Citation Nr: 18160676
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 17-04 203
DATE:	December 27, 2018
Service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder is remanded.
The Veteran served on active duty from July 1965 to July 1968.
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a June 2014 rating decision of a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO).
The Board notes that the Veteran originally filed a service connection claim for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  In Clemons v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 1 (2009), the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) held that, in determining the scope of a claim, the Board must consider the claimant’s description of the claim; symptoms described; and the information submitted or developed in support of the claim.  Id. at 5.  Thus, in light of the Court’s decision in Clemons, the Board has re-characterized the issue on appeal as entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder.
1. Service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder is remanded.
The Board cannot make a fully-informed decision on the issue of service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder because the January 2017 VA examiner did not provide any rationale for the conclusion that the diagnosed adjustment disorder with anxiety is less likely than not related to military service.  As such, a remand is required.  
The matter is REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain an addendum opinion from an appropriate clinician regarding whether the Veteran’s acquired psychiatric disorder is at least as likely as not related to service.  Consider the Veteran’s lay statements in January 2017 and November 2018 to the effect that he maintained flashbacks, anxiety, withdrawal (use of alcohol); avoidance; repression (that caused him to throw himself into work); emotional numbing (walling off stressful events); irritability; and general malaise, since discharge from service.
A new examination is only required if deemed necessary by the examiner.  The examiner must provide all findings, along with a complete rationale for his or her opinion(s) in the examination report.  If any of the above requested opinions cannot be made without resort to speculation, the examiner must state this and provide a rationale for such conclusion.
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2. If, upon completion of the above action any benefit sought on appeal remains denied, the case should be returned to the Board after compliance with appellate procedure.
Acting Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	A. Rocktashel, Counsel

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