AR20160002370

IN THE CASE OF:

BOARD DATE: 3 March 2016

DOCKET NUMBER: AR20160002370

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 a review of the military disability evaluation pertaining to a mental health (MH) condition.

2. The applicant states, in effect, the case file should be reviewed in accordance with the Secretary of Defense directive for a comprehensive review of members who were referred for a disability evaluation between 11 September 2001 and
30 April 2012 and whose mental health diagnosis was changed during that process.

3. The applicant submitted an application through the DOD Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) Mental Health Special Review Panel (SRP).

CONSIDERATION OF EVIDENCE:

1. The PDBR SRP conducted a comprehensive review of the applicants submissions and records for evidence of inappropriate changes in the diagnosis of a mental health condition during processing through the military disability system.

2. The Department of Defense memorandum, dated 27 February 2013, directed the Service Secretaries to conduct a review of mental health diagnoses for service members completing a disability evaluation process between 11September 2001 and 30 April 2012 in order to determine if service members were disadvantaged by a changed diagnosis over the course of their physical disability process.
3. In the processing of this case, an advisory opinion was obtained from the PDBR SRP and the applicant was provided a copy.

4. The applicant did not respond to the advisory opinion.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

1. After a comprehensive review of the applicants case, the SRP recommended by unanimous vote that the applicants prior determination be modified effective as the date of his prior medical separation.

2. The SRP reviewed the records for evidence of inappropriate changes in diagnosis ofthe MH condition during processing through the military disability evaluation system (DES). Diagnoses of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) (Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)) and PTSD (Medical Evaluation Board ((MEB) were rendered during the DES process. The diagnosis of MDD and GAD were not forwarded by the MEB, therefore this applicant appeared to meet the inclusion criteria in the Terms of Reference (TOR) of the MH Diagnosis Review Project.

3. The SRP first considered if application of the Department of Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) Section 4.129 with a 6-month
(50 percent minimum) period on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL) was indicated in this case (per Board directive from Department of Defense (DOD)). The SRP agreed that the provisions of VASRD Section 4.129 were applicable in this case due. Disability associated with any psychiatric condition, regardless of the diagnosis or multiple diagnoses, was subsumed under a single rating using the same criteria in accordance with (IAW) VASRD Section 4.130 general rating formula for MH conditions. The SRP considered if there was evidence for a VASRD Section 4.130 rating higher than the VASRD Section 4.129 minimum mandated 50percent at time of TDRL placement. The SRP agreed that VASRD Section 4.130 criteria for a rating higher than 50percent was not met near the time of separation, and therefore the minimum 50percent initial TDRL rating was applicable.

4. The SRP noted the most proximate source of comprehensive evidence on which to base the permanent rating recommendation in the applicants case was the Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination performed 8 months before separation. There was no relevant Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) outpatient or civilian provider evidence providing psychiatric details during the constructive TDRL period. The SRP considered if a rating higher than the 50percent adjudicated by the Physical Evaluation Board (PEB) was justified. The 50percent rating required reduced reliability and productivity and the 70percent rating required deficiencies in most areas. Despite some issues adapting to his father-in-laws habits, he had been living with him for 4 years. He was still married to his wife of 18 years. He continued to attend National Guard training.

5. The SRP agreed that most of his inability to work was related to physical limitations. There was no active suicidal or homicidal thoughts, no reports of domestic violence, no recent legal history and no alcohol abuse in over four years. His Mental Status Exam (MSE) recorded no impairment in judgment, noted no evidence of psychosis, and no issues in orientation or hygiene. The symptoms had stabilized with no hospitalizations and no recorded visits to the emergency room for MH issues. The SRP concluded that the record in evidence did not support a higher than 50percent rating at TDRL removal.

6. After due deliberation in consideration of the preponderance of the evidence, and mindful of VASRD Section 4.3 (reasonable doubt), the SRP recommended a retroactive 6-month constructive TDRL placement rating of 50percent and a permanent disability rating of 50percent for the PTSD condition.

7. The available evidence shows the SRPs assessment should be accepted.

BOARD VOTE:

____x___ ____x___ ____x___ GRANT FULL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT PARTIAL RELIEF

________ ________ ________ GRANT FORMAL HEARING

________ ________ ________ DENY APPLICATION

BOARD DETERMINATION/RECOMMENDATION:

The Board determined that the evidence presented was sufficient to warrant a recommendation for relief. As a result, the Board recommends that all Department of the Army records of the individual concerned be corrected by modifying the applicants prior determination as indicated below:

UNFITTING CONDITION
VASRD CODE
TDRL RATING
PERMANENT RATING
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
9411
50%
50%
Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine (low back)
5242
20%
20%
Degenerative Arthritis of the Spine (neck pain)
5242
10%
10%
Neuralgia of the Ulnar Nerve
8716
10%
10%

COMBINED
70%
70%

__________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.

ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20040003532

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ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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ABCMR Record of Proceedings (cont) AR20160002370

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ARMY BOARD FOR CORRECTION OF MILITARY RECORDS

RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

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