Citation Nr: 18132261
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 15-46 382
DATE:	September 6, 2018
REMANDED
Whether new and material evidence has been received to reopen a claim for entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disability is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for obstructive sleep apnea is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served in the United States Army from October 1979 to October 1982, with additional National Guard service. 
1. Whether new and material evidence has been received to reopen a claim for entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disability is remanded.
2. Entitlement to service connection for obstructive sleep apnea is remanded.
While the Board sincerely regrets the delay, additional development is required before the Veteran’s claims may be adjudicated on the merits.
Specifically, the Board notes that the Veteran’s service treatment records and personnel records are incomplete.  The Veteran’s service treatment records contain only her separation examination and her service personnel records are mostly from her brief period with the National Guard.  While it appears that the Regional Office (RO) requested the Veteran’s records from the Records Management Center (RMC), there is no evidence that the RO made additional attempts to obtain the Veteran’s complete records from other appropriate locations and no formal finding of unavailability of these records has been associated with the Veteran’s file.  As service treatment records and service personnel records may contain relevant supporting evidence, on remand, the Agency of Original Jurisdiction (AOJ) should contact the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), or any other appropriate location, to request the Veteran’s complete service treatment records and service personnel records in order to comply with the duty to assist.  38 U.S.C. § 5103A. 
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1.  Obtain any outstanding VA treatment records and associate them with the Veteran’s claims file. 
2.  The AOJ should contact the NPRC and any other appropriate location to request the Veteran’s complete service personnel and service treatment records.  These efforts should include appropriate requests using the PIES system and any other procedures as required by the VA Adjudication Procedures Manual, M21-1, Part III, Subpart iii, Chapter 2, Section 1.
If any of the requested records remain unavailable, or the search for any such records otherwise yields negative results, the fact must clearly be documented in the claims file.  Efforts to obtain these records must continue until it is determined that they do not exist or that further attempts to obtain them would be futile.  The non-existence or unavailability of such records must be verified and documented for the record.  Required notice must be provided to the Veteran, to include notice of alternative sources of evidence that may substitute for any missing service treatment records or missing personnel records. 
3.  Following the receipt of any additional service treatment records or service personnel records, the AOJ should take the appropriate steps to verify the Veteran’s claimed in-service stressors, to include contacting the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Joint Services Records Research Center (JSRRC) if appropriate.
4.  Additionally, after reviewing any new information obtained as a result of the instructions above, the AOJ should consider the potential need for new examinations or medical opinions before adjudicating the Veteran’s claims.
 
Michael J. Skaltsounis
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	P. Daugherty, Associate Counsel

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

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