October 22, 2018, Washington, DC
Bergmann & Moore attorneys prevailed on behalf of a disabled Vietnam-era Veteran who sought individual unemployability (IU) benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In September 2011, the Alabama Veteran filed a claim for IU, alleging he was unemployable due to his ischemic heart disease. The Veteran was already granted service connection by VA for ischemic heart disease, and VA granted service connection for diabetes mellitus in 2012.
The Veteran had undergone heart surgery, and a VA physician indicated he was unable to work. IU is a VA benefit that compensates a Veteran at the 100 percent rate when it is determined that a Veteran is unable to work due to a service-connected condition.
VA’s local Regional Office (RO) denied his claim one month later. The Army Veteran then appealed the RO’s rating decision to the Board of Veterans Appeals (Board) located in Washington, DC.
In January 2018, the Board denied his claim. The Veteran believed VA made a mistake, so he contacted Bergmann & Moore, seeking representation to appeal the Board’s denial to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court), also located in Washington, DC.
In October 2018, B&M and the Veteran prevailed at the Court when VA agreed to a Joint Motion for Remand (JMR). In the JMR approved by the Court, VA admitted it made the three errors:
1. VA failed to obtain relevant VA treatment records regarding the Veteran’s medical conditions. The most recent VA records in the Veteran’s file were dated February 2013. That means more than five years of relevant VA medical records were missing.
2. VA failed to address favorable evidence in the Veteran’s claim file. His VA primary care physician indicated that the Veteran was unable to work after his heart surgery.
3. VA failed to explain why the Veteran would be capable of sedentary employment when VA denied his IU claim.
As result of the JMR, the Veteran’s appeal was returned by the Court to the Board in order to correct VA’s errors and decide the IU claim again. This includes obtaining and addressing recent VA medical records and favorable evidence.
B&M is honored to assist Veterans and family members with VA disability compensation appeals at an RO, the Board, or the Court. If you are not satisfied with VA’s decision on your disability claim, then please contact Bergmann & Moore for a free consultation at 877-838-2889 or info@VetLawyers.com.
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