Citation Nr: 18154216
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 12-34 781
DATE:	November 29, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for sleep apnea, to include as secondary to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from September 1967 to April 1970.  
These matters come before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a June 2011 rating decision of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO)  
In April 2017, the Veteran’s counsel withdrew the Veteran’s request for a Board hearing.  In May 2017, the Board remanded the claim for further development.
An August 2018 VA examination report reflects that the Veteran is now claiming that his sleep apnea is related to in-service concussions.  The examiner noted that neurological examination would be the appropriate exam to evaluate the extent and potential of prior head injuries and that a neurological examiner may also opine on any causal effect between prior concussions and sleep apnea.  His service treatment records show that in June 1969 he was hit in the right eye by someone’s elbow.  Later in June 1969, the Veteran suffered a cut to the left forehead.  
The Veteran is competent to report his in-service concussions.  Though he denied any history of head injury on an April 1970 separation examination report, the Board nonetheless finds the Veteran credible in his reporting of in-service concussions given the documented head injuries.  Therefore, a neurological examination is necessary to determine whether the sleep apnea is related to the in-service concussions.
The RO should obtain any additional records from the Harlingen VA Outpatient Clinic from June 2011 to December 2012 and from September 2018 to the present.
An April 2009 VA examination report reveals that the Veteran stopped working full time in his early fifties.  Though the Social Security Administration indicated in May 2010 that no Title II or Title XVI data was found, the RO should ask the Veteran whether he ever applied for Social Security disability benefits.  If he did apply, the RO should attempt to obtain the records pertaining to his claim. 
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Ask the Veteran to identify all treatment for his sleep apnea and any other residuals of the in-service concussions, and obtain any identified records.
Obtain the Veteran’s VA treatment records from the Harlingen VA Outpatient Clinic from June 2011 to December 2012 and from September 2018 to the present.
2. Ask the Veteran whether he has ever applied for Social Security disability benefits.  If he responds that he had applied for these benefits, obtain the Veteran’s federal records from Social Security Administration pertaining to his claim for Social Security disability benefits.  Document all requests for information as well as all responses in the claims file.
3. After the development in 1 and 2 is completed, schedule the Veteran for a neurological examination to determine the nature and etiology of sleep apnea.  The examiner must opine whether it is at least as likely as not that sleep apnea is related to an in-service injury, event, or disease, including the in-service concussions and two documented head injuries in June 1969.
4. After completing the above action, the RO should readjudicate the Veteran’s claim.  If the claim remains denied, the Veteran and his counsel should be provided a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC).  After the Veteran and his counsel have been given the applicable time to submit additional argument, the claim should be returned to the Board for further review.

 
MICHAEL LANE
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	D. Cherry, 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

For More Information on Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits! Visit: DisableVeteran.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency


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