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Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)


The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is a joint process used by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to evaluate and determine the disability ratings of service members who have sustained physical or mental impairments during their military service. The primary goal of IDES is to provide a seamless and efficient transition for military personnel from active duty to veteran status while ensuring accurate compensation and access to appropriate benefits. This collaborative system combines the medical evaluation process of the DoD and the VA to avoid duplication and streamline service members’ transition.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) streamlines the determination of medical disability for service members and veterans, combining both the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) processes.
  2. Through the IDES process, service members receive a single set of disability examinations and ratings done by the VA, which allows for more accurate and consistent evaluations and prevents the need for multiple exams and ratings.
  3. Service members participating in IDES can expect a smoother and faster transition from military to civilian life, as the coordinated effort between the DoD and VA provides better access to care, compensation and benefits upon separation from the service.


The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is an essential aspect of VA benefits as it streamlines and expedites the process for evaluating and compensating service members who are unfit for duty due to service-related injuries or illnesses.

By consolidating the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) efforts, IDES aims to provide accurate, consistent, and timely evaluations and disability ratings, ensuring that wounded, ill, or injured service members receive appropriate compensation and support.

With this efficient system in place, veterans can transition smoothly to civilian life, with their care, benefits, and services adequately addressed, ultimately enhancing their quality of life after serving the nation.


The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) serves a vital purpose in addressing the challenges faced by military service members who have sustained injuries or developed medical conditions during their service that render them unable to continue their duties. This system was established as a collaborative effort between the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to streamline the process of evaluating and determining the appropriate disability compensation for affected service members.

The primary goal of the IDES is to facilitate a relatively seamless and efficient transition from military service to civilian life for these individuals, while ensuring that they receive the care and financial support they deserve. To achieve this purpose, the IDES integrates the disability evaluation processes of the DoD and VA into a single, unified system. This cohesive approach enables service members to receive timely and accurate evaluations, as well as expediting their eligibility for disability benefits.

Under the IDES, military personnel undergo a comprehensive medical examination that determines whether they are fit for duty or should be referred to the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) for a formal review of their conditions. If found unfit for service, the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) then assesses the disability ratings for each condition in accordance with the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. Ultimately, this synchronized process not only reduces administrative redundancies but also ensures that the service members’ transition into civilian life is well-coordinated and their disability benefits are in place upon their discharge.

Examples of Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)

Example 1: Veteran Transition to Civilian LifeJohn, a U.S. Army soldier, was injured during his service in Afghanistan. After several medical evaluations, John’s doctors within the military determined that he required long-term treatment and might be unable to continue his duties as a soldier. John then entered the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) to determine his eligibility for medical disability benefits. Through IDES, John undergoes evaluations by both the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), ensuring a coordinated assessment that covers his injuries and medical needs. Having met the criteria for disability benefits, John receives assistance in transitioning to civilian life with access to medical care and compensation for his service-related disability.Example 2: Retraining and Education AssistanceMary, a U.S. Air Force officer, sustained a back injury that limited her ability to perform in her regular occupational role. Facing potential medical discharge, Mary went through the IDES process to assess her eligibility for disability benefits. Upon clearance, she accessed retraining and education assistance through VA benefits. IDES helped Mary identify her strengths and limitations, ultimately providing her with the opportunity to attend a vocational rehabilitation program and obtain a degree in a field compatible with her medical restrictions.Example 3: Expedited VA Claim ProcessSteve, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, faced significant challenges as a result of his combat-related mental health issues. While still on active duty, Steve sought help through the IDES, which offered an expedited evaluation of his mental health condition. Instead of navigating separate DoD and VA systems, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System allowed for a joint assessment and expedited claim process. Additionally, the IDES provided a seamless coordination of Steve’s active duty medical care and transition into VA healthcare services, significantly reducing potential gaps in his mental healthcare.

FAQs: Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)

What is the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)?

The Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) is a streamlined process that combines the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical evaluation processes. IDES aims to improve the way medical disability benefits are determined for service members by making the process more timely and accurate.

How does IDES work?

When a service member has a medical condition that prevents them from performing their duties, they may be referred to the IDES process. The IDES process consists of several steps: Medical Evaluation Board (MEB), Physical Evaluation Board (PEB), VA Disability Rating, Transition, and Post-transition.

What is the role of the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)?

The MEB conducts a comprehensive medical review of a service member’s medical record to determine if their medical condition disqualifies them from continuing military service. If the MEB determines the service member is unfit for duty, the case is forwarded to the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB).

How does the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) assess a service member’s fitness for duty?

The PEB is responsible for reviewing the MEB findings and all relevant medical records to determine if a service member is fit or unfit for duty. The PEB also assesses the service member’s overall disability rating based on the severity of their medical conditions, using the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD).

How is the VA Disability Rating determined?

The VA Disability Rating represents the severity of a service member’s disability, expressed as a percentage. It is determined based on the VA’s Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD), which assigns percentages to specific medical conditions according to the impact they have on a person’s ability to function.

What happens during the Transition phase of the IDES process?

During the Transition phase, service members found unfit for duty by the PEB will receive assistance to prepare for their separation from the military and transition to civilian life. This can include vocational rehabilitation, employment counseling, and other support services to help them successfully navigate this process.

What can a service member expect during the Post-transition phase of the IDES process?

After a service member has been separated from the military, the Post-transition phase begins. During this phase, the service member will focus on adjusting to civilian life, utilizing the resources and benefits provided to them based on their VA Disability Rating and other factors. This may include financial compensation, VA health care, educational assistance, and other support services to ensure their well-being and success in their post-military life.

Related VA Benefit Terms

  • Medical Evaluation Board (MEB)
  • Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)
  • Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • Disability Rating
  • Service-Connected Disability

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