W.A. hired Friedman Disability in October of 2015 after the VA denied him a schedular rating of greater than 70 percent for his service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and failed to grant him a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). W.A. enlisted in the United States Navy in 1970, serving for nine years before being honorably discharged in 1979. The VA was aware of the fact that W.A.’s PTSD symptoms had prevented him from working since 1988, but erroneously concluded in its 2015 rating decision that W.A.’s PTSD was not bad enough to fully explain this, telling him that “when considered in isolation, your service-connected disabilities alone are not so disabling as to prevent you from engaging in gainful employment.”
Friedman Disability helped prove W.A.’s entitlement to a total disability rating in multiple ways. First, our firm obtained W.A.’s complete VA and private medical records, employment history, and VA claims file. Our firm noted that the VA’s own examining psychologists identified a number of the PTSD symptoms that totally prevented W.A. from securing and following a substantially gainful occupation (SGO), including an inability to establish and maintain effective relationships, suicidal ideation, neglect of personal appearance and hygiene, impaired impulse control, spatial disorientation, and near-continuous panic or depression. Our firm then referred W.A. to a vocational expert with extensive experience referring veterans for job placements for an examination. Based on her report and the favorable medical and vocational evidence of record, our firm filed a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) on the client’s behalf demonstrating his entitlement to a TDIU rating.
Thanks to these efforts, in May of 2017 the VA granted W.A. a TDIU rating with a 2008 effective date. This resulted in an award of nine years of past-due benefits worth more than $168,000, in addition to continuing current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.