Citation Nr: 18160432
Decision Date: 12/26/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 13-11 534
DATE:	December 26, 2018
REMANDED
Entitlement to service connection for a respiratory disorder other than asbestos plaques, to include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is remanded. 
Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for asbestos plaques in the left lower lobe is remanded.
Entitlement to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty in the United States Navy from November 1947 to November 1951 and from February 1952 to November 1957, and in the United States Air Force from February 1958 to December 1968. 
This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a June 2009 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO).
In February 2016 and December 2016, the Board remanded the appeal for further evidentiary development.
In January 2018, the Board requested an expert medical opinion from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which was received in March 2018.  In September 2018, the Veteran was provided with a copy of the opinion and given 60 days to respond.  38 C.F.R. § 20.903(a). 
1. Entitlement to service connection for a respiratory disorder other than asbestos plaques, to include COPD, is remanded.
2. Entitlement to an initial compensable rating for asbestos plaques in the left lower lobe is remanded.
In October 2018, the Veteran submitted additional argument pertinent to his appeal in response to the March 2018 VHA expert’s opinion.  He specifically indicated that he did not waive RO consideration of the evidence submitted and requested that the Board remand the case to the RO for consideration of the new evidence in the first instance.  As such, a remand is required.  38 C.F.R. § 20.1304(c).  Any outstanding VA and private treatment records should also be secured on remand.
3. Entitlement to a TDIU is remanded.
As the Veteran asserts that he is unemployable as a result of his respiratory disorder, his entitlement to a TDIU is inextricably intertwined with the instant appeal and must be remanded as well. See Harris v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 180, 183 (1991) (holding that where a claim is inextricably intertwined with another claim, the claims must be adjudicated together in order to enter a final decision on the matter).  
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain all outstanding VA treatment records.
2. With any necessary assistance from the Veteran, obtain any outstanding relevant private treatment records.
3. Then readjudicate the claims, with specific consideration of the March 2018 VHA expert’s opinion and the October 2018 argument submitted by the Veteran in response.  
 
S. BUSH
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	S.S. Mahoney, 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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