Invalid DTA error in HLR ?


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A higher-level review of your claim was conducted on ..., the issue of degenerative disc disease, lumbar spine (claimed as back), was returned for a duty to assist error. The decision review officer (DRO), returned your claim for the additional medical examination and opinion to answer the question of wither [whether?] the Veteran's claimed condition which existed prior to service was aggravated beyond its natural progression by the claimed condition ...

Problem is that the "Veteran's claimed condition" did not exist prior to service so the DRO's reason for the DTA error is wrong.

Is this a CUE?


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This is a CUE yes when the exam is conducted I would just focus on that you had ZERO pain or limitations when you first entered service unless evidence exist that says otherwise. Aggravation requires a subtraction from what your rating would be when you joined. Lets say they grant your back 40% the examiner opined it was 10% when you entered service the rater would then calculate your back rating to be 30% (40-10=30). If it is zero when you entered your claim gets granted and you lose nothing.
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