K.K. came to Friedman Disability for legal representation when the VA denied his 2013 claim for service connection for his bipolar disorder. K.K. had been discharged from the United States Navy in 1981 following inconsistent performance and what were termed “personality clashes” with his commanding officers. K.K.’s bipolar disorder grew worse after his discharge, and by 2011 he was totally unable to follow a substantially gainful occupation (SGO).
Friedman Disability obtained K.K.’s Navy service records, including letters from his commanding officer and evidence that he had seen a Navy psychologist about his “up and down” performance and moods. These documents contained compelling evidence that K.K.’s behavioral issues were caused by and marked the beginning of his bipolar disorder.
Our firm then referred K.K. to private psychiatrist, who reviewed all of his service personnel and medical records in addition to his VA medical treatment records, and conducted an extensive clinical interview with the veteran. The psychiatrist concluded in his examination report that K.K.’s bipolar disorder had at least as likely as not manifested to a compensable degree while he was still on active duty prior to his discharge in 1981.
Based on the psychiatric examination report, K.K.’s VA medical treatment records, and his documented employment history, Friedman Disability successfully appealed for a schedular disability rating of 70 percent for K.K.’s bipolar disorder and a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU), resulting in an award of more than $240,000 in past-due benefits. The VA also failed to properly include his spouse in the calculation of these benefits, so our firm corrected this issue, resulting in an additional award of over $14,000 in past-due benefits.