S.E. hired Friedman Disability in September of 2016 after the VA denied his claim for a combined rating of greater than 80 percent for his service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), tinnitus, bilateral acquired pes cavus, and mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). The VA also failed S.E. by not considering him for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). S.E. enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 2007, and served for five years before being honorably discharged in 2012.
After taking S.E.’s case, our Friedman Disability’s first step was to obtain his complete VA and private medical records, in addition to his VA claims file, in order to identify the favorable medical evidence of record that the VA had overlooked or improperly dismissed without cause. Given that the VA knew or should have known that S.E. had been unable to work since losing his last job in 2015 due to his PTSD and other impairments, and given the fact that the VA had identified PTSD symptoms including impaired impulse control, difficulty adapting to stressful circumstances, and near-continuous panic that all prevented S.E. from following a substantially gainful occupation (SGO), the VA clearly failed by not adjudicating his implicit TDIU claim. To support this conclusion, our firm also obtained a report from a vocational expert with extensive experience referring veterans for job placements, explaining why someone with S.E.’s symptoms could not follow a substantially gainful occupation.
Based on the vocational expert’s report and the favorable medical and occupational evidence of record, Friedman Disability filed a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on the client’s behalf demonstrating his entitlement to a higher schedular rating for his PTSD and/or a TDIU rating.
Thanks to these efforts, in May of 2018 the VA issued a new rating decision granting S.E. a 100 percent schedular rating for his PTSD with a 2015 effective date. This resulted in an award of more than $51,000 in past-due benefits in addition to continuing current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.