BVA committed several legal errors in denial of unemployability benefits
The Board wrongly denied a Veteran entitlement to unemployability benefits. The Court found that the Board’s decision was deficient in six ways.
- First, the Court found that the Board’s consideration of the Veteran’s statements that he had not worked for several years was inadequate. The Board should have determined whether the Veteran was not working by choice, or for some other reason.
- Second, if the Board determined that the Veteran was not willingly unemployed, it should have determined whether he was unable to find a job due to his service connected disabilities.
- Third, the Board also erred when it failed to thoroughly explain why a medical examination that considered all of the Veteran’s service-connected disabilities at once was not required. The evidence demonstrated that multiple service-connected disabilities impacted the Veteran’s ability to work. Further, the Board failed to adequately discuss the conflicting medical evidence.
- Fourth, the Board failed to consider whether the Veteran’s need to use the bathroom frequently, which led him to lose several jobs, rendered the Veteran unable to maintain employment.
- Fifth, the Board did not sufficiently support its conclusion that three medical opinions were sufficient for it to rely upon to deny Individual Unemployability (TDIU). The Board improperly used the VA examiners’ incompetent non-expert medical opinion that the Veteran was able to work. The Board also did not adequately explain why the VA examiners’ rationale supported the determination that the Veteran could work.
- Finally, the Board erred when it failed to adequately consider the Veteran’s work experience and education in any detail before denying Unemployability (TDIU).
The Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded the case for further proceedings. On remand, the Board must fix these errors.
To read the Court’s decision, click here.