VARR example that worked

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Here is some of the text from my VARR. I included only the mental health portion as it applies widely to a variety of people here on this forum. I left out the Myasthenia Gravis part as there are only like 3 of us on this board. hope this helps someone. I was able to go from 50% to 70% for MH with this VARR, so it is a good example of one that worked.


MEMORANDUM THRU President, U.S. Army Physical Evaluation Board...........

FOR U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.......


SUBJECT: Request for Reconsideration of VA Rating Decision in the Matter of CPT

___________ (xxxx)

1. Requested Relief: CPT ___ respectfully requests a reconsideration of his


Disability Evaluation System Proposed Rating (Proposed Rating). Specifically, CPT

____ requests (1) an increase to a 70 percent rating for his Generalized Anxiety

and Depressive Disorder rated under VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD)

Diagnostic Code (DC) 9434.

2. Generalized Anxiety and Depressive Disorder:

a. Rule (DC 9434): According to the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders,


a 70 percent rating is warranted when occupational and social impairment, with

deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or

mood due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere

with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near continuous

panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently,

appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability

with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and

hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work like

setting) inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

b. Evidence:

(1) On 4 February 2015, _____________ conducted a Mental

Health Evaluation and completed the Mental Disorder (Other than PTSD and Eating

Disorders) DBQ on CPT ___________. See Exhibit 1. On September 2015, _______ also completed a DBQ

for CPT _________. See Exhibit 2. Both mental health providers from ___________ Psychiatric noted a GAF

score of 50 with

occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work,

school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood. Significantly, his symptoms

include suicidal ideation. Some of the other symptoms noted on the DBQ and letter


include: Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function

independently, appropriately and effectively, Difficulty in adapting to stressful

circumstances (including work or a work-like setting) and Inability to establish and

maintain effective relationships. Furthermore, CPT _____ most recent PHA mental

health screening (AUG2015) states that he has extremely high anxiety levels and

suicidal ideations currently. See Exhibit 3.

(2) CPT ________ has been receiving treatment from Dr _______ since

July 2014. CPT _________ is on a very restrictive profile for his Anxiety and Depressive

Disorder. See Exhibit 4. In the current Commander’s functional Statement 7652, LTC ________

notes CPT ______ anxiety and depression cause him to have an inability to

establish and maintain effective work relationships with other staff and

perform duties due to depression and anxiety. His commander's functional statement also states

that he “displays difficulty working under pressure and completing tasks in a timely

manner, his anxiety has a negative impact on the workplace further reducing his

effectiveness as the leader of a team”. When his anxiety levels are high, he locks

himself in his office and does not interact with anyone. See Exhibit 5. His wife and

several co-workers attest to the severity of his anxiety and depression. See Exhibit 7

(______ Statement), Exhibit 9 (___________ Statement), Exhibit 11

(______ Statement) and Exhibit 10 (spouse). Please see also the

statement provided by ___________ as Exhibit 9.

(3) Dr. _________ noted CPT _____ exhibits deficiencies in the areas of

work, family relations, thinking, and mood and is expressed by a near continuous

depressive state that prevents the patient from functioning appropriately and effectively

in those areas. See Exhibit 1. Dr __________ states in her recent memorandum

that he has difficulty adapting to stressful work settings, locking himself in his office and

leaving early daily to avoid others due to a feeling of continuous panic that was not

resolved with medication. She also describes his inability to maintain relationships citing

his termination of the relationship with both his mother and a best friend.

His wife also states that he emotionally shuts out her and their two children. See Exhibit

9. See also CPT _____ statement Exhibit 10.

(4) CPT _______ has expressed suicidal ideations and/or intent on at least 6

different occasions to six different mental health professionals and his spouse. Please

see PA _____, 2015 PHA, deployment mental health assessment portion

(Exhibit 3); ________________ Psychiatric MH

provider AUG 2015 DBQ (Exhibit 2); __________________,

Psychiatric care MH provider for over a year, documented in FEB 2014 DBQ (Exhibit 1);

VA Psychologist ______, Jan 2015, VA CP MH DBQ (Exhibit 12); CP examiner_______

Brief Suicide risk assessment Jan 2015, CP exam (Exhibit 13), and; Jan 2015

MEB Narsum Psychiatric addendum, _______ LCSW and MAJ __________

Psychatrist (Exhibit 14). Finally, the Physical Evaluation Board determined found his

behavioral health disorder to be of such severity as to render unfit for continued military

service. See Exhibit 15.



c. Analysis: Based upon the medical records and statements by his medical


providers, Commander, peers, family and his own, CPT _____ exhibits occupational

and social impairments with deficiencies in most areas. Based upon his level of

impairment, CPT _____ respectfully asserts his Generalized Anxiety Disorder and

Depressive Disorder should be rated at a 70 percent rating.
 

melloten

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Thanks man. I used this to type up my VARR today. The MEB lawyer seemed to like it quite a bit.
 

melloten

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Quick question.

Did you see a second (or I guess third) claim open up in eBenefits for your VARR? In other words, is there anyway to track the progress of the VARR or do you just wait to hear from the PEBLO?
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Here is some of the text from my VARR. I included only the mental health portion as it applies widely to a variety of people here on this forum. I left out the Myasthenia Gravis part as there are only like 3 of us on this board. hope this helps someone. I was able to go from 50% to 70% for MH with this VARR, so it is a good example of one that worked.


MEMORANDUM THRU President, U.S. Army Physical Evaluation Board...........

FOR U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.......


SUBJECT: Request for Reconsideration of VA Rating Decision in the Matter of CPT

___________ (xxxx)

1. Requested Relief: CPT ___ respectfully requests a reconsideration of his


Disability Evaluation System Proposed Rating (Proposed Rating). Specifically, CPT

____ requests (1) an increase to a 70 percent rating for his Generalized Anxiety

and Depressive Disorder rated under VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD)

Diagnostic Code (DC) 9434.

2. Generalized Anxiety and Depressive Disorder:

a. Rule (DC 9434): According to the General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders,


a 70 percent rating is warranted when occupational and social impairment, with

deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or

mood due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere

with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near continuous

panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently,

appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability

with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and

hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a work like

setting) inability to establish and maintain effective relationships.

b. Evidence:

(1) On 4 February 2015, _____________ conducted a Mental

Health Evaluation and completed the Mental Disorder (Other than PTSD and Eating

Disorders) DBQ on CPT ___________. See Exhibit 1. On September 2015, _______ also completed a DBQ

for CPT _________. See Exhibit 2. Both mental health providers from ___________ Psychiatric noted a GAF

score of 50 with

occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work,

school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood. Significantly, his symptoms

include suicidal ideation. Some of the other symptoms noted on the DBQ and letter


include: Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function

independently, appropriately and effectively, Difficulty in adapting to stressful

circumstances (including work or a work-like setting) and Inability to establish and

maintain effective relationships. Furthermore, CPT _____ most recent PHA mental

health screening (AUG2015) states that he has extremely high anxiety levels and

suicidal ideations currently. See Exhibit 3.

(2) CPT ________ has been receiving treatment from Dr _______ since

July 2014. CPT _________ is on a very restrictive profile for his Anxiety and Depressive

Disorder. See Exhibit 4. In the current Commander’s functional Statement 7652, LTC ________

notes CPT ______ anxiety and depression cause him to have an inability to

establish and maintain effective work relationships with other staff and

perform duties due to depression and anxiety. His commander's functional statement also states

that he “displays difficulty working under pressure and completing tasks in a timely

manner, his anxiety has a negative impact on the workplace further reducing his

effectiveness as the leader of a team”. When his anxiety levels are high, he locks

himself in his office and does not interact with anyone. See Exhibit 5. His wife and

several co-workers attest to the severity of his anxiety and depression. See Exhibit 7

(______ Statement), Exhibit 9 (___________ Statement), Exhibit 11

(______ Statement) and Exhibit 10 (spouse). Please see also the

statement provided by ___________ as Exhibit 9.

(3) Dr. _________ noted CPT _____ exhibits deficiencies in the areas of

work, family relations, thinking, and mood and is expressed by a near continuous

depressive state that prevents the patient from functioning appropriately and effectively

in those areas. See Exhibit 1. Dr __________ states in her recent memorandum

that he has difficulty adapting to stressful work settings, locking himself in his office and

leaving early daily to avoid others due to a feeling of continuous panic that was not

resolved with medication. She also describes his inability to maintain relationships citing

his termination of the relationship with both his mother and a best friend.

His wife also states that he emotionally shuts out her and their two children. See Exhibit

9. See also CPT _____ statement Exhibit 10.

(4) CPT _______ has expressed suicidal ideations and/or intent on at least 6

different occasions to six different mental health professionals and his spouse. Please

see PA _____, 2015 PHA, deployment mental health assessment portion

(Exhibit 3); ________________ Psychiatric MH

provider AUG 2015 DBQ (Exhibit 2); __________________,

Psychiatric care MH provider for over a year, documented in FEB 2014 DBQ (Exhibit 1);

VA Psychologist ______, Jan 2015, VA CP MH DBQ (Exhibit 12); CP examiner_______

Brief Suicide risk assessment Jan 2015, CP exam (Exhibit 13), and; Jan 2015

MEB Narsum Psychiatric addendum, _______ LCSW and MAJ __________

Psychatrist (Exhibit 14). Finally, the Physical Evaluation Board determined found his

behavioral health disorder to be of such severity as to render unfit for continued military

service. See Exhibit 15.



c. Analysis: Based upon the medical records and statements by his medical


providers, Commander, peers, family and his own, CPT _____ exhibits occupational

and social impairments with deficiencies in most areas. Based upon his level of

impairment, CPT _____ respectfully asserts his Generalized Anxiety Disorder and

Depressive Disorder should be rated at a 70 percent rating.
Congratulations and thanks for sharing. (I am more circumscribed in being able to- or inclined to- share "examples" for various reasons, including issues with attorney-client privilege and the fact that I believe that VARRs- or any documents, really- must be tailored to the situation).

That said, as a baseline, if a filing/submission/appeal works, by definition it is successful. I thought the contents were quite good. You hit the important features, i.e., the standards that apply, the facts that show you meet the standards and the requested relief is appropriate. This tracks closely with what anyone would want to submit. Really, were I drafting this VARR, the main additional content I would include would be citations to case law or regulations that demonstrate why the standards must apply to the facts presented or citations to cases where the courts have ruled in favor of the claimant in similar circumstances. The other additional point I would have likely raised would have addressed procedural errors or reasons why the lower findings were patent error. (I am not a fan of just writing or submitting "more" in order to prove the point. In fact, sometimes "less is more." But, in my view, it is often best practice to consider what happens if you get an adverse finding and to position the case for success in later appeals. This can be done by including the citations to case law, pointing out that earlier evidence or arguments were not addressed or by raising arguments that were not addressed or discussed in the decision).

The main point is that this VARR is by definition "good" because it resulted in a favorable finding. I would say that in some cases, it is better to have that other piece included in the appeal- the citation to cases and law that indicates a favorable outcome should result. (Another side note- this "system" should be non-adversarial and the "benefit of the doubt" should favor the claimant. Often, this is not how things work out, at least initially. There are also some cases or issues that the military just seems to get wrong all the time and the "standards/facts/application of facts to the standards" approach does not work....but, even in these cases, by laying the groundwork early, the chances for success later go up a great deal).

Again, congratulations!
 

melloten

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Congratulations and thanks for sharing. (I am more circumscribed in being able to- or inclined to- share "examples" for various reasons, including issues with attorney-client privilege and the fact that I believe that VARRs- or any documents, really- must be tailored to the situation).

That said, as a baseline, if a filing/submission/appeal works, by definition it is successful. I thought the contents were quite good. You hit the important features, i.e., the standards that apply, the facts that show you meet the standards and the requested relief is appropriate. This tracks closely with what anyone would want to submit. Really, were I drafting this VARR, the main additional content I would include would be citations to case law or regulations that demonstrate why the standards must apply to the facts presented or citations to cases where the courts have ruled in favor of the claimant in similar circumstances. The other additional point I would have likely raised would have addressed procedural errors or reasons why the lower findings were patent error. (I am not a fan of just writing or submitting "more" in order to prove the point. In fact, sometimes "less is more." But, in my view, it is often best practice to consider what happens if you get an adverse finding and to position the case for success in later appeals. This can be done by including the citations to case law, pointing out that earlier evidence or arguments were not addressed or by raising arguments that were not addressed or discussed in the decision).

The main point is that this VARR is by definition "good" because it resulted in a favorable finding. I would say that in some cases, it is better to have that other piece included in the appeal- the citation to cases and law that indicates a favorable outcome should result. (Another side note- this "system" should be non-adversarial and the "benefit of the doubt" should favor the claimant. Often, this is not how things work out, at least initially. There are also some cases or issues that the military just seems to get wrong all the time and the "standards/facts/application of facts to the standards" approach does not work....but, even in these cases, by laying the groundwork early, the chances for success later go up a great deal).

Again, congratulations!
Thank you for your thoughts. It's always interesting to hear from those with experience.

As an interesting aside, I utilized both this as well as another example on this site to put together my VARR. When my MEB Lawyer reviewed it she was overall positive about the final product. Interestingly though, she suggested that I use no case citations and make no reference to 38CFR because, as she said, "the reviewers don't care about that, they only care about new medical evidence". I took her advice in general, however I did reference about 4 cases that applied to my reconsideration request. Hopefully I find out my results soon so I can post my experience.
 

SeniorMech

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Thank you for your thoughts. It's always interesting to hear from those with experience.

As an interesting aside, I utilized both this as well as another example on this site to put together my VARR. When my MEB Lawyer reviewed it she was overall positive about the final product. Interestingly though, she suggested that I use no case citations and make no reference to 38CFR because, as she said, "the reviewers don't care about that, they only care about new medical evidence". I took her advice in general, however I did reference about 4 cases that applied to my reconsideration request. Hopefully I find out my results soon so I can post my experience.
Sucks to see that your VARR didn't work. I will be submitting one soon. When the VA decides not to increase your ratings, do they explain why?
 
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