Board Denies Veteran Higher Rating for Low Back Disability Due to VA Examination Report
CCK successfully appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims a Board decision that denied the Veteran a rating in excess of 20% for his service-connected low back disability for the time period beginning in July 2013. The Board granted a 40% rating for the time period from 2009 to July 2013 based on the Veteran’s limited range of motion. However, it relied on a 2013 VA examination that indicated wider range of motion to deny a higher rating from that date forward.
Court Agrees with CCK that Board Failed to Account for Favorable Evidence Indicating the Severity of the Back Disability
CCK argued, and the Court agreed, that the Board erred when it discounted favorable evidence indicating the Veteran’s back disability was more severe than contemplated by this 20 percent rating. Specifically, the Court agreed that the Board was wrong to discount favorable evidence because the physician diagnosed intervertebral disc syndrome (IVDS) instead of degenerative disc disease. Under VA’s Adjudication Manual, IVDS should be treated as interchangeable with degenerative disc disease. So, the evidence pertaining to this diagnosis was relevant to the Veteran’s appeal. The Court vacated the Board’s decision and remanded the Veteran’s claim for further adjudication.
To read the Court’s decision, click here.