L.R. hired Friedman Disability in July of 2015 after the VA denied his claim for service connection for his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with major depression, and consequently did not consider him for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). L.R. enlisted in the United States Army in 1978 and served as a military policeman (MP) for three years before being honorably discharged in 1981. During his service, L.R. was sexually assaulted, and the VA committed a harmful legal error by not crediting his report of this in-service stressor. The VA also failed to credit another major in-service stressor experienced by L.R., the suicide of another MP serving with him in Germany.
Friedman Disability filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for L.R.’s complete VA disability claims file in order to establish the favorable evidence of record that the VA had either overlooked or improperly dismissed without explanation. Robert A. Friedman also represented the veteran in an informal teleconference with the Decision Review Officer (DRO) assigned to L.R.’s case.
Friedman Disability was also able to obtain the Casualty Information System (CIS) files for L.R.’s friend who had committed suicide and another friend of his who died in a vehicle accident in Germany. Our firm then referred L.W. to a psychiatrist with extensive experience diagnosing and treating veterans with PTSD for an examination, and added his report to the favorable medical evidence of record already collected by the VA’s examining physicians and psychiatrists.
Based on this favorable evidence, our firm submitted a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on the veteran’s behalf establishing the credible in-service stressors dismissed by the VA and showing that L.R. was entitled to service connection for his PTSD and a TDIU rating. In a September 2017 rating decision, the VA granted L.R. a 70 percent schedular rating for his PTSD and a TDIU rating with a 2014 effective date. This resulted in an award of more than $97,000 in past-due benefits in addition to continuing current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.