September 25, 2018, Washington, DC – Bergmann & Moore (B&M) attorneys prevailed on behalf of Gulf War era Veteran who sought benefits for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a back condition from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
In March 2008, the Veteran of Operation Provide Hope in Somalia during 1993 filed a claim with his local VA Regional Office (RO) for an increased rating (IR) for his PTSD that was previously service-connected and rated at 30 percent by VA. At the same time, he filed his new application for service connection for his low back condition related to his military service in the U.S. Army.
In September 2009, the RO increased the Ohio Veteran’s PTSD rating from 30 percent to 50 percent, yet the RO denied the Veteran’s back disability. During the process of the appeal, the RO, in August 2017 increased the Somalia Veteran’s PTSD rating from 50 percent to 70 percent effective November 2015.
The Veteran, still seeking a higher PTSD rating and individual unemployability (IU) because he was unable to work, then appealed the RO’s rating decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board), located in Washington, DC. 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.
In December 2017, the Board denied IR for PTSD, denied service connection for his back condition, and did not address his claim for IU. In March 2018, believing that the Board made errors, the Veteran contacted Bergmann & Moore and sought representation for an appeal from the Board to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court), also located in Washington, DC.
In September 2018, B&M and the Veteran prevailed at the Court when VA agreed to a Joint Motion for Remand (JMR). In the JMR, VA admitted:
– The Board made a mistake by not adequately addressing favorable evidence about the severity of the Veteran’s PTSD from serving in Somalia. Specifically, the Board failed to address the Veteran’s ongoing suicidal ideation beginning in 2007 as mentioned in VA medical records.
– The Board failed to consider the Veteran’s reports of hallucinations from his VA medical providers.
– The Board failed to obtain the Veteran’s mental health treatment and counseling records from a VA Vet Center.
– The Board didn’t consider evidence from his private healthcare providers that his severe PTSD symptoms prevented him from working.
– The Board made a mistake by not addressing the Veteran’s IU claim and his assertion he could not work due to his PTSD.
– VA’s Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination for his low back condition was inadequate. VA’s C&P examiner failed to address the Veteran’s statements about his in-service injury, and the examiner didn’t address the Veteran’s functional loss caused by his low back disability.
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 claim again for PTSD, a back condition, and IU benefits.
B&M is honored to assist Veterans with their 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 877-208-5964 or info@VetLawyers.com.