This Veteran is severely disabled due to Major Depression.

Result: 100% rating and back pay of over $270,000.

This Veteran served on active duty in the Army in the early 1970s, during the Vietnam era. While in the service he was mistreated by other members of the service and began developing mental problems. The medical corps said he had a personality disorder and he was eventually kicked out of the service with a discharge under other than honorable conditions. In the early 1990s he filed a claim for his depression. His claim was eventually denied on the grounds that the character of his discharge – under other than honorable conditions – barred him from receiving VA benefits. He hired two different attorneys, and the VA continued to deny his claim.

The case eventually made its way to the Board where it was again denied. The Veteran hired us to appeal his case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. Although the character of his discharge was under conditions other than honorable, we were aware of exceptions to this bar. One exception involves proving that the Veteran was “insane” at the time he committed the offenses that led to his other than honorable discharge.

On reviewing his file, we discovered that the Board overlooked several key letters from treating psychiatrists that indicated that the Veteran had a mental disability at the time of his service. The Board had ignored this evidence. We argued successfully that the Board made a mistake. As a result, we were able to get his case remanded back to the Board.

Once the case was back at the Board, we gathered an additional expert report from a psychologist who concluded that the Veteran did not have a personality disorder – which VA does not consider a disability – but was actually exhibiting the early symptoms of Major Depression. We submitted the additional argument together with additional expert evidence. The Board made a decision in this Veteran’s favor.

The result: after 13 years on appeal, we finally obtained service connection for this Veteran. We achieved a 100 percent rating for Major Depression and the Veteran received a back pay check in excess of $270,000.