Need Mental Health MEB!

TempCamelMeow

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Registered Member
I am a 21 year active duty member, unable to retire for 2.5 years due to ADSC. Here’s my problem-I really think I need a MEB for mental health issues. I’ve been in and off meds for depression, anxiety, and sleep problems most of my career. The last year has been horrible. My depression has been so bad I got hospitalized overnight for suicidal ideation. My anxiety is so bad that I can’t sleep until 3am many nights a week, recently being up as many as 35 hours in a row. I’m getting in trouble at work. My thought process is fuzzy at times. I was CC-directed to ADAPT last month because I was using alcohol to cope with the anxiety (30 days sober now). The meds don’t seem to be helping. I honestly don’t think my mental health is such that I am fit to serve in the military and in my rank.

I told the PCM that I think I need an MEB, but he said only MH can refer a MEB for mental health issues. MH whom I’ve been seeming for 9 months doesn’t think we’re there yet.

Is there anything I can do to convince the AF that I need an MEB?? I’d retire if I could, but I can’t and just feel trapped in this situation that is bad for my mental state. Help!

(Diagnoses is adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression.)
 

gsfowler

Super Moderator
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You PCM is correct. Continue to work with BH, in my opinion the end goal should be to get healthy, if that does not work then a MEB will fall into place.
 

Chaps_Z

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One thing you have against you, in my opinion, is that you have made it 21 years and seemingly able to perform.

I realize you probably sucked it up and made it happen but just letting you know the way they look at things from that perspective.
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Sometimes psych doctors need a little coaching. If you always go in and are nice to them they don’t seem to have any sense of urgency on your behalf they will opine that your “affect” is “normal” and other such BS. I had an appointment with mine a while back and I hadn’t slept in two days prior... and in the week prior I had averaged 1 hour a night... 7 hours sleep in 7 days.... that’s no way to live. I got agitated at him and told him in a very strong tone that I deserve sleep just as much as any other human being does and I refused to continue living a life with no sleep. He got the message and changed my sleep meds immediately.

I’m now on seroquel and lunesta and sleep like a baby!
 
Last edited:

Matt Kozyra

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@TempCamelMeow,

Sorry to hear that you're in this situation. A few things to clarify what others have said.

First off, @gsfowler is correct that only your MH provider can initiate a MEB for a mental health condition. But the fact of the matter is that you have bigger problems than the administrative hurdles. You need your MH provider to be in your corner in order to get a good result at the Board, even if you could get someone else to start the paperwork rolling. If you get referred to a MEB and all of your mental health notes say that you're doing fine and your prognosis is good, then you're looking at a Fit finding regardless. If you can't convince your shrink that you're broken, then you'll never be able to convince the Air Force that you're broken.

Second, @Chaps_Z is also correct that your 21 years of service is going to be a big impediment. There is a doctrine called "PFIT," or the Presumption of Fitness. It doesn't technically apply to you, but it's going to make your life more difficult anyway. PFIT applies to members pending retirement, and it says that you can only be found Unfit if the Board finds one of three things:

1. There was an injury or illness that occurred after you attained retirement eligibility, which makes you Unfit.
2. There was a serious deterioration of a previously-diagnosed condition, and that serious deterioration happened after you attained retirement eligibility.
3. Your condition was bad enough before you attained retirement eligibility that you haven't actually been performing your duties for a while.

This doesn't technically apply to you, since you don't have approved retirement orders yet. But the Board is very familiar with PFIT and they'll likely apply it to you (informally) anyway. It's designed to be a significantly higher burden to medical separation than the normal one. By design, most people in the PFIT camp end up with Fit findings.

Finally, take a look at the timeline for @tony292, above. His case wasn't the quickest one (he had a VA Reconsideration or two in there), but it defintiely wasn't the longest one you'll see on this forum. He didn't even need to do a Formal Board. It still took him from October 2014 through January 2016 to actually get retired, starting from the day his MEB was referred. I'll bet, if you ask him, he would have preferred to avoid the hassle and headache of the MEB process if he could have.

Point is, if you've only got a year or so left on your ADSC, you might want to just stick it out to your normal retirement. Even if you convince your MH providers that you're broken, and even if you convince the Board that you're broken, the process still takes an absurdly long time for most people. You may not be buying yourself an earlier retirement date by fighting for medical retirement - just a lot of sleepless nights. With Concurrent Receipt, a medical retirement doesn't actually get you any additional benefits over what you're entitled to with a Length of Service retirement. Just a thought.
 

chaplaincharlie

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2.5 years ADSC or 1-1.5 years for a MED retirement. You are talking one additional year at 21 YOS and the MEB clock has not started! Focus on getting well. Retired life will not be great if you enter it in a deep depression.

Best wishes
Mike
 

TempCamelMeow

Member
Registered Member
2.5 years ADSC or 1-1.5 years for a MED retirement. You are talking one additional year at 21 YOS and the MEB clock has not started! Focus on getting well. Retired life will not be great if you enter it in a deep depression.

Best wishes
Mike
Mike (and everyone else who responded):

Thank you for the insights. This is new territory for me. For example, I’m surprised to hear how long the process can take. I know others who were MEB’d and it was less than 6 months to terminal leave. Like everything, I suppose it depends.

I am absolutely committed to getting well but am losing faith in the ability to do it within the confines of the Air Force. My occupational situation/environment is very stressful and I think the ability to chose a less stressful retirement occupation would aid me tremendously. Also, my years of working with the clinic on my issues and they are worse than ever. I feel on the outside, I would have more options for selecting my doc and pursuing options for treatment-resistant depression.

I have an appointment with MH this week and will discuss all this with them.

Thank you again!
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
The length of time it takes depends directly upon the number of appeals made. There are six levels of appeals. I appealed all six times. I could have been out six months sooner but I was dealing with a misdiagnosis and was determined to get it resolved before they put me out. It doesn’t always have to take as long as my case did.
 

chaplaincharlie

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I appealed nothing while on AD and it took 13 months. Both my unfit decision and percentage were no brainers. The process is slow.
 
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