D.D. hired Friedman Disability in December of 2015 after the VA denied his claim for a combined rating of greater than 70 percent for his adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood associated with his degenerative lumbar spine with moderate spinal stenosis at the L4-5 level, and refused to grant him a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). D.D. enlisted in the United Sates Army in 1977 and served for four years before being honorably discharged in 1981.
When D.D. came to Friedman Disability, our firm’s first step was to obtain his complete VA claims file as well as his VA and private medical records in order to identify the favorable medical and occupational evidence of record either overlooked or improperly dismissed without explanation by the VA. Our firm’s assessment of his claim revealed that the VA’s own records showed that D.D. had not worked and had been unable to work since at least 2013, and that the VA knew or should have known that D.D. was receiving Social Security disability benefits as a result of his inability to work.
Furthermore, the VA’s examining physicians and psychologists had identified several of D.D.’s adjustment disorder symptoms that prevented him from working, including suicidal ideation, an inability to adapt to stressful circumstances, speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant, impaired impulse control, neglect of personal hygiene, and near-continuous panic or depression. Our firm also obtained a report from a vocational expert with extensive experience working with disabled veterans, which explained why someone with D.D.’s symptoms would be unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation (SGO).
On the basis of these facts, Friedman Disability filed a Notice of Disagreement on D.D.’s behalf, proving to the VA that D.D. was entitled to a TDIU rating. In July of 2016, the VA issued a new rating decision granting D.D. a TDIU rating with a 2014 effective date. This resulted in an award of more than $39,000 in past-due benefits, in addition to continuing current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.