AR20150009937

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 30 August 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009937

BOARD VOTE:

_________ _______ ________ GRANT FULL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

___x____ ___x____ ___x ____ DENY APPLICATION

2Enclosures
1. Board Determination/Recommendation
2. Evidence and Consideration

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 30 August 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009937

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:

The evidence presented does not demonstrate the existence of a probable error or injustice. Therefore, the Board determined the overall merits of this case are insufficient as a basis for correction of the records of the individual concerned.

_____________x____________
CHAIRPERSON

I certify that herein is recorded the true and complete record of the proceedings of the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in this case.

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 30 August 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20150009937

THE BOARD CONSIDERED THE FOLLOWING EVIDENCE:

1. Application for correction of military records (with supporting documents provided, if any).

2. Military Personnel Records and advisory opinions (if any).

THE APPLICANT’S REQUEST, STATEMENT, AND EVIDENCE:

1. The applicant requests award of Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

2. The applicant states on his application and by subsequent letters submitted to the Board:

a. his request for CRSC was disapproved three times;

b. in response to his letter forwarded to the Army Review Boards Agency (ARBA), he was told to submit an application to this Board once he exhausted all administrative remedies available to him;

c. the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) diagnosed his PTSD based of his combat service;

d. he lives on pay-day loans because his VA pay does not cover all his bills and he does not get his military retired pay because he gets VA pay;

e. he cannot pay his Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) premiums because he does not get his military retired pay. If he gets CRSC pay, he can pay his SBP premiums; and

f. he sent copies of his service and VA medical records to show his PTSD is related to his service because he did not have it before he entered service.
3. The applicant provides:

* copies of three letters from the U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC), CRSC Branch
* VA Rating Decision dated15 December 2014
* DD Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) ending on 9 December 2002
* DD Form 215 ) Correction to DD Form 214)
* CRSC Form 12e (CRSC Reconsideration Request Form)
* four self-authored statements
* two ARBA letters or memorandums
* Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) Proceedings
* two Core First Bank and Trust Stop Payment Request
* DD Form 2891 (Authorization for Retired Servicemans Family Protection Plan (RSFPP))
* Survivor Benefit Plan/RSFPP Premium Bill (May and June)
* DA Form 2-1 (Personnel Qualification Record)
* 172 pages of in-service medical records
* 572 pages of post-service medical documents (Progress Notes)

CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE:

1. The applicant enlisted in the Regular Army on 1 November 1988. He was awarded military occupational specialties 54B (Chemical Operations Specialist) and 92G (Food Service Specialist). He served in Hungry from 5March 1997 to 24April 1997 and in Southwest Asia from 10December 1990 through 6May 1991.

2. A medical evaluation board (MEB) narrative summary (NARSUM) documents the applicants medical examination on 3April 2002, for his chief complaints of right elbow pain and left ankle pain. He had baseline numbness in his ulnar two digits and marred pain in his elbow. A right ulnar nerve decompression, performed in November 2000, provided some improvement in his ring finger and intermittent numbness in his small finger. The applicant sustained an Achilles tendon rupture, treated by a cast in 1997. He had constant pain at the insertion point of his Achilles tendon into his left calcaneus. The MEB diagnosis shows ,right elbow pain, status post ulnar nerve compression, disqualifying, and ,chronic left ankle pain, status post Achilles tendon rupture, disqualifying, with a ,poor, prognosis for continued military service. The applicant received a physical profile of ,3, for his upper and lower extremities. The examining medical doctor stated it was his opinion the applicant did not meet the medical standards of Army Regulation 40-501 (Medical Fitness Standards).
3. A NARSUM addendum, dated 14 May 2002, shows the applicant self-referred himself to psychiatry in November 2001. His chief complaint was the belief that people in his current unit were setting him up for failure and that certain individuals were out to ruin his career. He reported several psychosocial stressors: his recent divorce from his wife of 11 years (their separation was several years) and difficulties in the units he had been assigned to at Fort Campbell. He filed several congressional complaints and a complaint alleging unfair treatment based on race. He also filed an Inspector General (IG) complaint and additional congressional complaints after his reassignment and subsequent arrival in Germany. He consistently read hidden motives in the behavior of others and questioned their basis for assigning or not assigning him to tasks. His was diagnosed on Axis I with delusional disorder (Code 297.1, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), persecutory type, manifested by persistent belief that he is the object of unfavorable attention from his supervisors on the basis of previous negative reports. There is no tendency towards violence or harm towards others. It was noted he suffered from stress due to routine military duties and had definite social and industrial adaptability impairment.

4. On 17 June 2002, an MEB convened and after consideration of all clinical records, laboratory findings, and physical examinations, the MEB found the applicant was diagnosed as having the medically unacceptable conditions of delusional disorder, persecutory type; right elbow pain, post ulnar nerve decompression; and chronic left ankle pain, status post Achilles tendon rupture. The MEB recommended his referral to a physical evaluation board (PEB). The applicant received counseling and agreed with the MEB’s findings and recommendation and indicated he did not desire to continue on active duty.

5. On 16 July 2002, a PEB found the applicant’s medical conditions, as documented on his MEB, rendered him physically unfit for further service and recommended his separation with severance pay. The recommended disability percentage for each disability was zero percent. On 4 September 2002, the applicant concurred with the PEB’s findings and recommendation and waived his right to a formal hearing. On 4 September 2002, a Secretarial Authority approved the PEB proceedings.

6. On 9 December 2002, the applicant was honorably discharged under the provisions of paragraph 4-24b(3), Army Regulation 635-40 (Physical Evaluation for Retention, Retirement, or Separation), due to disability with severance pay. The DDForm214 he was issued shows he completed 14years, 1month, and 9days of active service.
7. In a CRSC decision letter, dated 6 March 2007, HRC denied the applicant CRSC. The letter states records obtained from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service currently shows he did not meet the preliminary eligibility requirements for CRSC for which there were no exceptions. The preliminary eligibility requirements are:

* completed 20 years Active Duty service or 20 years of creditable Reserve Service for non-regular retirement
* receiving military retired pay (not waived for civil service retirement)
* receiving VA payments
* have a 10 percent or more VA disability rating

8. On 3 June 2012, the applicant appealed his disability rating to the Physical Disability Review Board (PDBR). On 30 November 2012, the PDRB recommended recharacterization of the applicants discharge to show permanent disability retirement based on the following conditions in accordance with the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD):

UNFITTING CONDITION
VASRD CODES
VASRD
Delusional Disorder
9208
50%
Right Elbow Pain
5099-5003
10%
Chronic Left Ankle Pain
5099-5003
10%

COMBINED
60%
9. On 11 January 2013, the Deputy Assistant Secretary, ARBA accepted the PDBRs findings and recommendation. On 25 April 2013, a DD Form 215 was issued to show the applicant was retired from active duty with permanent disability under the provisions of paragraph 4-24B(1), Army Regulation 635-40.

10. In a CRSC decision letter, dated 19 July 2013, HRC denied the applicant CRSC. This was his second denial. The letter states HRC was unable to verify the applicants disabilities were combat-related. It also informed the applicant that his documentation did not provide a linkage between his conditions and a specific combat-related event.

VASRD
DESCRIPTION
PERCENT
JUSTIFICATION/COMMENTS
8516
Right Ulnar Neuropathy, Status Post Right Ulnar Nerve Transposition with Residuals (8599-8516)
10%
No evidence in claim to show that a combat-related event caused condition. Your documentation states right elbow pain without any history of trauma/injury.
5284
Achilles Tendonitis, Left, Chronic, Status Post Partial Rupture of the Left Achilles Tendon (5299-5284)
10%
No new evidence in claim to show that a combat related event caused condition.
9203
Delusional Disorder
70%
No new evidence showing a combat related event caused condition.
11. In a CRSC third decision letter, dated 3 September 2013, HRC again denied the applicant CRSC. The letter states HRC was unable to verify the applicants disabilities were combat-related. It also informed the applicant that his documentation did not provide a linkage between his conditions and a specific combat-related event.

VASRD
DESCRIPTION
PERCENT
JUSTIFICATION/COMMENTS
8516
Right Ulnar Neuropathy, Status Post Right Ulnar Nerve Transposition with Residuals (8599-8516)
10%
Previously requested: No evidence in claim to show that a combat-related event caused condition. Your documentation states right elbow pain without any history of trauma/injury.
5284
Achilles Tendonitis, Left, Chronic, Status Post Partial Rupture of the Left Achilles Tendon (5299-5284)
10%
Previously requested: No new evidence in claim to show that a combat related event caused condition. Your documentation states you were running in physical training (PT) formation over large rocks and was injured. Under DOD Guidance, PT injuries do not qualify as combat-related.
9203
Delusional Disorder
70%
Previously requested: No new evidence showing a combat related event caused condition. Your documentation states this condition began in 2000 and was manifested by paranoid thoughts that people were out to ruin his career. This is not considered combat related.
12. On 15 December 2014, the VA awarded the applicant service-connection for PTSD, included with his evaluation of delusional disorder effective 15 April 2014. The VA increased the applicants current disability rating from 70percent to 100percent effective 15 April 2014. The applicant filed a claim for PTSD as related to events during his confirmed Gulf War service in 1990 and 1991. He reported incidents in service, such as being in a long convoy headed toward enemy action, exposure to scud attacks, seeing dead bodies, and fear of hostile government or terrorist activities. The examiner diagnosed PTSD and linked it to these events.

13. In a CRSC decision letter, dated 20 May 2015, HRC denied the applicant CRSC. The letter states HRC was unable to verify the applicants disabilities were combat-related. It also informed the applicant that his documentation did not provide a linkage between his medical conditions and a specific combat-related event.

VASRD
DESCRIPTION
PERCENT
JUSTIFICATION/COMMENTS
9208
Delusional Disorder with PTSD
100%
FINAL DISAPPROVAL: no new evidence provided to show combat-related event caused condition.
8516
Right Ulnar Neuropathy, Status Post Right Ulnar Nerve Transposition with Residuals (8599-8516)
10%
FINAL DISAPPROVAL: no new evidence provided to show combat related event caused condition.
5284
Achilles Tendonitis, Left, Chronic, Status Post Partial Rupture of the Left Achilles Tendon (5299-5284)
10%
FINAL DISAPPROVAL: no new evidence provided to show combat related event caused condition.
14. There is no evidence in the available record showing the medical conditions discussed above were sustained as a direct result of armed conflict, especially hazardous duty, training exercises that simulate war, or caused by an instrumentality of war.

REFERENCES:

1. CRSC, as established by Title10, U.S.Code, section1413a, as amended, provides for the payment of the amount of money a military retiree would receive from the VA for combat-related disabilities if it weren’t for the statutory prohibition for a military retiree to receive a VA disability pension.

a. Payment is made by the Military Department, not the VA, and is tax free.

b. Eligible members are those retirees who are entitled to retired pay (other than by reason of section 12731b of this title) and have a combat-related disability that is the direct result of armed conflict, especially hazardous military duty, training exercises that simulate war, or caused by an instrumentality of war.

c. Qualified disabilities must be compensated by the VA and rated at least 10-percent disabling.

d. Military retirees who are approved for CRSC must have waived a portion of their military retired pay because CRSC requires the Military Department to return to the military retiree a portion of the waived retired pay.

2. The Under Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy has provided policy guidance on the processing of CRSC appeals. That guidance states in order for a condition to be considered as combat-related, it must have a direct, causal relationship to war or the simulation of war. The fact a Soldier is in a combat zone is insufficient evidence to award CRSC.

DISCUSSION:

1. There is no evidence of record and the applicant provided none showing he met all of the requirements for CRSC as provided for by law. As stated above, the CRSC criteria states for military retirees who have combat-related disabilities, the military retiree must show that the disability incurred while engaged in combat, while performing duties simulating combat conditions, or while performing especially hazardous duties.

2. CRSC determinations require evidence of a direct causal relationship to the military retiree’s VA-rated disabilities to war or the simulation of war. Without evidence to establish a direct, casual relationship of his requested conditions to war or the simulation of war, not just by being deployed into a hazardous are during a period of war, there is insufficient evidence to support the reversal of HRC decisions to deny him CRSC benefits.

3. The VA awarded the applicant service connection for PTSD from his evaluation of delusional disorder based on self-reported incidents that occurred during his military service. He provides no documentary evidence to support a specific incident of trauma showing his PTSD was caused by an instrumentality of war or a simulation of war.

//NOTHING FOLLOWS//
ABCMR Record of Proceedings AR20150000953

Enclosure 1

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20150009937

2

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Enclosure 1

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20150009937

7

ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Enclosure 2