Tag: Current

Single Judge Application; The Board cannot avoid adjudicating an issue before it, here the proper rating, simply because it may also arise in a different claim. See Rice, 22 Vet.App. at 450-54 (clarifying that TDIU is not a “claim” but an entitlement to a total disability rating when certain qualifications are met); As appellant notes, the Board’s failure to address entitlement to TDIU based solely on the veteran’s migraine headaches was prejudicial because that entitlement may lead to eligibility for SMC under 38 U.S.C. § 1114(s). See Bradley v. Peake, 22 Vet.App. 280, 293 (2008) (“[S]ection 1114(s) does not limit ‘a service-connected disability rated as total’ to only a schedular rating of 100%, and the Secretary’s current regulation permits a [total disability rating based on individual unemployability] based on a single disability to satisfy the statutory requirement of a total rating.” (quoting 38 U.S.C. § 1114(s))); And VA has had a long-standing policy of considering SMC where it may apply, even if not explicitly raised. See Akles v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 118, 121 (1991);
Single Judge Application; obesity; Walsh v. Wilkie; Gen. Coun. Prec. 1-2017 (Jan. 6, 2017); A 2017 VA General Counsel (VAGC) precedent opinion determined that “[o]besity may be an ‘intermediate step’ between a service-connected disability and a current disability that may be service connected on a secondary basis under 38 C.F.R. § 3.310(a),” VA Gen. Coun. Prec. 1-2017 (Jan. 6, 2017), at 2, ¶ 5. The VAGC explained that, in these cases, the Board would be required to resolve (1) whether the service-connected disability caused the veteran to become obese; (2) if so, whether obesity as a result of the service-connected disability was a substantial factor in causing the claimed secondary disability; and (3) whether the claimed secondary disability would not have occurred but for obesity caused by the service-connected disability. Id. at 9-10, ¶ 15. See also Walsh v. Wilkie, Vet.App., 2020 WL 878798 (Feb. 24, 2020) at *5 (holding that G.C. Prec. 1-2017 requires the Board to consider aggravation in the context of these claims when the theory is explicitly raised by the veteran or reasonably raised by the record).;
Single Judge Application; tinnitus; Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings; evidence developed in processing that claim; claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim; The Board did not, however, address the reasonably raised issue of whether the veteran’s specific claim for tinnitus encompassed a claim for a vestibular condition manifesting in dizziness, as required by Clemons. In Clemons, the Court explained that, because lay claimants generally lack the medical knowledge to narrow the universe of a claim to a particular diagnosis, VA “should construe a claim based on the reasonable expectations of the non-expert, self-represented claimant and the evidence developed in processing that claim.” 23 Vet.App. at 5. “[T]he claimant’s intent in filing a claim is paramount to construing its breadth,” and factors relevant to that inquiry include “the claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim.” Id. The Court ultimately held that the Board may not deny a claim because a lay claimant’s hypothesized diagnosis proves incorrect; rather, the Board must “confront[] the difficult questions of what current []condition actually exist[s] and whether it was incurred in or aggravated by service.” Id. at 6. In so doing, the Board must make “affirmative finding[s] as to the nature of the [claimant’s] condition.” Id. In short, “the fact that the [claimant] may be wrong about the nature of his [or her] condition does not relieve the Secretary of his duty to properly adjudicate the claim.” Id.; see generally Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings that fail to enumerate precisely the disabilities included within the bounds of a claim,” which “is best accomplished by looking to the veteran’s reasonable expectations in filing the claim and the evidence developed in processing that claim”).;

Single Judge Application; tinnitus; Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings; evidence developed in processing that claim; claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim; The Board did not, however, address the reasonably raised issue of whether the veteran’s specific claim for tinnitus encompassed a claim for a vestibular condition manifesting in dizziness, as required by Clemons. In Clemons, the Court explained that, because lay claimants generally lack the medical knowledge to narrow the universe of a claim to a particular diagnosis, VA “should construe a claim based on the reasonable expectations of the non-expert, self-represented claimant and the evidence developed in processing that claim.” 23 Vet.App. at 5. “[T]he claimant’s intent in filing a claim is paramount to construing its breadth,” and factors relevant to that inquiry include “the claimant’s description of the claim; the symptoms the claimant describes; and the information the claimant submits or that the Secretary obtains in support of the claim.” Id. The Court ultimately held that the Board may not deny a claim because a lay claimant’s hypothesized diagnosis proves incorrect; rather, the Board must “confront[] the difficult questions of what current []condition actually exist[s] and whether it was incurred in or aggravated by service.” Id. at 6. In so doing, the Board must make “affirmative finding[s] as to the nature of the [claimant’s] condition.” Id. In short, “the fact that the [claimant] may be wrong about the nature of his [or her] condition does not relieve the Secretary of his duty to properly adjudicate the claim.” Id.; see generally Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings that fail to enumerate precisely the disabilities included within the bounds of a claim,” which “is best accomplished by looking to the veteran’s reasonable expectations in filing the claim and the evidence developed in processing that claim”).;

Single Judge Application; tinnitus; Murphy v. Wilkie, 983 F.3d 1313, 1318 (Fed. Cir. 2020) (endorsing Clemons and explaining that “VA shall afford lenity to a veteran’s filings; evidence ...

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