This Veteran was service connected for PTSD but rated at only 50 percent.
Result: 70% rating plus TDIU and a past due benefit award of $120,000.
This Veteran had not worked at a regular job since returning from Vietnam around 1970. He supported himself on and off with various activities, but mostly driving a cab. The PTSD began to affect his judgment and his ability to run his cab business. He eventually lost any income he did have through driving a cab. For a number of years the Veteran tried to live on about $700 per month. This was extremely difficult and the financial problems worsened his PTSD.
Finally, the Veteran hired us to represent him at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. We discovered that his file showed that although he was only rated at 50 percent for his PTSD, he was unable to work and had difficulty getting along with people. The Veteran also had low GAF scores. We found that the Board failed to adequately consider the evidence that he was unable to work due to his PTSD, and we also found that the Board failed to adequately consider the significance of his low GAF scores. We successfully argued for a remand.
When the case was returned to the Board, we obtained the report of an expert psychologist who discovered that the evidence in the record confirmed that the Veteran’s PTSD made him unable to maintain a gainful occupation. We filed additional arguments with the Board and submitted the additional expert report. Also, we argued that the case raised an informal claim for TDIU (Total Disability Individual Unemployability).
The result: The Board increased the PTSD rating to 70 percent and then awarded TDIU. The result was a past due benefit award of $120,000.