Citation Nr: 18160544
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/27/18

DOCKET NO. 16-58 665
DATE:	December 27, 2018
ORDER
A total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is granted.
VETERAN’S CONTENTIONS
The Veteran contends that his service-connected disabilities, specifically his service-connected bilateral hip condition, preclude him from securing or maintaining substantially gainful employment, entitling him to a TDIU.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran's service-connected disabilities preclude him from securing or following a substantially gainful occupation.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The criteria for a TDIU have been met.  38 U.S.C. §§ 1155, 5107(b); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.321, 3.340, 3.341, 4.16, 4.19.
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
The Veteran served on active duty from September 1975 to September 1978.

This matter comes to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) on appeal from a June 2016 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO).
1. Entitlement to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU)
TDIU is granted where a veteran's service connected disabilities are rated less than total, but they prevent him from obtaining or maintaining all gainful employment for which his education and occupational experience would otherwise qualify him.  38 C.F.R. § 4.16 (2017). 
VA will grant a TDIU when the evidence shows that a Veteran is precluded, by reason of service-connected disabilities, from obtaining and maintaining any form of gainful employment consistent with his education and occupational experience.  See 38 U.S.C. § 1155; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.340, 3.341, 4.16.  TDIU benefits are granted only when it is established that the service-connected disabilities are so severe, standing alone, as to prevent the retaining of gainful employment.  If there is only one such disability, it must be rated at least 60 percent disabling to qualify for TDIU benefits; if there are two or more such disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more.  38 C.F.R. § 4.16 (a).
In determining whether an appellant is entitled to a total disability rating based upon individual unemployability, neither the appellant's nonservice-connected disabilities nor advancing age may be considered.  38 C.F.R. §§ 3.341 (a), 4.19 (2017).  Factors to be considered are the Veteran's education, employment history, and vocational attainment.  See Ferraro v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 326, 332 (1991). 
At the outset, the Board notes that the Veteran meets the schedular requirements for a TDIU.  Service connection has been established for total left hip replacement (rated as 30 percent disabling); right hip replacement associated with total left hip replacement (rated as 30 percent disabling); chondromalacia patella, left knee (rated as 10 percent disabling); right knee degenerative arthritis associated with chondromalacia patella, left knee (rated as 10 percent disabling); trochanteric pain syndrome, left lower extremity associated with chondromalacia patella, left knee (rated as 10 percent disabling from July 23, 2014 to October 23, 2015); surgical scar, left hip associated with total left hip replacement (rated as noncompensable) and surgical scar, right hip associated with right hip replacement (rated as noncompensable).  The Veteran's combined schedular rating is 70 percent or greater, thus the Veteran meets the threshold schedular requirement for an award of TDIU benefits under 38 C.F.R. § 4.16 (a).
After reviewing the evidence of record and resolving all doubt in the Veteran's favor, the Board finds that the Veteran is unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of his service-connected disabilities.  See Gilbert, 1 Vet. App. 54.  See also 38 U.S.C. § 5107 (2012).  In making this determination, the Board has considered the Veteran's level of education and his primary employment history working as an airline/flight line mechanic and aircraft maintenance contractor.  The combined effect of his disabilities makes it unlikely that the Veteran could secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation consistent with his educational level and occupational experience.
In this regard, the evidence of record includes a February 2016 VA Form 21-4192 Request for Employment Information from the Veteran’s former employer indicating that the Veteran last worked in March 2015.  The reason listed for termination of employment was that the Veteran was unable to physically perform the job tasks.
The Veteran was afforded a VA examination in October 2016.  The October 2016 VA examiner opined that the Veteran’s bilateral hip condition impacts his ability to perform any type of occupational task.  The examiner reasoned that the bilateral hip condition results in pain with ambulation for distance, pain when standing for long periods, and pain when sitting for long periods.  In July 2016, a VA clinician similarly opined that it was unlikely that the Veteran would be able to return to gainful employment as a result of his service-connected hip conditions, even after replacement surgery.  See July 2016 American Lake VAMC Records.  There is no medical opinion of record to the contrary.
After reviewing the evidence of record and resolving all doubt in the Veteran's favor, the Board finds that the Veteran is unable to secure and follow a substantially gainful occupation by reason of his service-connected disabilities.  See Gilbert, 1 Vet. App. 54.  See also 38 U.S.C. § 5107.
 
TRACIE N. WESNER
Acting Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	J. Smith-Jennings, 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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