Favorable Evidence of Unemployability
In working with the veteran we developed favorable evidence, including opinions from two VA examiners (a psychologist and a staff physician), a VA clinical nurse specialist, a VA social worker, and a private psychologist. Although the VA psychologist in February 2006 questioned the validity of the diagnosis of PTSD, he opined that if the alleged stressors were confirmed, then the Veteran was totally incapable of social and occupational functioning. In August 2006, a VA treating physician opined that the Veteran's psychiatric issues, including severe PTSD with concurrent depression and paranoia rendered him totally and completely disabled. The clinical nurse and a treating social worker also opined that the Veteran was totally disabled due to his PTSD.
To ensure victory in the case, given that the earlier developed evidence was somewhat stale, we obtained the report from a private clinical psychologist in February 2013, was to the effect that the Veteran's psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, paranoid schizophrenia and polysubstance abuse rendered him unemployable in any capacity for the foreseeable future.
Fighting VA Evidence Against Unemployability
The evidence against unemployability included the opinions of two VA psychologists that the Veteran was not totally disabled due to PTSD. To fight this evidence, we argued for the veteran that the evidence required to warrant a grant of disability benefits does not have to be conclusive. The question is whether the evidence supports the claim or is in relative equipoise, with the Veteran prevailing in either event, or whether a fair preponderance of the evidence is against the claim, in which case the claim is denied. The Board agreed with this argument and awarded Unemployability to the veteran, who received over $130,000 in retroactive benefits.
The decision may be found here on the Board of Veterans' Appeals web page.