Welcome to the board, LSO.
Even if you provided more details, we haven't a clue. Each case is evaluated on its own merits and may be affected by whatever funding or medical/rehab techniques or even political/media influence is sweeping the service that month. For example MEBs/PEBs are letting (or requiring) many soldiers remain on active duty until they hit a retirement limit like high-year tenure for their rank.
The good news is that since you've attained a total of 18 years of service, you're protected by federal Title X legislation to be eligible for retirement (although it might be reduced since it's less than 20 years) or the Temporary Disabled Retired List.
Many in the medical community (and the SF) view medical retirement as something to be done just before a veteran dies of injuries. Apparently medical-retirement survivor's benefits are considered better than the ones received when the sponsor dies on active duty. So I don't know how popular medical retirement is for live veterans when TDRL can be applied for several years to re-evaluate the effects (if any) of healing & rehab.
As a separate issue you may also be eligible for disability payments from the VA. Taxable retirement pensions used to be reduced by every dollar of tax-free disability payments but that's no longer the case.
Here's some suggestions:
- Visit your base legal people and ask to read the instructions. You want to hear their stories and read their guides/pamphlets, too, but it's best to read the same instructions that the MEB/PEB are using
for you. Ask them if there's any way to acquire an advocate or an ombudsman who can monitor your case and make sure you're treated right.
- Visit the instructors of the local transition assistance course for retiring veterans. (In the Navy it's called the Transition Assistance Program [TAP] course and it's taught at the Family Readiness Center or whatever we're calling it this year.) They know the general provisions of veteran's benefits programs. More importantly they have the references & instructions and they know who to call for questions.
- Get a copy of the book "Your Military Advantage" by Chris Michel (the founder of Military.com). He lays out the best benefits explanation I've ever read, along with resources and references to the source documents.
- Post to Military.com. There are hundreds of veterans who may be going through the same situation as you.
- Post to GruntsMilitary.com :: Index
. I gotta warn you that these guys have a few rough edges, but many of them are 100% disabled and can tell you exactly how to make the process work for you. They do not, however, tolerate fools or stupidity.
- Visit one of your local veteran's organizations like the American Legion or the VFW and ask for their advice. They'll be able to tell you about the local VA or other resources.
- If you rate a Purple Heart then make sure you get it and that it's on your DD-214. It has a bearing on both your pension and your veteran's benefits.