability compensation, and whether or not the condition is combat-related. The IPEB findings will be provided to the service member on DA Form 199 which designates the unfitting conditions and the proposed ratings assigned to those conditions.

At this point, the service member can either accept or appeal the IPEB findings. In addition, the service member also has the right to make a one-time request for reconsideration of the ratings  based on mistake or new medical evidence. This must be submitted in writing, and the service member does not have a right to a hearing or any other in-person reconsideration.

If a service member disagrees with and appeals the IPEB findings, a formal PEB (FPEB) convenes and the service member  can choose either an in-person hearing or a written appeal. It is generally recommended to choose the hearing so the service member can give in-person testimony.


There are several potential outcomes to the IDES. In general, a service member will be found: (1) fit for duty and returned to service; (2) unfit for duty and entitled to single severance payment if the combined rating for unfitting conditions is 20 percent or less; or (3) unfit for duty and entitled to medical retirement if the combined rating for unfitting conditions is 30 percent or more.

If a service member is medically retired, he or she receives monthly retirement pay for the rest of his or her life, along with all other military retirement benefits (i.e. access to commissary or PX). On the other hand, if a service member is medically separated, he or she receives a single separation payment and no retirement benefits. Clearly the difference between a 20 and 30 percent rating is huge.


A service member has the right to a one-time request for reconsideration of ratings during the informal PEB. This request for reconsideration applies only to unfitting conditions, and must be based on mistake or new medical evidence. If unsuccessful, a service member must wait until discharge and then can appeal the ratings by filing a notice of disagreement with the VA within one year of separation. As for fitting conditions, those must be appealed after discharge as well.

If the appeal of the service member’s ratings to VA is successful, a service member can then appeal to their branch’s Board for Correction of Military Records which can modify a service member’s medical separation to a medical retirement.


Service members have the right to private counsel while going through the IDES, and this is often the difference between coming out of the IDES in-sync with your expectations, versus having to appeal the IDES outcome with VA after you’ve already been discharged, which can take years. The MEB phase of the IDES is hugely important, and we focus on ensuring the VA examinations accurately capture and portray your medical conditions.


We a flat fee for representation during each phase of the IDES. This gives you 24/7 access to Attorney Rada without the worry of billable hours or invoices. And once you’ve been discharged, we will pursue any appeals with the VA on a contingency fee basis.


Attorney Gregory M. Rada handles every aspect of your case from initial intake to resolution. As a veteran, he understands what you are going through, and his knowledge of the process will go a long way to alleviating your stress and frustration.

Greg personally answers your phone calls and prides himself on always keeping clients informed and updated on their case.

Integrated Disability Evaluation System FAQs

What Is The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)?

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System, commonly referred to as IDES, is an special initiative that is spearheaded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as a Integrated Disability Evaluation System (Ides) disability claims attorney can explain. It was introduced to assess the suitability of service members for military service, taking into account any medical conditions they might have. In scenarios where a service member possesses a medical ailment that could potentially deem them unfit for duty, IDES becomes pivotal. This system determines whether the concerned individual should persist in their service or if they are eligible for specific disability benefits.

How Does The IDES Process Function?

At the core of the IDES process is a detailed evaluation that begins when a military doctor flags a service member to a Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) due to a medical condition that might hinder their suitability for duty. The MEB undertakes a meticulous review of the service member’s medical history and subsequently issues an initial recommendation. If the board identifies the condition as potentially disqualifying, the case is escalated to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB). The PEB bears responsibility for determining the final verdict concerning whether a service member is considered fit for duty. If found unfit, the VA is entrusted with the task of evaluating the service member to pinpoint the apt disability rating and the subsequent benefits they should receive.

How Much Time Is Typically Required For The IDES Process?

Designed with the objective of wrapping up within a 230-day timeframe, the IDES process, in reality, can be influenced by a multitude of factors. Elements such as the intricacy of the case, requisition of additional medical assessments, or any unforeseen administrative hindrances can prolong the process. This is precisely where the expertise of an Integrated Disability Evaluation System (Ides) Disability Claims Attorney becomes paramount. With the guidance of a reputable and dedicated lawyer to assist you throughout the process, you can get peace of mind and are more likely to get positive results. 

What Entitlements Can I Anticipate If IDES Determines I’m Unfit For Service?

Upon the PEB’s declaration of a service member’s unsuitability for continued military service, the individual stands to receive disability retirement or severance pay, the specifics of which hinge on their disability rating. The VA is in charge of assigning its own disability rating, which is used as a guide for VA disability compensation. Service members might also find themselves eligible for medical care, vocational rehabilitation, and a slew of other VA benefits. It’s pivotal to grasp that the nature and extent of these benefits can differ based on individual predicaments and the consolidated disability ratings meted out by both the DoD and VA.

How Can Legal Representation Aid Me In My IDES Disability Claim?

Opting for the services of an Integrated Disability Evaluation System (Ides) Disability Claims Attorney can make all the difference in your IDES journey. Such professionals ensure the safeguarding of your rights, the collation of requisite medical evidence, deft handling of the appeals procedure if the need arises, and striving to optimize your benefits. Because cases concerning IDES can be highly complex and full of nuances, it helps to have a legal professional to support you, so set up a consultation with a trusted Integrated Disability Evaluation System (Ides) disability claims attorney now.



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"Greg is an amazing lawyer that you should hire! I wanted someone who was also in the military and could understand how the VA system works to help me win my appeal for my TDIU benefits, and he managed to win my case. Thanks again!"
Pauline O'Connell
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