Board of Veterans’ Appeals denied increased rating for PTSD
CCK successfully appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (CAVC) a Board decision that denied the Veteran a rating in excess of 50% for his service-connected PTSD. The Board determined that the Veteran did not meet the criteria for an increased rating. Specifically, the absence of certain symptoms included in the criteria for a higher rating and the absence of a plan or intent accompanying the Veteran’s suicidal ideation led the Board to decide that a rating in excess of 50% was not warranted.
The Board failed to undertake thorough analysis of Veteran’s symptoms
CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board erred when it focused on the symptoms that the Veteran did not experience, and focused on the lack of plan or intent accompanying his suicidal ideation. The Court held that the Board did not undertake the necessary analysis of the severity, frequency, and duration of the symptoms the Veteran did experience.
PTSD & TDIU directly related
Furthermore, CCK argued that because the Board had remanded the Veteran’s request for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU), a remand for the increased rating for PTSD was also warranted. Because the issues of TDIU and an increased rating for PTSD are inextricably intertwined, any additional development completed on remand for TDIU may also support a higher rating for PTSD.
CAVC agrees with CCK: remand is necessary
As a result, the Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded the case back to the Board for further adjudication.