Citation Nr: 18124031
Decision Date: 08/03/18	Archive Date: 08/03/18

DOCKET NO. 13-19 327
DATE:	August 3, 2018
Entitlement to an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include schizophrenia is remanded.
The appellant had active duty for training (ACDUTRA) from July to October 1988 and unspecified periods of reserve service thereafter. 
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) from the January 2012 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in New Orleans, Louisiana.  
Although the Board regrets the additional delay, a remand is necessary to ensure that due process is followed and that there is a complete record upon which to decide the appellant’s claim so that he is afforded every possible consideration.  See 38 U.S.C. § 5103A (2012); 38 C.F.R. § 3.159 (2017). 
As an initial matter, this matter was previously before the Board in January 2017 and was remanded for further development.  The Board instructed the RO to attempt to obtain documentation from the appellant’s personnel records revealing the circumstances surrounding his discharge from reserve service in June 1993 under other than honorable conditions.  However, all attempts to obtain these documents were exhausted and they are unfortunately unable for review.  Although the Veteran’s personnel records are unavailable for review, the RO must contact the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), or any other appropriate records depository, and request that they confirm the dates of all periods of ACDUTRA and INACDUTRA.
Additionally, the Board remanded this matter to obtain the appellant’s Social Security Administration (SSA) records.  These records were obtained and are associated with the claims file.  
The SSA records reveal that he was found disabled for purposes of SSA disability insurance with a primary diagnosis of schizophrenia, paranoid, and other functional psychotic disorder and a secondary diagnosis of substance addiction disorder.  The SSA disability determination states that the disability began in February 1998.  However, in the appellant’s application for SSA disability, he stated that his acquired psychiatric disorder began in July 1994 and another Social Security Disability Report states that he reported his schizophrenia bothering him beginning in December 1992. 
The appellant’s treatment records are replete with history of schizophrenia and substance abuse disabilities following his active duty and reserve military service.  Additionally, in an original SSA decision denying disability benefits, the SSA stated that the appellant’s psychiatric disorder is a result of his substance abuse.  However, the appellant has not been afforded a VA examination to determine whether or not his schizophrenia was caused or aggravated by his military service.  Therefore, a remand is necessary for the appellant to undergo a VA examination.
Furthermore, since the claims file is being remanded, it should be updated to include any outstanding VA treatment records.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.159(c)(2); see also Bell v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 611 (1992).
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain any outstanding VA treatment records and associate those documents with the Veteran’s claims file. 
2. The RO must attempt to verify the exact dates of any ACDUTRA or INACDUTRA from 1988 to 1994 from all appropriate sources to include a request of pay records from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) that indicate the Veteran’s duty status for ACDUTRA and INACDUTRA.
3. Schedule the appellant for an examination to provide an opinion as to the nature and etiology of his acquired psychiatric disorder, to include schizophrenia, that has been present during the period on appeal. 
After reviewing the record, to include the appellant’s lay testimony, the examiner is asked to address the following: 
Is it at least as likely as not (a 50 percent probability or greater), that any acquired psychiatric disorder, to include schizophrenia, was caused by service, or is otherwise related to the appellant’s military service?
All opinions provided must be thoroughly explained and an adequate rationale for any conclusions reached must be provided.  If any requested opinion cannot be provided without resort to speculation, the medical professional should state and explain why an opinion cannot be provided without resort to speculation.
(Continued on the next page)
4.  Following completion of the above, and a review of any additional evidence received, the RO should also undertake any other development it deems to be necessary, to include, if warranted, an addendum medical opinion which considers any newly received evidence.
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	S. Mountford, Associate Counsel

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