Citation Nr: 18900001
Decision Date: 08/03/18	Archive Date: 08/03/18

DOCKET NO. 180709-3
DATE:	August 3, 2018
Entitlement to service connection for multiple sclerosis is granted.
Resolving reasonable doubt in the Veteran’s favor, her multiple sclerosis manifested to a compensable degree within seven years of her separation from service and is not attributable to intercurrent causes.  
The criteria for entitlement to service connection for multiple sclerosis are met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1112, 1113, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.303(b), 3.307, 3.309(a). 
The Veteran served on active duty from June 2003 and March 2009.  
On August 23, 2017, the President signed into law the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act, Pub. L. No. 115-55 (to be codified as amended in sections of 38 U.S.C.), 131 Stat. 1105 (2017), also known as the Appeals Modernization Act (AMA).  This law creates a new framework for Veterans dissatisfied with VA’s decision on their claim(s) to seek review.  The Veteran has chosen to participate the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) Early Applicability of Appeals Modernization (BEAAM) research program.  This decision has been written consistent with the new AMA framework.
1. Entitlement to service connection for multiple sclerosis
The Veteran contends that her multiple sclerosis is due to her active duty service.  Particularly, in a June 2018 statement, the Veteran’s representative asserted that her symptoms developed in service and continued after her separation.  The Veteran’s representative also asserted that reasonable doubt should be resolved in the Veteran’s favor as she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis five months after the expiration of the presumptive period.  
Service connection will be granted if the evidence demonstrates that a current disability resulted from an injury or disease incurred in or aggravated by active service, even if the disability was initially diagnosed after service.  38 U.S.C. § 1110; 38 C.F.R. § 3.303.
Certain chronic diseases will be presumed related to service if they were noted as chronic in service; or, if they manifested to a compensable degree within a presumptive period following separation from service; or, if continuity of the same symptomatology has existed since service, with no intervening cause.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1101, 1112, 1113, 1137; Walker v. Shinseki, 708 F.3d 1331, 1338 (Fed. Cir. 2012); Fountain v. McDonald, 27 Vet. App. 258 (2015); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.303(b), 3.307, 3.309(a).  For multiple sclerosis such manifestation is required within seven years of separation from a period of qualifying service.  38 C.F.R. § 3.307.
For the following reasons, the Board finds that entitlement to service connection for multiple sclerosis is warranted on a presumptive basis for a chronic disease.  
First, the Veteran has a current diagnosis of multiple sclerosis as evidenced by a September 2016 private treatment record in which a private physician concluded that based on history and result of CSF and MRI of the brain, it was very likely that the diagnosis was MS.  The private physician confirmed less than three weeks later that the working diagnosis was MS.  Similarly, an October 2017 VA examiner noted that the Veteran was not displaying objective evidence of multiple sclerosis at the time, but indicated that the Veteran has multiple sclerosis.  
Moreover, the evidence of record indicates that the Veteran’s multiple sclerosis manifested within the seven-year presumptive period.  The Veteran’s DD 214 shows that the Veteran had active service from June 26, 2003, to March 27, 2009.  An October 2017 VA examination shows that the Veteran reported a March 2016 onset of intermittent numbness, tingling and weakness with numbness of the right trunk.  The Veteran is competent to report an onset of symptoms and there is nothing to indicate that the Veteran’s lay statements regarding the March 2016 onset of symptoms are not credible.  
The next question is therefore whether the symptoms the Veteran experienced were early manifestations of the subsequently diagnosed chronic disease.  In this regard, the October 2017 VA examiner noted that the Veteran did not show symptoms of multiple sclerosis until 2016 when she developed left foot numbness/tingling.  Additionally, the January 2018 VA examiner stated that the Veteran was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2016 when trunk symptoms appeared.  
The Board also notes that under 38 C.F.R. § 4.124(a), Diagnostic Code 8018, the minimum rating for multiple sclerosis is 30 percent.  As the Veteran’s symptoms were subsequently diagnosed as multiple sclerosis, the disability manifested to a compensable degree within the presumptive period. 

(Continued on the next page)
As all the elements necessary to substantiate the claim have been met, service connection for multiple sclerosis is warranted.  
M. Donohue
Acting Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals

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