Citation Nr: 18154160
Decision Date: 11/29/18	Archive Date: 11/29/18

DOCKET NO. 17-45 565
DATE:	November 29, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to an effective date earlier than September 10, 2015, for service connection for a psychiatric disability is denied.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran’s application to reopen a claim for entitlement to service connection for a psychiatric disability was received on September 10, 2015.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The criteria for an effective date prior to September 10, 2015, for the grant of service connection for a psychiatric disability have not been met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 5101, 5107, 5110 (2012); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.1, 3.114, 3.151, 3.155, 3.400 (2017).
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty from July 1985 to September 1989 and from November 1997 to March 1998.
1. Earlier Effective Date
The Veteran has asserted that she is entitled to an effective date earlier than September 10, 2015, for service connection for a psychiatric disability, arguing that treatment records showed that she was diagnosed with the disorder prior to 2015.  
Except as otherwise provided, the effective date of an evaluation and award of pension, compensation or dependency and indemnity compensation based on an original claim, a claim reopened after final disallowance, or a claim for increase will be on the date of receipt of the claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is the later.  38 U.S.C. § 5110 (a); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.400, 3.400(b)(2).
The effective date of an evaluation and award of compensation on an original claim for compensation will be the day following separation from active duty service or the date entitlement arose if claim is received within 1 year after separation from service; otherwise, date of receipt of claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later.  38 U.S.C. § 5110 (a); 38 C.F.R. § 3.400 (b)(2).
In this case, the agency of original jurisdiction (AOJ) originally denied the Veteran’s claims for service connection for a psychiatric disability in a February 2006 rating decision.  The Veteran did not submit a notice of disagreement and no new and material evidence was received by VA within one year of the issuance of the rating decision.  As such, the rating decision became final.  See 38 U.S.C. § 7105; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.104, 3.156, 20.1103; see also Bond v. Shinseki, 659 F.3d 1362, 1367-68 (Fed. Cir. 2011).
In a subsequent May 2009 rating decision, the AOJ again denied the Veteran's claim for service connection for a psychiatric disability.  In June 2009, the Veteran disagreed with the rating decision.  The AOJ readjudicated the Veteran's claim in a February 2010 statement of the case (SOC), confirming the denial.  The Veteran did not perfect a timely substantive appeal.  As such, the June 2009 rating decision became final.
Thereafter, the AOJ received a Fully Developed Claim form, again asserting entitlement to service connection for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)/mental health condition on September 10, 2015.  The Board has reviewed the remainder of the record and finds no instance where the Veteran or her representative submitted a statement which might be construed as a formal claim for service connection for a psychiatric disability.  38 C.F.R. § 3.155 (a).  An earlier effective date is therefore not warranted on this basis.
The Board notes that effective March 24, 2015, VA amended its adjudication regulations to require that all claims governed by VA’s adjudication regulations be filed on standard forms prescribed by the Secretary.  See 79 Fed. Reg. 57,660 (Sept. 25, 2014).  This rulemaking also eliminated the constructive receipt of VA reports of hospitalization or examination and other medical records as informal claims for increase, and revised 38 C.F.R. § 3.400 (o)(2).  
The Board has reviewed the evidence that was of record from the February 2010 SOC until March 24, 2015, and finds that there are no statements or other documentation that indicated an intent to reopen the Veteran's claim of entitlement to service connection for a psychiatric disability.  The Board acknowledges that medical treatment records, including Social Security Administration (SSA) records, were received after the February 2010 SOC; however, medical records alone cannot raise a service connection claim.  Brokowski v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 79, 88 (2009).
(Continued on the next page)
 
Without an earlier received claim, the Board concludes that an earlier effective date is not warranted in this case.  38 U.S.C. § 5110 (a); 38 C.F.R. § 3.400 (b)(2)(i).
 
DONNIE R. HACHEY
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	E. Mine, 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

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

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