Ankle disability denial failed to consider difficulty with walking & standing
The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Army from September to October 1975. While in service, he injured his left ankle. He was ultimately awarded service-connected compensation for his injury, and assigned a 10% rating. The Veteran’s service-connected ankle disability caused constant pain at a level of ten out of ten, impacted his ability to sleep, and made it difficult to walk more than three blocks or stand longer than 15 minutes. He used a cane to assist with walking and had difficulty going up stairs. In March 2006, the Veteran applied for an increased rating for his service-connected ankle disability, which the Regional Office denied. The Veteran appealed this denial to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.
Board denied increased rating for service-connected ankle disability
In February 2016, the Board denied the Veteran an increased rating for his service-connected left ankle, including on an extraschedular basis. In its decision, the Board determined that the Veteran’s 10% rating contemplated all of the functional loss caused by his disability. The Board determined that extraschedular referral to the Director of Compensation was not warranted because the rating schedule contemplates pain and limited range of motion. CCK appealed this denial to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC).
CAVC agrees with CCK’s arguments
CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board failed to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases for denying the Veteran an increased rating for his left ankle. Specifically, the Board’s decision to deny referral for extraschedular consideration to the Director of Compensation was insufficient. The Court held that the Board erred when it failed to consider the Veteran’s symptoms of constant pain and difficulty with walking and standing, as the pertinent diagnostic code appeared to compensate solely for a veteran’s limitation of motion. The Court therefore vacated the Board’s decision, and remanded the Veteran’s claim back to the Board for consideration of this evidence.
- Board failed to consider Veteran’s vertigo, dizziness in denial of extraschedular consideration
- BVA errs in denial of higher rating for PTSD, earlier effective date for TDIU
- Board erred when it denied extraschedular referral for Veteran’s shoulder condition
- CCK Argues Board Must Consider Combined Effect of Veteran’s Service-Connected Disabilities
- CCK Wins Precedential Decision: Increased Rating for Right Knee Condition
- What is the Process in a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) or Veterans Court Appeal?
- What is a Decision Review Officer (DRO)?
- How Many Options Are There to Appeal a Disability Claims Decision in RAMP?
- As a Veteran, How Much Will My Appeal of a Board Denial to the Court Cost?
- What is the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)?
- BREAKING NEWS: Court Rules Blue Water Navy Veterans Should Be Eligible for Agent Orange Presumption
- VA Disability Rating Reevaluations
- The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)
- Monk v. Wilkie: Class Actions at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC)
- The Board of Veterans’ Appeals Explained
Share this Post