Soldiers Waiting For Medical Discharge ‘Languish’ In Disability System

Bob Brewin | Nextgov | March 11, 2013

Years after the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments established a joint system in 2007 to speed up the medical discharge of troops, an Army inspector general report found active duty soldiers “continued to languish” in the system for 386 days and reserve and National Guard troops for 366 days.  

Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Army deputy chief of staff, told a media briefing on Friday that processing time in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System, or IDES, had crept up to “a little over 400 days” this year.

Last June, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a joint hearing of the House VA and Defense committees that the two departments needed to “kick ass” to resolve IDES problems that were leaving troops in an administrative limbo far longer than planned. Processing time goals had been set at 295 days for active duty soldiers and 305 for reserves.