Massie v. Shinseki, No. 12-7087 (Fed. Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Massie served on active duty in the Army, 1968-1970 and was awarded VA benefits for varicose veins and related surgery, initially at 10% and increased to 50%, disability effective in 1990. In, 2001, Massie sought an increased disability rating. He submitted a letter from a VA physician who had treated Massie for “multiple medical problems” including “chronic venous insufficiency” that had “persisted in spite of prior surgical treatment with vein stripping” and that left Massie with significant pain when he was on his feet for any period of time. The regional office increased Massie’s rating to 100%, as of the 2001 date of his filing. The Veterans Court determined that the physician’s letter, dated 1999, did not qualify as an informal claim that would entitle Massie to an earlier effective date for the 100% rating. The Federal Circuit affirmed that the letter was not a “report of examination” because it did not describe the results of a “specific, particular examination” and did not suggest that Massie’s condition had worsened.