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Court Wins

Board Failed to Fully Account for Veteran’s Work History in TDIU Denial

Alyse Phillips

May 8, 2018

Updated: November 20, 2023

Court Win - TDIU


The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Air Force from February 1970 to February 1974, including service Vietnam. After service, he worked as a truck driver and a furniture mover for a furniture business, as well as a mail room manager for a newspaper company. He last worked full time in August 1992. The Veteran is service-connected for bilateral cataracts, diabetes mellitus type II, peripheral neuropathy of the bilateral lower extremities, and tinnitus. Due to his cataracts, he suffered from severe loss of vision. The Veteran also had difficulty walking, standing, bending, lifting, and moving in general because of his peripheral neuropathy.

Board denies TDIU

In July 2009, the Veteran filed an application for increased compensation based on Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU). That December, the Regional Office denied entitlement t0 TDIU. The Veteran appealed the decision to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in May 2012. While the Veteran’s appeal to the Board was pending, he underwent VA examinations for his service-connected disabilities. In January 2017, the Board denied entitlement to TDIU.

CCK appeals TDIU denial to the Court

CCK successfully appealed to the Court the Board’s denial of TDIU. In its decision, the Board recognized some of the functional impacts of the Veteran’s service-connected disabilities. However, the Board determined that they did not cause functional impairment sufficient to prevent employment. The Board also found that the Veteran reported interpersonal problems due to a non-service-connected psychiatric condition that was the cause of his difficulties in maintaining employment.

CAVC agrees with CCK’s arguments

CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board provided inadequate reasons or bases for its denial of TDIU because the Board failed to fully account for the Veteran’s work history. The Court held that the Board failed to sufficiently discuss the Veteran’s work as a truck driver, mailroom manager, and furniture mover. They determined that the Board did not adequately discuss the effects of the Veteran’s disabilities on his work history. The Court noted that although the Board mentioned the Veteran’s interpersonal problems due to his non-service-connected psychiatric disability, it failed to discuss how symptoms of his service-connected disabilities would affect his employability, given the types of jobs he held in the past.

The Court vacated the decision and remanded for readjudication.

About the Author

Bio photo of Alyse Phillips

Alyse is a Supervising Attorney at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick. Since joining the firm in August of 2016, she has specialized in representing disabled veterans and their dependents before the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

See more about Alyse