In re: Trotman
In fall 2011, Mr. Trotman retained the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. The clinic worked with Mr. Trotman to develop crucial evidence, including affidavits from friends, family, and Mr. Trotman himself, and an expert evaluation by a Yale Forensic Psychiatrist Fellow. The clinic also combed through Mr. Trotman’s extensive VA files, including medical history and his discharge papers, to identify consistent VA diagnoses of PTSD, as well as to document a symptomatic profile consistent with the description of the disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This evidence was then submitted with detailed briefing demonstrating that the VA had misapplied its own legal standards to Mr. Trotman. Correcting two decades of erroneous rulings, in July 2012, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA) recognized that Mr. Trotman’s PTSD is attributable to his military service and granted his application for disability benefits. Mr. Trotman then waited seven more months for the VA Regional Office to issue a disability ratings decision, after which he finally received a check for more than $78,000—back payment for the benefits he would have received during the years his application was pending.