Improving how disability is evaluated

The Challenge 

When servicemembers are unable to return to work due to sickness or injury, the military uses its Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) to determine their fitness for continued service, compensation, and benefits.

IDES is a joint U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program that was piloted in 2007 and later implemented at all military treatment facilities worldwide in 2011.

To evaluate the IDES program, DoD is looking at performance measures, such as how long it takes to process claims, changes in the volume of caseloads, and the number of appeals and appeal decisions.

As part of this evaluation, Westat is surveying members of the military and other stakeholders about their satisfaction with IDES.

Our Solutions 

  • The survey targets active duty and reserve military members going through the Medical and Physical Evaluation Board phases of IDES at 139 military treatment facilities.
  • The survey also targets military and civilian IDES stakeholders, including DoD Medical and Physical Evaluation Board members, and VA Military Service Coordinators and rating officials.
  • To ensure fast and accurate data collection, we conduct computer-assisted telephone interviews with servicemembers using a customized web-based survey management system (SMS) and telephone scheduling system. We collect data from stakeholders via a web survey.
  • We store all Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and collected survey data for this project in Westat’s DoD-certified security enclave.

The Results 

  • The DoD and VA will use the survey results to make IDES more efficient and effective.
  • Findings from the surveys will also be used to report on the program’s progress to the Government Accountability Office and congressional oversight committees.

Our Client 

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)