Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability
When it comes to a Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU) case. A Vocational Expert is not the only expert who is asked to offer an opinion on a veteran’s disabling condition and his or her ability to work. Medical professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses, or psychiatrists) are asked to provide information regarding medical conditions. This is due to the fact that judges greatly rely on medical examination reports to make their ruling.
Various medical reports are used to establish which impairments can be found to be service-connected conditions as well as to what degree. These include Independent Medical Exams, medical records, and Compensation and Pension (C&P Exams).
Department of Veteran’s Affairs
According to a report by Gugliuzza, P.R. (2011), there needs to be a statement made by a physician indicating that the veteran’s disability is expressly connected to his or her military service, whether the individual is from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) or a personal doctor.
However, there are situations that make the medical expert’s opinion less credible, such as a medical doctor not reviewing the VA medical file. Additionally, while the evidence from a private doctor would still be considered as evidence when establishing a service-connected disability, it could at times not be held with enough weight to prove the service-connection. Or, the additional evidence provided by private doctors may be considered as not establishing a timely connection to a disability that occurred during service.
VA and the C&P Examinations
Another issue that may arise is that there are differing opinions, particularly between private physicians who are not a part of the VA and the C&P Examinations from the VA doctors. These inconsistencies mean that figuring out the service-connected limitations may not be completely clear-cut. For Vocational Experts during their review of medical records, it can cause additional difficulties.
For example, the C&P Exam may not show evidence that a medical condition is found, such as peripheral neuropathy, or could attribute the medically disabling condition to a condition that is not found to be service-connected. However, there could be multiple medical reports from private physicians