Citation Nr: 18160464
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 15-20 083
DATE:	December 27, 2018
ORDER
Entitlement to nonservice-connected pension benefits is denied.
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for a respiratory disability, claimed as chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and an acute respiratory disability, is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for sleep apnea is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for congestive heart failure is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for implantable cardioverter defibrillator is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for hypertension is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for acid reflux is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus, type II, is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, claimed as anxiety attacks, is remanded.
Entitlement to service connection for color blindness is remanded.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran did not serve in the active military, naval, or air service during a period of war.
CONCLUSION OF LAW
The criteria for entitlement to nonservice-connected pension benefits have not been met.  38 U.S.C. § 1501, 1521; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.2, 3.3, 3.203, 3.314.
REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDING AND CONCLUSION
To establish eligibility for pension benefits, the evidence must show, among other things, that the Veteran has the requisite active wartime service.  38 U.S.C. § 1521(a); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.3, 3.314(b).  The term “period of war” for pension purposes means the Mexican Border Period, World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam era, the Persian Gulf War, and the period beginning on the date of any future declaration of war by the Congress and ending on the date prescribed by Presidential proclamation or concurrent resolution of the Congress.  38 U.S.C. § 1501(4); 38 C.F.R. § 3.2.  The Vietnam era is the period beginning on February 28, 1961 and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, in the case of a veteran who actually served in the Republic of Vietnam during that period.  38 C.F.R. § 3.2(f).  The period beginning August 5, 1964 and ending on May 7, 1975, inclusive, is the established period of war in all other cases.  Id.  The Persian Gulf War is the period beginning August 2, 1990 through the present. 38 C.F.R. § 3.2(i).
The Veteran served on active duty for training (ACDUTRA) from March 1983 to July 1983 for initial entry training.  This period was not during a period of war and cannot serve as the basis for establishing entitlement to pension benefits.  He does not have an additional active service.  As such, the Veteran’s pension claim must be denied as a matter of law because he did not have the requisite wartime service.  See Sabonis v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 426, 430 (1994).
In reaching this conclusion, the Board acknowledges it is remanding several service connection claims so the Agency of Original Jurisdiction (AOJ) can request any records that may be available for the Veteran from the Social Security Administration (SSA).  While SSA records are potentially relevant to the service connection claims, the Board finds they do not have potential relevance to the issue of whether the Veteran meets the wartime service requirement for pension benefits, a determination that is based solely on service department records or verification from the appropriate service department.  See 38 C.F.R. § 3.203.  Thus, the Board finds it unnecessary to delay the adjudication of the Veteran’s pension claim for the development of SSA records.
REASONS FOR REMAND
1. Entitlement to service connection for a respiratory disability, claimed as chronic bronchitis, COPD, and an acute respiratory disability, is remanded.
2. Entitlement to service connection for sleep apnea is remanded.
3. Entitlement to service connection for congestive heart failure is remanded.
4. Entitlement to service connection for implantable cardioverter defibrillator is remanded.
5. Entitlement to service connection for hypertension is remanded.
6. Entitlement to service connection for acid reflux is remanded.
7. Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus, type II, is remanded.
8. Entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, claimed as anxiety attacks, is remanded.
9. Entitlement to service connection for color blindness is remanded.
The record reflects the Veteran was granted SSA disability benefits in September 1997.  There is no indication that SSA records have been requested.  When there has been a determination regarding SSA benefits, the records concerning that decision must be obtained, if relevant.  Tetro v. Gober, 14 Vet. App. 100, 108-09 (2000); Murincsak v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 363, 372 (1992).  In cases where VA is uncertain as to the relevance of the records, such as this case, VA should be guided by the principles underlying the pro-claimant VA system.  See Golz v. Shinseki, 590 F.3d 1317, 1323 (Fed. Cir. 2010).
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
Request any records that may be available from the SSA.  If records are not obtained, associate documentation of all efforts to obtain the records with the claims file, to include findings consistent with statute and regulation as to why efforts to obtain the records ceased.
 
M. HYLAND
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	L. S. Kyle, 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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