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Veterans are placed on TDRL when conditions aren’t stable for permanent rating

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By ANDREW STAVROPOULOS

So, you’ve endured the Army’s Medical Evaluation Board process, you were looking forward to getting your final disability ratings from the Physical Evaluation Board, and then—the unexpected happened. The PEB said that one or more of your conditions were not stable enough for a permanent rating, so they placed you on the Temporary Disability Retirement List. Now what? Before we get to that, let’s discuss the TDRL process.

The PEB will place you on the TDRL if you would otherwise qualify for permanent disability retirement and you have at least one unfitting condition that is not stable for rating purposes—that is, the condition is likely to change within the next five years so as to result in a change in rating or a finding of “fit.” The goal in placing you on TDRL is to provide time for your condition to improve and stabilize, away from the stress of Army life. You will be placed on the TDRL for a maximum period of three years.

While on TDRL, you will receive a medical re-evaluation at least once every 18 months to assess the stability of your condition. Make sure to report to this evaluation, as failing to do so could terminate your Army benefits. Once your examiners determine that your condition is stable enough for rating, your evaluation report is forwarded to the PEB, which will review it and issue your disability ratings using DA Form 199 (Informal Physical Evaluation Board Proceedings).

It’s important to understand the TDRL process as outlined above, because you have several opportunities to challenge the process along the way. This is where your TDRL attorney comes in handy. The TDRL attorneys at Fort Knox handle all of the TDRL cases in the entire Army, from Tacoma, Washington, to Washington, D.C. We are the subject matter experts in safeguarding your rights while you’re on the TDRL, including your right to rebut any incorrect or misleading information in your TDRL Evaluation Report and your right to appeal your disability ratings on your DA Form 199.

When should you contact a TDRL attorney? First, you should feel free to contact us as soon as you are placed on the TDRL if you have any questions or concerns about the process. We will be happy to provide an initial briefing on what to expect while on the TDRL. Next, you should contact us as soon as you receive your TDRL Evaluation Report, because you will only have five calendar days to decide whether you agree with the report. If you do not agree with it, we can review the results with you and draft any rebuttal. Finally, you should contact us as soon as you receive your DA Form 199 from the PEB, as you will only have 10 calendar days to decide whether you agree with your disability ratings. If you do not agree, we will work with you to draft a written appeal and will also advise you on requesting and appearing at a formal hearing before the PEB.

You can arrange to speak to a TDRL attorney by calling (502) 624-2310 or by visiting the Office of Soldiers’ MEB Counsel at the Fort Knox IDES Center, Bldg. 853, near Ireland Army Health Clinic at the corner of Ireland Avenue and 192nd Tank Battalion Road. You can reach us by email at usarmy.knox.medcom-irach.mbx.tdrl-counsel@mail.mil. We also conduct a weekly TDRL briefing every Wednesday at 2 p.m. eastern—just call (210) 249-4234 and dial pass code 69603#. Remember, the Fort Knox TDRL attorneys are here to serve you by safeguarding your rights while you are on the TDRL, so don’t hesitate to call us. n