GI Rights Hotline

Military Discharges and Military Counseling

Call 1-877-447-4487

Contents of the Evaluation

  • Opening. Use your letterhead and address the letter To Whom It May Concern, or To the Commanding Officer of ____. Mark your letter Confidential. (Remember, however, this will not stop the military from using your evaluation as evidence against the patient.)
  • Military Experience. If you have had military experience, please cite it.
  • History. If you have been treating the patient for some time, say so: your letter will be given more weight.
  • Test Results. Military personnel favor numbers and pictures. Whenever possible, clinical impressions should be corroborated with objective findings.
  • Diagnosis. Try to use the exact words of the military medical regulation (Department of Defense Directive 1332.38 Physical Disability Evaluation, Enclosure 4); for a copy, visit the disability page. The regulation sometimes uses antiquated language, and the military has been known to refuse to recognize a newer name for the same phenomenon. For psychiatric diagnoses, consult the DSM-IV.
  • Prescriptions. Emphasize any prescriptions which may be difficult to fill under military conditions, such as special clothing, special diet, or limits on activity.
  • Prognoses and Conclusion. Consider providing two prognoses: one if the prescription is followed, and the other if it is not. For example, If the patient scrupulously adheres to a bland diet she may experience few gastrointestinal difficulties. But if the restricted diet cannot be adhered to, acute and painful episodes will continue, probably requiring surgical intervention.