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Board erred in denying a compensable rating for hemorrhoid condition

Board erred in denying a compensable rating for hemorrhoid condition

Summary of the Case

The Veteran served honorably on active duty in the United States Navy from 1986 to 2008.  He served in the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War.  While in service, he suffered from chronic, large hemorrhoids.  This condition included anal fissures, which required surgery.  Upon separation, he requested service connection for a number of disabilities, to include his hemorrhoid condition.  His hemorrhoids resulted in flare-ups of pain that interfered with his ability to work and perform recreational activities.

VA granted service connection but denied a compensable rating.  It concluded he only suffered from mild hemorrhoids.  The Veteran challenged his noncompensable rating and eventually underwent a VA examination.  However, the VA continued to deny him a higher rating because it found he was asymptomatic.  The Veteran appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

BVA denies a compensable rating for hemorrhoid condition

The Board denied a compensable rating for  the Veteran’s hemorrhoid condition based on a number of reasons.  Primarily, it found that the Veteran did not experience symptoms that would warrant a higher rating.  It also denied extraschedular referral because it found the Veteran’s symptoms were common to hemorrhoid disability and were thus adequately contemplated by his zero percent rating.  With CCK’s help, the Veteran appealed the Board’s denial to the Court of Appeals for Veterans claims.

CCK appeals to Court; CAVC agrees with CCK’s arguments

CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board ignored favorable material evidence of symptoms that would warrant a higher rating for hemorrhoids.  Specifically, the Board did not address the Veteran’s competent and credible reports of symptoms which warranted a 10% rating under a different diagnostic code.

The Court also agreed that the Board failed to provide adequate analysis and explanation for its conclusion that the Veteran’s zero percent rating adequately compensated him.  Although the Board determined that the Veteran’s symptoms were common for hemorrhoids, this provided no explanation for why common symptoms did not warrant a compensable rating.  Nor did the Board compare the Veteran’s symptoms and severity to that contemplated by the rating criteria.

The Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded the Veteran’s claim for further adjudication.

Category: Court Wins

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