Asthma MEB. Any similar cases?

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#1
Hi there,
New to the forum but I've been stalking for a few weeks. I've noticed that there are a lot of people with asthma claims but I haven't found anyone whose situation is like mine. At least from what I have read. I wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone had a similar experience and just hadn't posted about it. Details below.

2013: Failed PT test due to Asthma attack. MEB went up shortly after I had been diagnosed and came back RTD in late 2014.

2014-2017: I've cycled just about every medication on the market to include prednisone here and there and nothing has helped improve my lung function. I haven't taken the run portion of a PT test since 2013. Although I haven't had an attack since then my day to day has only gotten worse in the last 4 years.

2018: Hit a road block in treatment and PCM says it's time to MEB again since I haven't improved and can't test or deploy (C code but what AFSOC base is gonna take an asthmatic?). Currently I'm on Breo Ellipta, singular, zyrtec, flonase, and azelastine. Got the full board from AFPC in March and just finished my last C&P exam last Wednesday.

I've read so many people saying their asthma was not rated at the IPEB as unfitting but I also haven't seen anyone who has gone up just for asthma and in the same fashion I have. Any similar experiences out there? Thanks in advance!
 

AFOddJob

Registered Member
#2
I was MEB'd for asthma, but my asthma has been (relatively) well-controlled. Additionally, my asthma is triggered by allergens and upper respiratory infections, but it is not exercise induced. I was found "fit" back in 2007, assigned an ALC-C2, and have gone through 10 annual RILOs since then. I'm still able to participate in fitness activities and I don't have any consistent medical waivers for fitness tests. I joined the military back in 2002 and have been on active duty for 15 years, 8 months.

My rough guess...I think you'll be found "unfit". Without being able to fitness test or deploy, you won't be able to do anything outside of in-garrison activities. The good news is that if you are found unfit that you'll at least receive 30% (which is the magic percentage for medical retirement) as you require a daily-inhaled anti-inflammatory. This could increase up to 60% depending on how often you require prednisone and how constricted your lung function is. You can check out the VA schedule of ratings to look for yourself. Given that your asthma will probably be your only "unfitting" condition, DoD will likely only rate you based upon the severity or medication requirements of your asthma. It's possible that you still could be found to be "fit" though if you're commander writes up glowing praises as to how well you are still able to do your in-garrison job. The commander's letter to the MEB/IPEB does carry significant weight.

How many years do you have in thus far?
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#3
Thanks for the reply! I have looked into the ratings and 30% seems accurate. I haven't had prednisone since 2015. My commander wrote do not retain as I can not perform "at the required level." He didn't really go too deep into detail just that I have a hard time keeping up with day to day stuff like moving stands and maintenance equipment etc. My post bronch PFT is 65% so I line up with 30% with meds and PFT. And I just crossed 7 years in April active duty.
 
#4
I was medically retired at 30% and it is more than likely you will also be medically retired. I was a PEBLO and underwent an MEB so I know the process in and out, both as a Member and a patient. On the flip side when you are medically retired, the VA can change your rating at any time. I went from 30% to 10% for asthma after the VA tested me 4 months after I retired and my PFT was 72%. I had to go through a NOD to have it changed back to 30% but it took almost a year and 2 pulmonary doctors to back it up.
 

AFOddJob

Registered Member
#5
Thanks for the reply! I have looked into the ratings and 30% seems accurate. I haven't had prednisone since 2015. My commander wrote do not retain as I can not perform "at the required level." He didn't really go too deep into detail just that I have a hard time keeping up with day to day stuff like moving stands and maintenance equipment etc. My post bronch PFT is 65% so I line up with 30% with meds and PFT. And I just crossed 7 years in April active duty.
With that letter from the commander, it's highly unlikely that they'd find you "fit". The 65% PFT and inhaled anti-inflammatory meds definitely put you in 30%. If you had more than 12 years in service, DoD may have awarded you a higher effective retirement percentage for longevity (2.5% per year of service- 12 years is 30%), but since you don't have that time in service your retirement pay will likely be capped at 30% of your highest three years of pay. If the VA comes in and rates you a higher percentage, then it could increase how much you receive, but if I were you I'd assume that I'd receive 30% for planning purposes. If the IPEB comes back with anything less then I'd definitely fight it until you get that 30%.
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#6
@crustyoldvet dang that sounds like a hassle. I've never had my FEV1 over 65-68 post bronch. Primarily the reason for the second attempt at a board. I was on the DAWG list for a while (8 or so profiles consecutively) before this. I guess as long as the end result was back to 30% it's all good!

@AFOddJob I'm assuming 30% as well. It sucks being in the waiting phase and even though I have all these things in my favor I still get anxious because I don't want to be found fit. I've been fighting this battle the majority of my career and I'm mentally exhausted. I do plan to appeal if I were to get anything less than 30%. Hopefully I don't have to because the appeals process seems drawn out and I don't wanna be in any longer than I need to be.

Thank you both for the replies! Good to know I'm not alone in the asthma boat.
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#7
@thecrustyoldvet add on question for you..in my C&P reports the guy that did my exam selected the highest number for the "which result most accurately reflects the disability" my FEV1 was 66% but my FEV1/FVC was 88%. He put the FEV1/FVC most accurately reflects. You think that's gonna be a problem? I was gonna bring it up to my PEBLO Tuesday but I wanted to know if it's something I need to worry about. My med use still is in the 30% category but I don't wanna get low balled here for a clerical error.
 
#8
If the AF uses this criteria to determine your disability you could be looking at 10% but I would fight it until you have exhausted all your resources. Document, Document, Document. If you feel short of breath head to the ER or see your provider. With all the medications you are on the least you should get is 30%, but it will not be considered permanent and you could be retested by the VA at any time once you retire/separate. So all the documentation is key in your case.
 

Richbo

Registered Member
#9
I just went through same type thing. PEB found me unfit. VA Rated me 80% total, but only 10% for Asthma because my FEV was 81%. They never did the Methacoline Challenge, so according to VASRD Code 6602 for Asthma, I should have been rated on my medications. Advair is listed and rated as an inhaled inflammatory, and Albuterol listed and rated as a bronchodilator - both of which fall into the 30% category. I also take Singulair, which I am not sure how gets factored in. I have initiated an appeal for that and some other inconsistencies so we will see what happens.
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#10
@Richbo that's the only thing I'm concerned about. My package is at the VA as of 5 June. I don't see how I could be rated at anything other than 30% but I have seen several people have to appeal for that. Hopefully they bump you up. I'm hoping to see my ratings sometime in the next 2-3 weeks. I just wanna be done an out. My FEV1 was 66% plus I take breo and albuterol. We will see I suppose
 

Richbo

Registered Member
#12
I was hoping to be found fit as well. I am AGR, and right now, when they add my 1405 time I am going to be 1 year short of 20 Active. I have 33 total years of service. What sucks is even at 30%, if they deny my COAD to stay that extra time, I feel that after all of my time I will be getting stemmed. Would rather stay the 4 more to get 20 Active and retire.

Bengtsonk - my packet took 41 days in the VA Rating step. Everything up to that point flew and was way ahead of schedule. At this point, it can take as long as they want it.
 

Wild Willie

Registered Member
#15
Thanks my PFT at the C&P was 37% pre and 64% post FEV1 I couldn't get the machine to register during the post so they guessed my post thought that was odd
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#16
That is weird. My FEV1 was 66% but for some reason on my report they said my FEV1/FVC most accurately described my condition. It shouldn't affect me hopefully. My package has been at the VA since 5 June. Hoping it doesn't take the 6 weeks they told me.
 

Wild Willie

Registered Member
#17
They put session quality F after my post test so maybe they won't use it. Hopefully that helps you more. I got the email saying my package arrived at the physical disability ops team June 1st
 

Wild Willie

Registered Member
#19
As far as I know haven't gotten anymore emails and ebenefits still says gathering evidence. Really hope it doesn't take 6-8 weeks the not knowing sucks
 

Bengtsonk

Registered Member
#20
I didn't get anything from mypers. My PEBLO emailed me. She's pretty good about keeping in touch though. I've heard others and not as good. The evaluation board can take 4 weeks and another 4-6 at VA from what I've been told. I'm ready to be done.
 
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