Caring. Effective. Efficient.

Client Win: CAVC No. 19-5683, Calkins v. Wilkie (PTSD Rating for veteran's suicidal ideation)

Client Win: CAVC No. 19-5683, Calkins v. Wilkie (PTSD Rating for veteran's suicidal ideation)

This case involves a rating for service connected PTSD involving  veteran's suicidal ideation.

ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC: PTSD Rating for Veteran's Suicidal Ideation.

"Suicidal ideation" is a symptom prototypical of a 70-percent PTSD rating. The symptom of suicidal ideation alone, the CAVC wrote, may cause occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, and supports a 70-percent rating.

In Bankhead v. Shulkin, 29 Vet. App. 10, 20 (2017), the Veterans Court held that "both passive and active suicidal ideation are comprised of thoughts: passive suicidal ideation entails thoughts such as wishing that you were dead, while active suicidal ideation entails thoughts of self-directed violence and death."

In this case, the BVA tried to distinguish between "recurrent thoughts of death" and the veteran's suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation, the Board of Veterans Appeals said, "is a veteran's thoughts of his or her own death or thoughts of engaging in suicide related behavior." This veteran', the BVA said, only had thoughts of death which are different from suicidal ideation. 

Did the BVA err when it denied a PTSD rating greater than 50% in light of a veteran's suicidal ideation?

RESOLUTION AT THE CAVC.

Attorney Alexandra Curran persuaded the VA's Office of General Counsel to concede that the BVA erred in its decision. The parties negotiated a joint motion to remand that vacated the BVA decision and sent it back to assign a proper rating for PTSD that consider the actual law involving suicidal ideation in a VA service connection claim for a psychiatric condition.

If you have had suicidal ideation, and the VA or BVA is denying you a 70-percent rating for your service connected PTSD or service connected psychiatric condition, and would like help appealing to the BVA or CAVC, click here to have  Attig | Curran | Steel take a look at your case.

Case Details

OGC Attorney: Shekeba Morrad (link to attorney's bio on LinkedIn)

Veteran Representation at CAVC: Alexandra Curran (link to bio)

Board of Veterans Appeals Veterans Law JudgeJohn Z. Jones

Attorney for the BVA: Shamil Patel

Vets’ Rep at BVA: Carol J. Ponton, Attorney (Hill & Ponton)

Date of BVA Decision: May 2, 2019

Date of CAVC Joint Motion to Remand:   May 14, 2020

Link to BVA Decision

Link to Joint Motion to Remand.

 

Taking Point! Blog

Oct
26
If you are an agent, VSO, or attorney, you have a tough decision under AMA when the BVA issues a denial of your client’s benefits. On one hand, you can file a supplemental claim. On the other, you can file an appeal to the US Court of Ap… Read More
Jun
3
I really can’t take it anymore. I’m sure many like you feel the same way. Every time another child with a military weapon ambushes a school full of children, I am overwhelmed with emotions that have no outlet. I can’t even process… Read More
May
27
  While on our way to the nutcracker audition at the local theatre I asked my 9-year-old daughter how her day went at school. “It was okay.  We had another active shooter drill.  When the drill started, I had to run behind and under my teacher… Read More
May
23
After years of exploring different fields, I’ve found purpose-driven work here, at Attig | Curran | Steel.   There are a lot of variables in the experience of “happy.” It is difficult to keep it continuous.  Do I feel happy when my kids… Read More

Read the "Taking Point!" Blog

Recent Cases

This case involves the BVA judge’s inadequate reasoning of a denial of a veteran’s claim for an increased rating for PTSD.   The appeal was resolved through a joint motion to remand. ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC (BVA overlooked evidence… Read More
This case involves the BVA judge’s inadequate reasoning of his denial of a veteran’s past-due benefits in a claim for an increased rating due to an increase in the severity of the veteran’s PTSD. The appeal was resolved through a jo… Read More
This case involves the BVA’s failure to comply with a Veterans Court Order in a January 2020 Memorandum Decision. The appeal was resolved through a joint motion to remand. ISSUE ON APPEAL TO THE CAVC (BVA fails to comply with Veterans Court Ord… Read More

See More Appellate Results