The Board erred when it denied a veteran an increased rating for PTSD for two time periods on appeal

The Board erred when it denied a veteran an increased rating for PTSD for two time periods on appeal

The Board relied on inadequate examination in denial of increased rating for PTSD in excess of 30% prior to June 2004

CCK successfully appealed to the Court a Board decision that denied the Veteran an increased rating for PTSD.  The Board denied the Veteran an increased rating for PTSD in excess of 30% prior to June 4, 2004.  The Court found that the Board erred when it relied on an inadequate January 2002 VA examination.

Reliance on an inadequate exam constitutes error because the examiner failed to describe the Veteran’s symptoms in sufficient detail.  The examiner improperly minimized the symptoms of the Veteran’s PTSD.  That examination report improperly relied on the fact that the Veteran had maintained his job as a teacher and had a stable relationship with his wife in finding that the Veteran’s PTSD symptoms were not severe.  The examiner failed to consider the fact that the Veteran had an incident at work that almost led to the Veteran being fired; that the Veteran isolated himself at home; and that he had communication problems with his wife.

The Board discounted favorable examination in denial of increased rating for PTSD in excess of 50% after June 2004

The Board also denied the Veteran an increased rating for PTSD in excess of 50% after June 4, 2004.  The Court found that the Board failed to adequately explain its reliance on a 2005 examination in its denial.  That examiner found that the Veteran’s disability caused serious impairment in the Veteran’s social and occupational functioning.

The Court agreed that the Board committed error in its denial

Accordingly, the Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded for readjudication. On remand, the Board must adequately explain why the 2005 examination report did not warrant a higher rating.  In addition, the Board must provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases for its decision.

Click here to read the Court’s decision.

 

Category: Veterans Law, Court Wins