You’re not my Buddy and you sure ain’t my Friend
You’ve been denying me since I don’t know when
Now whenever I file
I say please and smile
‘Cause I’m gettin’ pretty near the end
FINDINGS OF FACT
1. A November 1994 rating decision denied service connection for hepatitis, and in December 1994, the Veteran submitted a notice of disagreement.
2. In January 1995, the Veteran was issued a statement of the case; however, he did not submit a substantive appeal within one year of the November 1994 rating decision, and the RO closed the appeal.
3. No new and material evidence was received within one year of the November 1994 rating decision.
4. The Veteran’s application to reopen his claim for service connection for hepatitis was received on February 23, 2007.
5. A March 1992 Board decision granted service connection for tinnitus; this was implemented in a July 1992 rating decision wherein a noncompensable disability rating was assigned effective July 12, 1989;
6. There was no notice of disagreement or new and material evidence within one year of the July 1992 RO decision. 7. On March 31, 1994, the RO received the Veteran’s claim for an increased disability rating for the service-connected tinnitus.
7. A November 1994 rating decision denied an increased disability rating for the service-connected tinnitus, and in December 1994, the Veteran submitted a notice of disagreement.
8. In January 1995, the Veteran was issued a statement of the case, and in February 1995, he was afforded a VA audio-ear disorders examination, the report of which was associated with the Veteran’s claims file within one year of the issuance of the statement of the case; a supplemental statement of the case was never issued to the Veteran, therefore, the November 1994 rating decision did not become final.
9. On February 23, 2007, the RO received the Veteran’s claim for an increased disability rating for tinnitus.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The criteria for an effective date prior to February 23, 2007, for service connection for hepatitis C have not been met. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 5103, 5107, 5110 (West 2002 & Supp. 2011); 38 C.F.R. § 3.400 (2011).
2. The criteria for an effective date prior to March 31, 1994, for the assignment of a 10 percent disability rating for service-connected tinnitus have not been met. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 5103, 5107, 5110; 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.157(b); 3.400.
September 4, 2015
The Veteran had active military service from October 1969 to February 1973. He is in receipt of a 100 percent schedular evaluation, effective March 31, 1994. This matter comes before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (Board) on appeal from a September 2013 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Seattle, Washington.
The Veteran testified before the undersigned at an April 2015 Travel Board hearing. The undersigned noted the issue on appeal and engaged in a colloquy with the Veteran toward substantiation of his claim. See Bryant v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 488, 496-97 (2010). A transcript of the hearing is included in the claims file.
This appeal was processed using the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS) paperless claims processing system. Any future consideration of the appeal should take into consideration the existence of the electronic record.
FINDING OF FACT
The Veteran’s PCT is manifest by skin problems covering more than 20 percent of his skin surface and requiring treatment through phlebotomies approximately nine months a year, which result in two weeks of dizziness and decreased mental acuity after each procedure, and total impairment during the remaining months when phlebotomies are not performed.
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The criteria are met for a 30 percent rating for PCT scarring and skin manifestations. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1155, 5107 (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 4.3, 4.118, Diagnostic Codes (DCs) 7354, 7815 (2015).
2. The criteria are also met for a separate 100 percent rating for PCT and its residuals related to treatment through phlebotomies, rated analogously to dialysis. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1155, 5107 (West 2014); 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 4.3, 4.115a, 4.117, DCs 7354, 7700 (2015).