F.G. hired Friedman Disability in March 2017 after the VA improperly reduced the schedular rating for his service-connected post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from 70 percent to 50 percent even though his worsening PTSD symptoms had recently caused him to stop looking for work altogether.
F.G. enlisted in the United States Army in 1966, and served an extended combat tour in Vietnam with the Army Special Forces before being honorably discharged in 1969. After his discharge, F.G. worked as a car salesman for a decade before beginning a successful acting career that landed him screen and voiceover roles in film and television, averaging around 150 voiceover roles per year in the 1990s. Beginning in 2010, as his PTSD symptoms worsened F.G had more and more interpersonal conflicts with colleagues because of his anger and irritability related to his PTSD. By 2016, none of F.G.’s contacts would offer him work, effectively ending his acting career.
When F.G. came to Friedman Disability, we obtained his VA and private medical records in addition to his earnings history in order to prove that his PTSD warranted at least a 70 percent rating and that he should be awarded a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU).
In our Notice of Disagreement (NOD), we presented the evidence of F.G.’s documented inability to adapt to the stressful situations of a work setting and his inability to relate effectively to others, two criteria for a 70 percent schedular disability rating for PTSD. The VA restored F.G.’s 70 percent rating in a 2017 decision, yielding more than $900 in past-due benefits and increasing his monthly benefit while he waited for his TDIU claim to be adjudicated. To support F.G.’s TDIU claim, our firm referred him for a psychiatric examination to assess the occupational impact of his PTSD, and obtained his sworn declaration. Based on this evidence, in December 2018 the VA issued a new rating decision that awarded F.G. a TDIU rating with a 2014 effective date, resulting in an award of more than $94,000 in past-due benefits and current disability paid at the 100 percent rate.