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HOME>>DES Friday, May 29 2020

Disability Evaluation System Analysis and Research

To summarize the existing disability databases and to conduct epidemiologic studies describing the epidemiology of disability in the U.S. military, identify risk factors for disability evaluation and retirement, and to compare the health care utilization and prevalence of comorbid conditions in the population of disability discharges to military population as a whole.

Major Accomplishments

Publication of annual reports with descriptive statistics of individuals evaluated for disability in addition to the history of medical disqualification, pre-existing conditions, accession medical waivers, and hospitalizations among service members evaluated for disability.

Fifteen peer-reviewed publications describing the epidemiology of disability in the military and identifying risk factors for disability in the military.

  • Descriptive epidemiology studies of posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, asthma, and non-PTSD psychiatric conditions describe trends in disability evaluation for these conditions as well as the population that undergoes disability evaluation for these conditions.
  • Accession risk factors for hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, and back disorder studies examining predictors of disability evaluation and retirement utilizing data collected at multiple points of a service member’s military life-cycle to include pre-accession, pre-deployment, and post-deployment predictors of disability evaluation and retirement.
  • Risk factors for disability discharge studies assessing the risk factors for disability retirement in each service, using demographic variables, information from medical examinations at MEPS and accession medical waiver variables to determine which risk factors are most closely associated with disability discharge in the Army, Navy/Marine Corps, and Air Force.
Scope of Problem
  • On average 27,000 service members are evaluated for disability annually.
  • The highest rates of disability evaluation are found in the Army and Marine Corps; about 15 Marines and 22 Soldiers per 1,000.
  • In the Army the rate of disability evaluation has increased substantially in recent years while rates have remained consistent in the other services.
  • The most common conditions for which service members undergo disability evaluation are musculoskeletal conditions, followed by psychiatric and neurologic conditions. Psychiatric conditions surpassed musculoskeletal conditions in the Navy for the first time in FY 2015.

Last Modified Date: 27-Nov-2018

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