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.

 

Recent Cases

This case involves involves an Air Force veteran (2000, 2003 – 2004) and his appeal to the BVA seeking a rating above 50% for his service-connected PTSD due to suicidal ideation and total occupational and social impairment. The appeal was resol… Read More
This case involves a the resolution of a veteran’s appeal to the BVA by way of a joint motion to remand. The veteran had been claiming service connection for a psychiatric condition and total disability based on individual unemployability (TDIU).… Read More
This case involves a US Navy veteran’s (1966 to 1981)  appeal to the BVA seeking  seeking service connection for his Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 Diabetes based on exposure to Agent Orange during his service in the Philippines and Gua… Read More

See More Appellate Results

Taking Point! Blog

Feb
12
In November 2020, a panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals Veterans Claims issued a precedential opinion in Holmes v. Wilkie.   In it, the Court laid out a road map for Veterans trying to get the correct VA rating for migraines… Read More
Jan
25
By: Yalitza Ledgister, writing for “The Bridge” Single mothers! The poem “The Hill We Climb” recited by Amanda Gorman during the Inauguration on January 20th, 2021 was also written for you. It was created and articulated by a br… Read More
Jan
19
As we approach Black History Month and Women’s History Month, I am presented with an opportunity to write about a Black woman.  So, I chose me!  I am an Afro-Latina who also identifies as Black. On my census bureau application last y… Read More
Dec
2
Dear Veteran, We the People, the 79.8 million of us, voted that temporary economic stability should not come at the expense of Black, Hispanic, frontline workers, the immuno-compromised, and elderly lives. We demanded that the unity of our country m… Read More

Read the "Taking Point!" Blog