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Veterans Law

Veteran Secures Increased PTSD Rating with CCK’s Help

March 16, 2022
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Case Summary

The Veteran served in the United States’ Marines from 1966 to 1968, with service abroad during the Vietnam War Era, as a rifleman.  He was awarded the Purple Heart for injury during his service, as well as a Presidential Unit Citation.

In April 2014, the Veteran filed a claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and hypertension.  He was awarded a 10 percent rating for PTSD, but denied hypertension, in August 2014.

The Veteran filed a Notice of Disagreement appeal for an increased rating for PTSD in November 2014.  In April 2015, VA granted the veteran a 30 percent rating for PTSD.  The following month, the Veteran filed a VA9 appeal for an increased rating for PTSD.

The Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) took until August 2018 to issue a remand on the Veteran’s claim for an increased rating for PTSD.  In early 2019, a decision granted a 50 percent rating for PTSD effective November 2018.  In April 2019, a second decision adjusted this effective date back to May 2013.

CCK Takes the Case

CCK took the case in October 2019 to help the Veteran secure the increased rating for PTSD he had been fighting for since he began the claims and appeals process.

CCK filed a Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) appeal of the March 2019 BVA decision which had denied an increased rating above 50 percent for PTSD.  In July 2020, the Board issued a remand for increased rating for PTSD and entitlement to TDIU.

Finally, an August 2020 Rating Decision granted a 70 percent rating for PTSD and TDIU effective June 2020.  However, CCK knew the Veteran was entitled to an effective date stemming from the start of the claim stream.  As such, CCK saw the claim through until a DROD decision granted entitlement to TDIU/DEA benefits and a 70 percent PTSD rating effective May 2013.

Ensuring the Veteran Receives the Benefits They Deserve

Throughout the appeal process, CCK maintained that the Veteran was entitled to a disability rating of at least 70 percent for his PTSD.  Specifically, CCK brought attention to the fact that VA had denied the Veteran a higher rating for PTSD because the Veteran’s thoughts of suicide were considered “passive” and “fleeting,” yet precedent cases had already established that the Board erred in decisions requiring “evidence of more than thoughts to establish the symptom of suicidal ideation.”

CCK also argued that VA failed to address relevant evidence regarding the Veteran’s PTSD induced alcohol abuse, and the social and occupational impairment it caused.  VA did not take into account all the evidence which came from VA examinations and PTSD assessments.

Through a lengthy appeals process, CCK strove to win the benefits to which the Veteran was entitled.  In the end, CCK’s team of experienced veteran’s advocates were able to help the Veteran receive the rating he rightly deserved.