How to Overcome a Fitness for Duty Ruling

How to Overcome a Fitness for Duty Ruling thumbnail
The military has specific regulations concerning appealing a fitness for duty ruling.

Your fitness for duty ruling is an essential part of your military career. The military assumes that by default you are fit for duty. However, if you have a medical or mental condition that interferes with the performance of your duties, you may be ruled unfit for duty and involuntarily separated from the military. If you believe you are still fit for duty, you can appeal this ruling.


    • 1

      Contact your doctor. Your doctor is frequently the person to recommend your case to the Medical Evaluation Board hearing. Your presence is not authorized at this hearing, as the MEB will be reviewing your medical charts and statements from your commanding officer and physician regarding your health. When you contact your doctor, find out as much as you can about what they consider your disability to be and the severity of it.

    • 2

      Contact the Physical Evaluation Board Liaison Officer, or PEBLO. If you are found not to meet retention standards by the MEB hearing, they will forward your case to a Physical Evaluation Board hearing. All medical treatment facilities on base have a PEBLO that can help guide you through the process.

    • 3

      Request a formal hearing. A soldier cannot be at the PEB hearing, as it is an informal hearing that uses the medical records and recommendations used at the MEB hearing. Only the PEB hearing can make a determination of fitness for duty or lack thereof. If you are found unfit by the PEB, you have the right to request a formal hearing to contest the ruling, but you must make the appeal within ten days.

    • 4

      Request appointed counsel. The military can appoint you counsel to assist you in the formal hearing. You also have the right to retain your own attorney; however, the military will not reimburse you for legal fees for an outside attorney. The PEBLO can assist you in following the requirements of your base in requesting counsel.

    • 5

      Request essential witnesses be allowed to testify at the formal hearing regarding your medical condition. The PEB determines what constitutes an "essential witness." If the formal hearing reaffirms the decision of the original PEB board, there is no further recourse available to the soldier.

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