This Veteran is service connected for numerous physical disabilities.
Result: 100% rating and back pay of over $280,000.
This Veteran filed a claim in the mid 1990s for increased ratings as well as for schizophrenia. Eventually, the Board denied all his claims. The Veteran hired us to appeal his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Upon review of his file, we discovered that the Board had ignored evidence that the Veteran suffered additional limitation due to the pain his service-connected disabilities caused him.
The Board also denied the psychiatric claim on the grounds that there was no evidence that the schizophrenia was related to service. However, we discovered that the Veteran’s psychiatric records showed that he was preoccupied with his physical pain, and the records suggested that he had some mental problems due to the constant pain. As a result, we successfully argued that the Board had failed to consider a claim for secondary service connection – that is, it failed to consider whether the Veteran had a mental disability that was caused by the chronic pain from his service connected physical disabilities. We got his case remanded back to the Board.
Once back at the Board, we developed additional evidence for this Veteran. We scheduled him for an evaluation with a private forensic psychologist. We obtained his x-rays and MRIs and had an expert radiologist review them and write a report. We also scheduled the Veteran for an evaluation by a vocational expert.
The Board issued a decision, but instead of granting the claims, it remanded the case back to the regional office for another VA exam. After more than an additional year of waiting, the regional office finally made a decision. They granted service connection for the Veteran’s mental disability as secondary to his service-connected physical disabilities.
The result: 100 percent service connection for Major Depression with almost 13 years back pay, which amounted to more than $280,000.