Board Denied Rating Above 50 Percent
CCK successfully appealed a Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision that denied the Veteran a rating above 50 percent for his service-connected PTSD. In its decision, the Board acknowledged that the Veteran “has some of the criteria for a 70[%] rating,” but concluded that “his overall level of disability does not exceed his current 50[%] rating.”
Court Agrees With CCK’s Appeal
On appeal, the Court agreed with CCK’s arguments that the Board erred in failing to discuss a statement from the Veteran’s wife about difficulties in his relationships with her and others. It also agreed that the Board should have weighed the severity of his symptoms of inability to cope with stressful situations in a work environment. The Court agreed that the Board should have sought clarification of a VA examination in which the examiner stated that the Veteran displayed a “defeatist attitude” that “affects the validity of his self report” without explaining the meaning of this term or how it is distinguishable from a PTSD symptom that might affect mood.
Finally, the Court held that the examiner’s statement that VA treatment records reflected a less severe symptomatology than reported on the day of the examination was troublesome since the examiner provided no examples or details to support this statement. Accordingly, the Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded the case back to the Board for it to reconsider the question of the Veteran’s entitlement to a higher rating for his PTSD.