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Attempted Suicide



in regards to the act or attempt of suicide in service, what constitutes verifiable mental unsoundness?

what proof is required, and what is the dividing line between unstability, vice willful-misconduct?

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I had to use these regulations when a Vietnam veteran friend of mine committed suicide and his wife wanted to file for DIC.

38 CFR 3.302

NVLSP advises that in cases like this for any claims purposes (I would think DIC claims only)

the VA makes a determination either of willful misconduct or of "unsoundness of mind".

This is based on medical and lay testimony.

Willful misconduct is not a DIC claim basis.

Unsoundness of mind is.

The regs state that if the vet had a "reasonable adequate motive" for the suicide this is 'willful misconduct' but if they were incapable of forming "intent" ,this is "unsoundness of mind."

Elkins V Brown is one CAVC case that goes into further detail.

Any established mental disability also involves the VA's determinations on claims like this.

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thank you, ms berta

was iiagnosed after the attempt, with adult situational reactional and honorably discharged from the usaf. Given an re-4 code and enlisted in the navy 4 months later, with the help of a waiver.

completed 18 years of honorable service before admin seperated for high year tenure. recieved a near fatal electrocution and concussion from an unknown attacker while active duty. Presently diagnosed with ptsd, severe-chronic. major depressive disorder, severe-reccurrent, and generalized anxiety disorder, gaf=39. am waiting on appeal for a dro review for last 18 months.

texas veterans commission are assigned as vso, states i have a real good case, recieved diagnoses from va and nexus from va shrink. stressors are incorporated in medical records, and am forcing va to use its own m21-1mr doctrines as proof of stressors. presently waiting as instructed by vso for dro review.... Again thank you for your reply, mark

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I can't see suicide as willful misconduct. I know there may be some guy out there who kills himself for insurance money to go to his wife and kids, but that does not sound like the act of a person of sound mind. I see suicide as a rational reaction of intractable pain, but is it misconduct??? The VA just does all it can not to pay.

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Texas Veterans Service at Waco are pretty good at their job just rarely push claims. My advice is to stay on top of your claim.

Good Luck

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[Code of Federal Regulations][Title 38, Volume 1][Revised as of July 1, 2008]From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access[CITE: 38CFR3.302][Page 227-228] TITLE 38--PENSIONS, BONUSES, AND VETERANS' RELIEF CHAPTER I--DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS PART 3_ADJUDICATION--Table of Contents Subpart A_Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation Sec. 3.302 Service connection for mental unsoundness in suicide. (a) General. (1) In order for suicide to constitute willful misconduct, the act of self-destruction must be intentional.[[Page 228]] (2) A person of unsound mind is incapable of forming an intent (mens rea, or guilty mind, which is an essential element of crime or willful misconduct). (3) It is a constant requirement for favorable action that the precipitating mental unsoundness be service connected. (:D Evidence of mental condition. (1) Whether a person, at the time of suicide, was so unsound mentally that he or she did not realize the consequence of such an act, or was unable to resist such impulse is a question to be determined in each individual case, based on all available lay and medical evidence pertaining to his or her mental condition at the time of suicide. (2) The act of suicide or a bona fide attempt is considered to be evidence of mental unsoundness. Therefore, where no reasonable adequate motive for suicide is shown by the evidence, the act will be considered to have resulted from mental unsoundness. (3) A reasonable adequate motive for suicide may be established by affirmative evidence showing circumstances which could lead a rational person to self-destruction. © Evaluation of evidence. (1) Affirmative evidence is necessary to justify reversal of service department findings of mental unsoundness where Department of Veterans Affairs criteria do not otherwise warrant contrary findings. (2) In all instances any reasonable doubt should be resolved favorably to support a finding of service connection (see Sec. 3.102). Cross Reference: Cause of death. See Sec. 3.312.[28 FR 183, Jan. 8, 1963, as amended at 54 FR 31951, Aug. 3, 1989; 55 FR 13530, Apr. 11, 1990] Ratings and Evaluations; Service Connection

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