Citation Nr: 18132251
Decision Date: 09/06/18	Archive Date: 09/06/18

DOCKET NO. 15-353 83
DATE:	September 6, 2018
Service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Entitlement to a total disability rating for individual unemployability (TDIU).
The psychiatric issue was originally claimed as PTSD.  A diagnosis of PTSD has been shown in some medical records, but not confirmed by a VA examiner.  Further, an unsuccessful attempt has been made to verify the stressor identified by the Veteran as the cause of PTSD.  He has also been diagnosed with other psychiatric disorders; however, medical opinions have found they are not related to service.
However, in the September 2015 Form 9, the Veteran submitted additional evidence regarding sexual trauma experienced in service.  February 2016 VA medical records show at least one instance where he discussed the incident with a psychiatrist.  The RO has not made an attempt to verify this stressor, and there is no medical opinion regarding whether PTSD or another psychiatric disorder was caused by sexual trauma in service.  
Therefore, after conducting appropriate development to verify his stressor, an examination should be undertaken to address whether the sexual trauma is related to any current psychiatric disorder. 
Next, the issue of entitlement to a TDIU is inextricably intertwined with the issue above.  The Veteran is currently service connected for a right forearm scar at a noncompensable level.  Given he has claimed his inability to follow a substantially gainful occupation is largely the result of his psychiatric symptoms, service connection for PTSD or other psychiatric disorder must necessarily be adjudicated first, and this issue will be returned to the AOJ for further development. 
The matters are REMANDED for the following actions:
1.  Obtain VA clinical records that are not already associated with the claims file.
2.  Undertake any necessary development to verify the Veteran’s claimed stressor of military sexual trauma in service.
3.  Undertake any additional development as deemed necessary to address the claim for a TDIU.
4.  Then, schedule the Veteran for an examination to ascertain whether PTSD, or any other diagnosed psychiatric disorder, is related to military sexual trauma in service.

The claims file should be made available to the examiner.  The report should include a discussion of the Veteran’s documented medical history and assertions, and all clinical findings should be reported in detail.

The examiner is asked to answer the following questions:
(a.)  Identify all the Veteran’s psychiatric diagnoses.
(b.)  Are any of the psychiatric diagnoses at least as likely as not (a 50 percent probability or greater) related to sexual trauma experienced during active duty?

The examiner must provide a full rationale for all opinions.
5.   After all development has been completed, the RO should re-adjudicate entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, then entitlement to a TDIU.

If the benefits sought are not granted, the RO should furnish the Veteran and his representative with a supplemental statement of the case, and should give him a reasonable opportunity to respond before returning the record to the Board for further review.
The Veteran has the right to submit additional evidence and argument on the matters the Board has remanded.  Kutscherousky v. West, 12 Vet. App. 369 (1999).
This claim must be afforded expeditious treatment.  The law requires that all claims that are remanded by the Board of Veterans’ Appeals or by the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for additional development or other 
appropriate action must be handled in an expeditious manner.  See 38 U.S.C. §§ 5109B, 7112 (2012).
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	Brendan A. Evans, Associate Counsel

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