PEB Statements of Support: 7 Vital Aspects to Verify

Military Help
By: Joel Pettit • May 12, 2023

Since being referred into the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) and placed on a PEB, how many times have you been told that getting a statement, letter, or note from your company commander, supervisor, doctor, or therapist would improve the chances of winning your case? Whether “winning” the case means obtaining fit or unfit finding, simply encouraging someone in the IDES to get a supportive statement is not insightful advice. The quality of that advice is on par with the recommendation that you should close your eyes before going to sleep – it’s self-evident! PEB Liaison Officers (PEBLO) or attorneys who simply advise Service members to gather supportive statements are not doing their clients any favors.

In fact, it’s very likely they could be wasting your time!

As an Informal PEB attorney at Camp Lejeune, NC, I advised over 400 clients, ranging from junior enlisted to senior officers, across all specialties and rates. One of the few things all my clients had in common was understanding the importance of getting statements to support their claims. My clients at the Formal PEB were no different. Why? Throughout most adults’ lives we apply for jobs, schools, scholarships, clubs, societies, etc., all requiring applications, with most calling for one or more letters of reference or recommendation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that none of my clients were shocked when I broached the subject of obtaining statements.

They were, however, taken aback when we delved into the subtle nuances that differentiate bad from good statements; good from great statements; and great from amazing statements. The parts of any statement, regardless of the author, are clear:

  • Salutation
  • Author’s Credentials
  • Relationship Type
  • Acquaintance Length
  • Contact Frequency
  • Eyewitness Accounts
  • Generalized Statement in Support of Claim(s)

This is not where the inquiry should begin. Worrying about templates or example statements is useless if the author hasn’t been identified. None of the above matters if the statement doesn’t come from a person in whom the PEB members have confidence. Too many Service members, or their advisors, default to the classics: platoon commander, squad leader, lead chief petty officer, civilian supervisor, manager. Although these options are not necessarily incorrect, they aren’t one-size-fits-all either. A client who wants to be found fit should get statements from any, if not all, of the aforementioned people. Although fit cases pose their own unique challenges, author selection isn’t one of them.

Accordingly, questions abound. What about Service members who want an unfit finding? What about clients who are temporarily retired, on the Temporary Disabled Retirement List (TDRL), going to school, and working a civilian job? This is where the art of author selection can make or break a case. Additionally, content and structure also become infinitely more complicated when a fit finding isn’t desired. At Joel Pettit Law, we don’t simply obtain helpful statements, we strategically build a portfolio of high-quality letters, affidavits, and notes authored by individuals spanning a diverse cross-section of our clients’ lives. In this way we ensure our clients capitalize on the power of third-party accounts.

Contact us to discuss your case and better understand what your specific portfolio should look like.

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