Entitlement to specially adapted housing was granted in this BVA case. The Board noted that the specially adapted housing was potentially available to this veteran because he suffers from the loss of use loss of use of both his lower extremities. Loss of use will be held to exist when no effective function remains.
In this case, the veteran had both service-connected and non-service connected symptoms in his legs. It was argued, and the Board held, that because the evidence was insufficient to dissociate the symptoms of the veteran's service-connected disabilities from his nonservice-connected disabilities, all of the symptoms would be considered service-connected. Mittleider v. West, 11 Vet.App. 181 (1998).
A review of the RO's October 2006 rating decision shows that the RO noted that the Veteran was shown to have been confined to a wheelchair, however, the RO essentially determined that that the residuals of his peripheral neuropathy were not sufficiently severe enough to meet the required criteria because his neurological impairment was primarily due to his currently nonservice-connected symptoms.
However, with the Board finding that all the symptoms should be treated as service-connected, entitlement loss of use of the lower extremities was found. The Veteran could not walk, and he required assistance or supervision in performing various activities of daily living (ADL's) that included attending to the needs of nature, getting out of bed, and feeing, dressing, and bathing himself. They further show that he required a wheelchair, that he required a brace for ambulation, and that his symptoms included lower extremity muscle weakness, limited motion in the knees and ankles, and abnormal balance. One examiner noted that he was totally unable to care for himself even in the house.
Of particular note, none of the evidence includes an opinion in which the Veteran's peripheral neuropathy symptoms were dissociated from his nonservice-connected cervical and lumbar spine disorders. It was because of this that all the symptoms had to be included in considering entitlement to specially adapted house.