K.J. came to Friedman Disability for legal representation in 2012 after the VA denied his claim for service connection for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). K.J. served in Korea with the United States Army from 1978 to 1982, after which his mental health severely deteriorated to the point that he was completely dependent on his wife in day-to-day activities.
In rejecting K.J.’s claim for service connection for PTSD, the VA improperly rejected four letters from service members with whom K.J. served in Korea, including the chaplain who counseled K.J., corroborating that K.J. had witnessed the suicide of a South Korean soldier during his service at radar stations in Korea.
In addition to demonstrating that these letters were credible and had been improperly rejected, Friedman Disability also demonstrated that K.J.’s performance in the Army had markedly declined. Before the incident, K.J. had been a model soldier and earned several distinctions and promotions, whereas afterwards he was cited several times for having alcohol without permission and failing to report to his assigned duties.
This evidence from his service records, along with sworn declarations from his wife and treating doctors and psychiatrists, was sufficient to win K.J. a staged schedular rating of 100% for his PTSD with a March 2015 effective date and a 70% rating with a September 2010 effective date. This resulted in a past-due benefits award of more than $221,000 in addition to current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.