Frequently Asked Questions:

Part A - Program Related FAQs:

Q1: Who should I call if I have IDES processing questions that are not answered below? A1: Call your MTF IDES Section. Phone number and email is located in the Point of Contact section on the IDES webpage

Q2: What is IDES? A2: IDES is a joint program between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that allows the disability evaluation system of the Army (and those of the other military services) to run concurrently with the VA's while Soldiers are still on active duty.

Q3: When does it begin? A3: IDES begins two ways. The first and most common is with the approval a permanent profile (DA 3349) that recommends a MEB. The second is when HRC's MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2) process refers the Soldier for an MEB and the profile is updated to reflect that decision. From that point, the process is the same.

Q4: What does the collaboration between DoD and VA mean for the Soldier? A4: There are several advantages the IDES has for the Soldier which include:

  • Enhanced Case Management: Collocated DoD and VA staff works together throughout the process providing consistent case management.
  • A Combined DoD-VA Report of Disability Ratings: Soldiers now go through the evaluation process only one time and receive a side-by-side report of the DA's and VA's ratings, and do so while they are still on active duty.
  • Increased Transparency: Soldiers know their VA disability rating before separating from military service.
  • Faster Processing and Delivery of Benefits: Because the VA renders its benefits decision before Soldiers separate, their benefits begin a month after separation, the shortest period permissible under the law.

Q5: To whom does IDES apply? A5: IDES applies to all Service Members regardless of branch of service or component (i.e., Active, Guard, and Reserve).

Q6: What are the fundamental differences between the legacy disability evaluation system and the IDES? A6: IDES provides Soldiers with a single disability rating report before they leave the Army and their VA benefits begin upon separation. Under the legacy system, Soldiers who were determined to be medically unfit for continued service were first rated by the Army on the level of their disability in relation to its impact on their ability to perform their duties and were then separated from the Army. Once the Soldier was separated, he/she was on their own to apply for and complete the VA`s evaluation process often repeating tests and examinations performed during the Army’s legacy process.

Q7: Is the IDES process different for CONUS vs. OCONUS Soldiers? A7: No, but Soldiers stationed in OCONUS must travel to a CONUS VA location to conduct their VA Compensation and Pension examinations which is part of the IDES process.

Q8: What are the intended benefits of IDES to the Army? A8: IDES was developed and implemented to improve unit readiness; create an evaluative process which is more effective, efficient, and supportive of Service Members; and reduce the number of non-deployable Service Members .

Q9: Why wasn't IDES fully implemented OCONUS? A9: IDES could not be fully implemented OCONUS because the VA does not have the requisite infrastructure available OCONUS to support a synchronized and integrated disability evaluation effort.

Q10: Is IDES participation optional? A10: No.

Q11: Does IDES only apply to combat-related disabilities? A11: No. It evaluates all potentially unfitting injuries and illnesses.

Q12: Does IDES also provide VA disability evaluation for Soldiers that are ETSing and retiring?
A12: No. IDES is only for Soldiers that require medical board processing.

Q13: Do the Army and the VA evaluate disability differently? A13: Yes. By law, the Army (and other military branches) only evaluates Soldiers' disabilities in relation to the impact on the Soldier's ability to perform the military mission. The VA, however, is tasked with evaluating how Soldiers' disabilities impact their general quality of life and ability to secure employment.

Q14: What do I need to do to help my Soldiers? A14: First and foremost, is your direct involvement in ensuring your Soldiers and their Family Members, if applicable, get the support they deserve as they enter IDES. This will be a stressful time for most. Secondary tasks include ensuring your Soldiers make all required appointments. Lastly, when your Soldier goes on their IDES TDY mission, ensure your unit provides transportation to and from their OCONUS Airport.

Q15: Are there unit funding implications?A15: Not at this time. All funding for the IDES TDY to the CONUS VA location will be centrally funded by Regional Health Command Europe IDES Patient Movement Cell.

Part B - Process Related FAQs:

Q1: How is the IDES process initiated? A1: IDES begins two ways. The first and most common is with the approval a permanent profile (DA 3349) that recommends a MEB. The second is when HRC's MOS Administrative Retention Review (MAR2) process refers the Soldier for an MEB and the profile is updated to reflect that decision. From that point, the process is the same.

Q2: What happens when my Soldier is referred for an MEB? A2: Referral into the IDES triggers multiple overlapping and cascading actions. A Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer (PEBLO) from your local Military Treatment Facility (MTF) will contact you and your Soldier as well as a Movement Contact Representative from Regional Health Command Europe (RHCE). Both organizations will schedule the required medical briefings, examinations, administrative appointments, and will act as guides for you, your Soldier, the Soldier's Family, and your unit.

Q3: When will my Soldier depart for their IDES TDY? A3: Most Soldiers depart for their IDES TDY within 40 days from receiving their approved permanent profile.

Q4: Who will publish TDY orders, book flights, and process travel vouchers for my Soldier in Defense Travel System (DTS)? A4: RHCE IDES Patient Movement Cell is responsible for processing all DTS actions to include TDY orders, booking flights, providing flight itineraries, and processing travel vouchers.

Q5: What if my Soldier wants to stay in Europe after separation? A5: Soldiers may request an Overseas Separation once they've been notified that they will enter the IDES.

Q6: What can my Soldiers do to prepare if they think they may end up in the IDES? A6: There are some very important actions they can take ahead of time to make the process easier when/if the time comes:

  • Decide where they would prefer to live if separated from service. Although not guaranteed, their preferences are considered when the Army determines their CONUS destination.
  • If a Soldier has a non-U.S. spouse/other non-U.S. Family Members who does/do not possess the requisite U.S. immigration documentation, the Soldier should start gathering as much U.S. immigration related information and documentation as possible in preparation for a potential PCS to CONUS. Leaders can educate Soldiers about this, but cannot mandate action, either directly, or implicitly. Consult your CJA or Finance Office for more information.

Q7: What should a Soldier do if their DEROS is about to expire? A7: They should contact the RHCE IDES Patient Movement Cell.

Q8: What should a Soldier do if their ETS date is about to expire? A8: They should contact their local MTF IDES Section.

Q9: What should a Soldier do if they are on assignment instructions when they receive their P3 profile?A9: They should take their P3 profile to their S1 and reenlistment NCO. Their S1 should request the Soldier be deleted from assignment.

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