Army Veteran and Military Sexual Trauma Survivor Awarded TDIU Rating for PTSD

H.B. hired Friedman Disability to represent her after a VA rating decision in 2014 denied her a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU) for to her service-connected PTSD. H.B. was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2000 following six years of service, during which time she survived multiple sexual assaults. After being honorably discharged, she had difficulty pursuing any substantially gainful occupation (SGO) and had to leave two jobs as a security guard after refusing to accept what she perceived as her employer’s lax security procedures.

Although the VA purported to base its decision on a report from H.B.’s treating psychologist, the VA refused to grant H.B. a TDIU rating based on the limitations caused by her service-connected PTSD and did not provide any examples of occupations that H.B. might gainfully pursue, given her well-documented limitations interacting with or being in the presence of other people. The VA erred in doing so, especially in light of the fact that its own VA examining psychologist confirmed that H.B.’s PTSD severely limited the kinds of job tasks she could perform, causing her to require so many accommodations that no substantially gainful occupation would be possible to find.

Friedman Disability demonstrated this harmful legal error in a formal hearing before the Decision Review Officer (DRO) assigned to H.B.’s claims and obtained sworn declarations from H.B. and her husband detailing the severe functional limitations that she experiences on a daily basis. As a result, our firm won H.B.’s claim for a TDIU rating effective 2010, resulting in a total award of over $113,000 in past-due benefits in addition to current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.