MEB intiated for Ulcerative Colitis, What are my chances of staying in?

stigglit

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I've been in the Air Force for almost 6 years. I've had the UC for 4 years but I have never had a MEB until now. My doctor says there's a very low chance I'll get the boot since my UC is really mild and I don't have to take strong meds. However, I really want to hear from people who have actually gone through this process or have any knowledge on this.

Other Questions:
If I get kicked out, will the military still take care of my disease?
How much of a disability rating could I possibily get with this disease?

I'd really appreciate your feedback!

Take care.
 

johnbgately

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First, review the current USAF Aeromedical Waiver Guide at pages 918-919: https://www.wpafb.af.mil/Portals/60/documents/711/usafsam/USAF-Waiver-Guide-190605.pdf. second, be advised that if you are not in remission as established by endoscope vice clinical observation, there is a very high probability of you being found Unfit and you are unlikely with your current length of service to be approved for LAS. If that is the case, your efforts to be returned to duty and downplay symptoms will probably result in a 10% disability severance finding. On the other hand, it is not hard to substantiate the level of symptomatology required for the 30% minimum needed to receive a Ch.61 medical retirement. You will find some personnel who have been returned to duty and many who have been separated or retired. The key issues are whether you currently require immunosuppressant therapy on a regular basis and what the results of your last endoscopy/colonoscopy are, as well as the impact on your current duties.
 

stigglit

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I reviewed the pages and it seems like I'd be able to get a waiver considering I haven't had a flare-up in 2 years and I'm most likely going to get a colonoscopy proving it. What is LAS? Also I only take Lialda which is Mesalamine. So I'm not taking any immunosuppressant. Based off of this, you seem really knowledgeable; if you were in my situation, what would you do? Would you try to stay in or get out?

Lastly, do you know if the Air Force would still medically treat me if I had to get out?

I really do appreciate your help on this!
 

chaplaincharlie

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The MSD, in the resources section, explains retention standards. It contains nuances. You might want to look at the MSD.
 

phaerix

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I have UC and was diagnosed in 2012 and was using your same medication. They didn't do a full MEB on me, just a RILO. I was returned to duty and fought the disease until it progressed to a point where I was required to be on immune suppressants and biologics. These new medications initiated a full MEB and I was certain I would not be retained this time, so I didnt fight it. Awaiting my ratings now.

You probably have a good chance at stayin in and a slim chance at getting 30% if you decided you wanted to leave. For me when I was in your situation, I decided to just stick around and focus heavily on my plan B because I knew the chances at making it to 20 years was slim. I transferred my GI bill to my wife so we could bring in more income and we started investing 50-60% of our household income for the last 5 years. It helps a lot being financially prepared for this.
 

bkess

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Phaerix,

Can you let me/us know your MEB ruling? How far along in the process are you?

I just got diagnosed with left sided UC in Feb of this year. Started with Lialda and suppositories. Worked only temporarily and symptoms came back. Doc bumped it up to budesonide (steroid). Worked temporarily but even shorter timeframe till symptoms came back and actually got worse. Did another colonoscopy and my UC had actually gotten worse and extended past my transverse colon. Doc told
me I needed to take Humira and I will probably need to take it the rest of my life and it will trigger a MEB. A week later I PCSed. I honestly have no idea what the next step is. I have an appointment with my new PCM to figure out the next step.

I Would love any input you have on your situation.

My Colonel at old assignment said the MEB is hit or miss for retainment in general. If I get booted I just hope to get at least 30% disability because Humira ain’t cheap.
 

phaerix

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I'm near the end. Should get my ratings in a couple weeks. Humira will make you completely non-deployable, so the likelihood that you will be retained is slim. Check out the VA schedule of ratings for UC... they explain what rating you would get based off the severity of your condition. I'd imagine you would at least get 30% if they've progressed you to Humira.
 

bkess

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Phaerix,

Have you had any concern or worry about them making a determination that it was not service connected? As I research more and more it’s something else I’m now concerned about.

Anyone else have any insight on the issue too?
 

phaerix

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Phaerix,

Have you had any concern or worry about them making a determination that it was not service connected? As I research more and more it’s something else I’m now concerned about.

Anyone else have any insight on the issue too?
No, it was diagnosed while I was in the military.
 

bkess

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I guess I had a bit of a brain fart and worried too much. I was thinking that since they say UC may be related to your genetics it wouldn’t qualify as a service connected disability. Since they can’t prove that yet, as long as you get diagnosed with it while in AD then I think we should be ok.
 

Chefitup29

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I'm near the end. Should get my ratings in a couple weeks. Humira will make you completely non-deployable, so the likelihood that you will be retained is slim. Check out the VA schedule of ratings for UC... they explain what rating you would get based off the severity of your condition. I'd imagine you would at least get 30% if they've progressed you to Humira.
Wondering if you ever got your ratings? My MEB for UC was initiated yesterday.
 

bkess

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I think his was 60% but put on the temporary disability retired list (TDRL). Not sure why they didn’t put him on the PDRL. It seems to me, that being put in that status is just as ambiguous and unknown as the MEB one.

Somehow, my new docs still have not initiated a MEB for me even though I’m on humira for the long haul. I think they forgot about me. Not sure I want to be super vocal about reminding them to initiate a MEB.

Chef, can you keep us updated on how things go with you since it seems like you beat me to the punch?
 

Chefitup29

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I think his was 60% but put on the temporary disability retired list (TDRL). Not sure why they didn’t put him on the PDRL. It seems to me, that being put in that status is just as ambiguous and unknown as the MEB one.

Somehow, my new docs still have not initiated a MEB for me even though I’m on humira for the long haul. I think they forgot about me. Not sure I want to be super vocal about reminding them to initiate a MEB.

Chef, can you keep us updated on how things go with you since it seems like you beat me to the punch?
Yea of course! My doc did ask me how much TIS I had and I said going on 7yrs. She mentioned that 7-8 years I may have a better chance of being on the PDRL but who knows at this point. I've been skirting under the radar with my MEB since my original PCM never initiated it like he was supposed to 6 months ago. Getting out wasn't but first option but rolling with the cards we've been delt!
 

phaerix

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Yep, 60% DOD for UC on TDRL. They said I'm unstable and likely to change in 3 years. FPEB Appeal denied. I'm now at the SAFPC appeal level, with doctors notes and current colonoscopy proving im stable. No decision from them yet.
 

Chefitup29

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Yep, 60% DOD for UC on TDRL. They said I'm unstable and likely to change in 3 years. FPEB Appeal denied. I'm now at the SAFPC appeal level, with doctors notes and current colonoscopy proving im stable. No decision from them yet.
I'm confused as to why they wouldn't at least lock you in for 30% PDRL? What do they consider stable in our situation. I mean for me, I'm far better than I was before I got treatment. But I'm sure as hell not cured
 

phaerix

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I'm confused as to why they wouldn't at least lock you in for 30% PDRL? What do they consider stable in our situation. I mean for me, I'm far better than I was before I got treatment. But I'm sure as hell not cured
I was in bad shape when I was going through my MEB, so the records all indicated instability at the time of my C&P exams. I'm sure they're trying fish for a 30% PDRL later down the road. By that time the Digestion System VASRD will be rewritten and will put people who are on constant systemic therapy with biologics at 60% anyway... just like they did with Skin Autoimmune Diseases like psoriasis.
 

Chefitup29

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I was in bad shape when I was going through my MEB, so the records all indicated instability at the time of my C&P exams. I'm sure they're trying fish for a 30% PDRL later down the road. By that time the Digestion System VASRD will be rewritten and will put people who are on constant systemic therapy with biologics at 60% anyway... just like they did with Skin Autoimmune Diseases like psoriasis.
Wow thats good news then. I take it they are already working the Digestion System VASRD then. Aside from the military compensation how did the VA side look?
 

Johnday46

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I got diagnosed with ulcerative pancolitis back in early June, tried multiple meds and am now on remicade and immuran. My package was sent to the PEB August 30th. Waiting to see if I’m found fit/unfit. I was in a horrible flare up through out my c&p exams. Waiting sucks lol.
 
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