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Veteran’s Disability Benefits/Disability Compensation Case Examples

Veterans Disability Compensation — Allegheny County

We represented an Army veteran who applied for an increase in her service-connected disability compensation for the right and left knee. She was denied on her application for an increase and QR helped the veteran file a VA Form 9. Prior to attending a hearing, QR created a questionnaire with the rating specifics for a knee impairment straight from the Schedule for Rating Disabilities — Part 4. This questionnaire was presented to, and completed by, the veteran’s treating orthopedic surgeon. QR then attended a hearing before the Board of Veterans Appeals in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at which time we reviewed the medical questionnaire with the Veterans law judge and took testimony. Following the hearing, a decision increasing the percentage for both the left and right knee was received, with retroactive pay granted back to 2009 (date of initial application for the increase).

QR Results: Veterans Awarded Service Connection For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) By Board Of Veterans Appeals

QR is pleased to announce that our appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals for an Army veteran with service in Vietnam resulted in a reversal of the initial Ratings Determination by the Department of Veterans Affairs (Pittsburgh Regional Office) and a full grant of service connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The Veterans applied on his own and was originally denied by the Pittsburgh Regional Office. Attorney Michael Quatrini appealed the unfavorable decision and worked with the Veteran’s private psychiatrist to challenge the opinion of the VA examiner, who opined that the Veteran did not suffer from PTSD.

Attorney Quatrini attended a video teleconference with the Veteran in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was able to convince the Veterans law judge to accept the following facts:

  1. the Veteran engaged in combat during his service
  2. the Veteran had a qualifying DSM-IV diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his private psychiatrist
  3. the Veteran’s claimed stressors were more likely than not related to his combat service

Further, the Veterans law judge also accepted our argument that a grant of service connection was proper for two reasons: (1) the opinion of the private psychiatrist was simply more credible, and (2) the two medical opinions — one from the VA and one from the private psychiatrist — were in “relative equipoise,” meaning that the two opinions essentially tied, and compelled a victory for the Veteran.

The BVA decision will now head back to the Pittsburgh Regional Office for further adjudication, including an updated evaluation and rating for the Veteran’s PTSD.

Westmoreland County, Jeannette, Pennsylvania — Veterans Disability Compensation (GERD)

Our client applied, on his own, for an increased service-connected disability percentage for his GERD diagnosis. He was denied the increase after a Board of Veterans Appeals hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Our veterans disability attorneys were retained, and they appealed his case to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims in Washington, D.C., where they successfully argued that the Veterans law judge failed to consider specific symptoms diagnosed by the client’s treating physicians. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims remanded the claim back to the Board of Veterans Appeals for another hearing and review of the medical evidence.

Maryland — Veterans Disability Compensation

QR represented an individual from Maryland who filed a claim for service-connected compensation benefits on his own through the Veterans Administration for obstructive sleep apnea. After being denied on the initial application through an unfavorable Rating Decision, QR submitted a Notice of Disagreement for a Decision Review Officer hearing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Prior to the hearing, QR updated the client’s medical records with the VA and obtained an independent medical examination, which reviewed all of the Veteran’s medical records and provided a narrative report challenging the findings of the VA’s compensation and pension examiner. Following an informal conference, the Decision Review Officer issued an updated Rating Decision overturning the original decision based on the independent medical examination, and awarding the Veteran service connection for the condition along with a 50 percent rating dating back to the beginning of the claim.

Westmoreland County — Veteran’s Disability Benefits/Disability Compensation (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

Our client from Westmoreland County applied for, and was denied, service connection for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He had a previous unfavorable decision. The Army veteran served a year-long tour in Vietnam. QR helped the client appeal his Ratings Determination to the Regional Office in Pittsburgh. A hearing was held with a Decision Review Officer at which point testimony was taken from the Veteran regarding his experiences and his treatment. Working with the client’s treating psychiatrist, QR was able to attack the thoroughness and credibility of the examinations performed by the Veterans Administration. Following the hearing and submission of evidence, a favorable Statement of the Case was issued granting full service connection. The Veteran was awarded an ongoing disability percentage and retroactive benefits back to the day of his application.