Citation Nr: 18160383
Decision Date: 12/27/18	Archive Date: 12/26/18

DOCKET NO. 17-01 872
DATE:	December 27, 2018
REMANDED
Service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is remanded. 
 Entitlement to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability, due to service-connected disabilities (TDIU), is remanded.
REASONS FOR REMAND
The Veteran served on active duty from May 1986 to May 1989, and March 1993 to October 1995. 
These matters come before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Louisville, Kentucky. By that rating action, the RO denied service connection for PTSD and entitlement to individual unemployability. 
1. Service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is remanded.
A remand is required in this case to ensure that there is a complete record upon which to decide the Veteran’s claim of entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder, to include PTSD. VA has a duty to make reasonable efforts to assist a claimant in obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate the claim for the benefit sought, unless no reasonable possibility exists that such assistance would aid in substantiating the claim. 38 C.F.R. § 3.159 (c)(d). After reviewing the record, the Board finds that further development is required prior to adjudicating this claim.  There are no VA medical opinions of record addressing the etiology of the Veteran’s claimed PTSD. The Veteran has provided lay statements asserting the symptoms began in service. In light of the foregoing, the Board is of the opinion that a VA medical opinion should be obtained which addresses whether the Veteran currently has PTSD which is related to his service. See 38 C.F.R. § 3.159 (c)(4) (holding a medical examination or opinion is necessary if the information and evidence of record does not contain sufficient medical evidence to decide the claim). 
2. Entitlement to a total disability rating based on individual unemployability, due to service-connected disabilities (TDIU), is remanded. 
The Veteran seeks a TDIU. The law provides that a total disability rating may be assigned where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities, provided that, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, or if there are two or more 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. See 38 C.F.R. § 4.16 (a). Individual unemployability must be determined without regard to any nonservice-connected disabilities or the Veteran’s advancing age. 38 C.F.R. §§ 4.16 (a), 4.19; Van Hoose v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 361 (1993). 
Here, the Veteran is currently not service-connected for any disabilities. Thus, the issue of entitlement to a TDIU is remanded as he awaits a determination on his service connection PTSD claim. As the entitlement to service connection for PTSD will have a substantial impact on the TDIU claim, it must be remanded.
The matters are REMANDED for the following action:
1. Obtain any outstanding VA and private treatment records relevant to the claims on appeal.
2. Schedule the Veteran for an appropriate VA examination to address the current nature and etiology of his psychiatric disorders. The claims file should be made available to and reviewed by the examiner and all necessary tests should be performed. All findings should be reported in detail.
After the record review, and a thorough examination and interview of the Veteran, the VA examiner should address the following:
(a)	If a diagnosis of PTSD should be explicitly ruled in or excluded. 
If a diagnosis of PTSD is not warranted, the examiner should discuss the basis for this conclusion, and reconcile this finding with the diagnosis of PTSD in his treatment records. 
If a diagnosis of PTSD is warranted, specify the stressor or stressors upon which that diagnosis is based, to include overwhelming anxiety regarding his orders to train guardsmen, and belittling by commanding officer after going AWOL in front of fellow soldiers. 
(b)	If a psychiatric disability other than PTSD is diagnosed (to include depression and anxiety previously diagnosed during the pendency of the appeal), the examiner should indicate whether it is at least as likely as not (50 percent probability or greater) that such disability had its onset in service or is otherwise related to service. In addressing this question, the examiner should discuss the Veteran’s report of continuous mental health problems since active duty.

 
H. SEESEL
Veterans Law Judge
Board of Veterans’ Appeals
ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD	T. Russell, 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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