Tag: required

Single Judge Application; reason and bases; Dela Cruz v. Principi, 15 Vet.App. 143, 149 (2001); failure discuss all the evidence favorable to a claimant; Gabrielson v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 36, 40 (1994); the Board cannot “evade [its] statutory responsibility [to state the reasons or bases for its conclusions] merely by adopting [a medical opinion] as its own” where the medical opinion “fails to discuss all the evidence which appears to support [the] appellant’s position.” Gabrielson v. Brown, 7 Vet.App. 36, 40 (1994). Gabrielson does not require that a medical opinion discuss all the evidence favorable to a claimant, only that the Board, in relying on an opinion that does not do so, discuss any additional favorable evidence to comply with its duty to provide an adequate statement of reasons or bases for its decision. See id.; 38 U.S.C. § 7104(d)(1); see also Dela Cruz v. Principi, 15 Vet.App. 143, 149 (2001) (holding that, although the Board must consider all of the evidence of record, “a discussion of all evidence is not required when . . . the Board has supported its decision with thorough reasons or bases regarding the relevant evidence”);
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).;
The examination report must include • an up-to-date, brief, medical and industrial history from the date of discharge or last examination • a record of subjective complaints • a complete description of objective findings, stated in concrete terms • a diagnosis for each described condition[] • answer(s) to any question specifically included in the examination request • opinions specifically requested in the exam request • a diagnosis or notation that a chronic disease or disability was ruled out for each disability, complaint, or symptom listed on the examination request, and • the clinical findings required by the rating schedule for the evaluation of the specific disability being claimed. (For example, if a joint is being examined, the range of motion in degrees should be noted as part of the examination. If a cardiovascular condition is being examined, the metabolic equivalent expanded before fatigue, chest pain, and so on, result should be expressed.); M21-1MR, pt. III, subpt. iv, ch. 3, sec. D(f); In response to the Court’s inquiry, counsel for the Secretary stated that this provision is intended to assist VA adjudicators in determining what constitutes a sufficient report of examination for compensation and pension purposes, but conceded that a particular VA medical record may still qualify as a “report of examination” under § 3.157(b)(1) even if it is not as detailed as required by this M21-1MR provision.;

The examination report must include • an up-to-date, brief, medical and industrial history from the date of discharge or last examination • a record of subjective complaints • a complete description of objective findings, stated in concrete terms • a diagnosis for each described condition[] • answer(s) to any question specifically included in the examination request • opinions specifically requested in the exam request • a diagnosis or notation that a chronic disease or disability was ruled out for each disability, complaint, or symptom listed on the examination request, and • the clinical findings required by the rating schedule for the evaluation of the specific disability being claimed. (For example, if a joint is being examined, the range of motion in degrees should be noted as part of the examination. If a cardiovascular condition is being examined, the metabolic equivalent expanded before fatigue, chest pain, and so on, result should be expressed.); M21-1MR, pt. III, subpt. iv, ch. 3, sec. D(f); In response to the Court’s inquiry, counsel for the Secretary stated that this provision is intended to assist VA adjudicators in determining what constitutes a sufficient report of examination for compensation and pension purposes, but conceded that a particular VA medical record may still qualify as a “report of examination” under § 3.157(b)(1) even if it is not as detailed as required by this M21-1MR provision.;

Panel Application; the Veterans Benefits Administration Adjudication Procedures Manual (M21-1MR) are intended to describe the type of VA medical record that qualifies as a “report of examination.” In ...

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 ...

“[P]rivate medical evidence since the initial exam that indicates the veteran’s medical history [] include[s] cold injury residuals [is] based upon his verbal history—not the evidence of record.” R. at 3583. There is no doubt that the RO’s distinction between the “evidence of record” and the veteran’s own statements was completely misleading at best. See 38 U.S.C.§ 5107(b) (requiring the Secretary to “consider all information and lay and medical evidence of record in a case”); Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (noting that VA is required to give due consideration to all pertinent medical and lay evidence in evaluating a claim to disability or death benefits); Buchanan v. Nicholson, 451 F.3d 1331, 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (explaining that””lay evidence is one type of evidence that must be considered, if submitted, when a veteran’s claim seeks disability benefits” and holding that, in certain situations, “competent lay evidence can be sufficient in and of itself” to establish entitlement to such benefits). The language used in the request indicates that the veteran’s own statements are not “evidence of record” and would require at least corroboration in service medical records to be credible and probative. That is contrary to Buchanan, 451 F.3d at 1335 (finding improper the Board’s determination that ‘lay statements lacked credibility merely because they were not corroborated by contemporaneous [SMRs]”).; » HadIt.com For Veterans Who’ve Had It With The VA

“[P]rivate medical evidence since the initial exam that indicates the veteran’s medical history [] include[s] cold injury residuals [is] based upon his verbal history—not the evidence of record.” R. at 3583. There is no doubt that the RO’s distinction between the “evidence of record” and the veteran’s own statements was completely misleading at best. See 38 U.S.C.§ 5107(b) (requiring the Secretary to “consider all information and lay and medical evidence of record in a case”); Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (noting that VA is required to give due consideration to all pertinent medical and lay evidence in evaluating a claim to disability or death benefits); Buchanan v. Nicholson, 451 F.3d 1331, 1335 (Fed. Cir. 2006) (explaining that””lay evidence is one type of evidence that must be considered, if submitted, when a veteran’s claim seeks disability benefits” and holding that, in certain situations, “competent lay evidence can be sufficient in and of itself” to establish entitlement to such benefits). The language used in the request indicates that the veteran’s own statements are not “evidence of record” and would require at least corroboration in service medical records to be credible and probative. That is contrary to Buchanan, 451 F.3d at 1335 (finding improper the Board’s determination that ‘lay statements lacked credibility merely because they were not corroborated by contemporaneous [SMRs]”).; » HadIt.com For Veterans Who’ve Had It With The VA

Single Judge Application; Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313, 1316 (Fed. Cir. 2009); The RO’s request distinguished between the veteran’s statements and the other evidence of record: “rivate ...

Single Judge Application; “The [U.S. Court of Appeals for the] Federal Circuit made it clear that the Board is not bound by [M21-1] ; Overton, 30 Vet.App. at 264 (“[T]he Board is required to discuss any relevant provisions contained in the M21-1 . . . , but because it is not bound by those provisions, it must make its own determination before it chooses to rely on an M21-l provision . . . .”); It is unclear how the Board came to this conclusion that consistent and prolonged exposure was required because that language is not found within the M21-1 provision that was provided to appellant as a reference for establishing presumptive service connection; Andrews v. McDonough, __ Vet.App. , , No. 19-0352, 2021 U.S. App. Vet. Claims LEXIS 1091, at *17-20 (June 22, 2021) (“[T]he VA ma y [not] tell a veteran how to establish a service connection for his [condition] only to move the goalposts once he has done so. This kind of goalpost-moving does not reflect an optimal mode of administrative decisionmaking.” (quoting Hudick v. Wilkie, 755 F. App’x 998, 1006-07 (Fed. Cir. 2018)));

Single Judge Application; In Rizzo v. Shinseki, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit previously held that VA need not affirmatively establish an examiner’s competency. 580 F.3d 1288, 1291 (Fed. Cir. 2009), overruled by Francway v. Wilkie, 940 F.3d 1304, 1308 (Fed. Cir. 2019) (finding that the presumption of competency requires nothing more than is required for veterans in other contexts—i.e., simply that the veteran raise the issue—and that, once the veteran raises such a challenge, the presumption has no further effect and VA must satisfy its burden of persuasion as to the examiner’s qualifications). But, to the extent that Francway did not overrule the holding in Rizzo, the issue here is not the examiner’s competency; In addition, in Sickels v. Shinseki, the Federal Circuit found unpersuasive the veteran’s argument—that he should not be required to assert that the examiner was insufficiently informed—because, like in Rizzo, he had not raised that concern before the Board. 643 F.3d 1362, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (finding that an examiner’s competency and whether the examiner was sufficiently informed were similar in that a veteran must challenge both and, because Mr. Sickels had not done so, the Board was not required to address the issue of whether the examiner understood the adjudicator’s instructions);

Single Judge Application; In Rizzo v. Shinseki, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit previously held that VA need not affirmatively establish an examiner’s competency. 580 F.3d ...