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UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
WILLIAM E. RICHARDS III, APPELLANT,
ROBERT L. WILKIE,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
Before PIETSCH, Judge.
Note: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a), this action may not be cited as precedent.
PIETSCH, Judge: The appellant, William E. Richards III, appeals through counsel an
October 9, 2018, Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) decision in which the Board denied him entitlement to a disability rating greater than 50% for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Record (R.) at 4-10. This appeal is timely and the Court has jurisdiction over the matter on appeal pursuant to 38 U.S.C. §§ 7252(a) and 7266. Single-judge disposition is appropriate when the issues are of “relative simplicity” and “the outcome is not reasonably debatable.” Frankel v. Derwinski, 1 Vet.App. 23, 25-26 (1990). For the reasons that follow, the Court will vacate the Board’s decision and remand the matter on appeal for further proceedings consistent with this decision.
The appellant served on active duty in the U.S. Army from April 1968 until January 1971.
R. at 654. In February 2011, a VA medical examiner diagnosed him with “mild level” PTSD. R.
at 386. The examiner noted that his disorder produced both occupational and social deficiencies.
In July 2011, the VA regional office (RO) granted the appellant entitlement to disability
benefits for PTSD and assigned his disorder a 50% disability rating effective August 11, 2010. R.
at 346-57. In October 2015, he requested a higher disability rating. R. at 290. In December 2015,
the RO declined that request. R. at
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Single Judge Application; Mental Disorder Adjudication; Board did not follow the proper procedure for assigning a disability rating to a mental health disorder. This Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit have explained that the Board should begin by stating whether the appellant has experienced one or more of the symptoms that are found in the list of symptoms affixed to the diagnostic criteria for the disability rating that he seeks or other symptoms of similar severity and frequency. Vazquez-Claudio v. Shinseki, 713 F.3d 112, 117 (Fed. Cir. 2013); Mauerhan v. Principi, 16 Vet.App. 436, 442 (2002); 38 C.F.R. § 4.130 (2019). If the Board identifies one or more qualifying symptoms, it then should determine whether the symptom or symptoms produce occupational and social impairment of the kind described by the rating criteria. Vazquez-Claudio, 713 F.3d at 118. If so, then he is entitled to the rating he seeks. Id.;
Designated for electronic publication onlyUNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMSNo. 18-7157WILLIAM E. RICHARDS III, APPELLANT,V.ROBERT L. WILKIE,SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.Before PIETSCH, Judge.MEMORANDUM DECISIONNote: Pursuant to U.S. Vet. App. R. 30(a), this action may not be cited as precedent.PIETSCH, Judge: The appellant, William E.