Citation Nr: 18131207
Decision Date: 08/31/18	Archive Date: 08/31/18

DOCKET NO. 14-25 256A
DATE:	August 31, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from January 1971 to June 1973.
This matter is before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a May 2011 rating decision issued by a Regional Office (RO) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  
The Veteran testified at an August 2017 videoconference hearing before the undersigned Veterans Law Judge (VLJ).  
In February 2018, the Board remanded the Veteran’s claim for evidentiary development.  The Veteran’s claims folder has been returned to the Board for further appellate review.
1. Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is remanded.
Remand is required in this appeal to obtain adequate compliance with the prior Board remand.  A remand by the Board confers on a veteran, as a matter of law, a right to compliance with the remand instructions, and imposes upon VA a concomitant duty to ensure compliance with the terms of the remand.  Stegall v. West, 11 Vet. App. 268, 271 (1998).
The Board remanded this issue in February 2018 to verify the Veteran’s PTSD stressors and to obtain a VA examination to determine the nature and etiology of his claimed acquired psychiatric disorder, to include PTSD.  In attempting to verify the Veteran’s claimed stressors, the RO was to contact the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), the U.S. Army and Joint Service Records Research Center (JSRRC), or any other agency deemed appropriate.  If the search for corroborating information led to negative results, the RO was to notify the Veteran, explain the efforts taken to obtain this information, and describe any further action to be taken.  
The Board notes that in response to the remand, the Veteran’s military personnel records were obtained from NPRC.  However, it is unclear what efforts the AOJ took to verify any of the Veteran’s claimed stressors as requested in the February 2018 remand.  Moreover, as no stressors were verified, the RO did not obtain a VA examination or opinion for the Veteran’s acquired psychiatric disorder.  Also, the RO did not notify the Veteran of the negative results, explain the efforts taken to obtain this information, and describe any further action to be taken.  Further, a supplemental statement of the case was not provided.  Accordingly, remand is required to attempt to verify whether there is any credible evidence to contact the JSRRC or any other agency deemed appropriate and if any positive response is obtained, to obtain a VA examination with regard to the etiology of the Veteran’s acquired psychiatric disability.  
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Attempt to verify whether there is credible evidence to support any of the Veteran’s alleged stressors.  In addition to any other stressors identified by the Veteran pursuant to the development above, stressors advanced by the Veteran that should be attempted to be verified include: a) experiencing racial segregation while stationed in Korea; b) suffering harassment, including false charges of being AWOL, by his Captain while stationed in Korea; c) fearing for his life in the stockade while stationed in Korea due to the threat of an attack by North Korea; d) fearing for his life in the stockade while stationed in Korea due to the threat of physical abuse, to include an attempt to verify whether or not a solider named “Curry” was imprisoned at the same time as the Veteran; and e) the death of a solider named “Johnson” in either April or May 1972 assigned to Company C, 802nd Engineering Battalion (Construction), Camp Humphreys, Korea.
Such verification efforts should include contacting the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), the U.S. Army and Joint Service Records Research Center (JSRRC), or any other agency deemed appropriate.  Any additional action necessary for independent verification of the alleged stressor, including follow-up action requested by the contacted entity, should be accomplished. 
If the search for corroborating information leads to negative results, the RO should notify the Veteran, explain the efforts taken to obtain this information, and describe any further action to be taken.  If any described stressor lacks sufficient information for verification purposes, such should be noted in a formal finding.
2. After the above development has been completed, and after any records obtained have been associated with the evidentiary record, the Veteran should be afforded a VA examination by a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine the nature and etiology of his claimed acquired psychiatric disorder, to include PTSD.  The evidentiary record, including a copy of this remand, must be made available to and reviewed by the examiner.  The examination report must include a notation that this record review took place.  All necessary tests and studies, to include psychological testing, should be accomplished, and all clinical findings should be reported in detail.
After the record review and a thorough examination and interview of the Veteran, the VA examiner should offer an opinion with supporting rationale as to the following inquiries:
a) The examiner should identify with specificity any acquired psychiatric disorder that is currently manifested, or that has been manifested at any time since January 2011.
b) If a diagnosis of PTSD is warranted, the examiner should identify the particular stressor(s) upon which the diagnosis is predicated.
c) For any acquired psychiatric disorder other than PTSD that is currently shown or that has been manifested at any time since January 2011, the examiner should opine whether it is at least as likely as not (i.e. probability of 50 percent or greater) that such disability was either incurred in, or is otherwise related to, the Veteran’s active military service.
The complete rationale for all opinions should be set forth.
3. Thereafter, readjudicate the issue on appeal.  If any benefit sought on appeal remains denied, the Veteran and his attorney should be provided with a Supplemental Statement of the Case and be afforded a reasonable opportunity to respond.  The case should then be returned to the Board for further appellate review, if otherwise in order.

 
S. HENEKS
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	N. Kamal, Associate Counsel

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