Arline v. McDonough, No. 18-0765 (Argued June 19, 2020 Decided July 1, 2021); total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU); no clear meaning of the phrase “employment in a protected environment” in 38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a);

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR VETERANS CLAIMS
NO. 18-0765
CLIFTON ARLINE, APPELLANT,
V.
DENIS MCDONOUGH,
SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, APPELLEE.
On Appeal from the Board of Veterans’ Appeals
(Argued June 19, 2020 Decided July 1, 2021)
April Donahower, of Providence, Rhode Island, for the appellant.
Mark D. Vichich, Appellate Attorney, with whom Catherine C. Mitrano, Acting General
Counsel; Mary Ann Flynn, Chief Counsel; Sarah W. Fusina, Deputy Chief Counsel; and Jeremy
Y. Wong, Appellate Attorney, were on the brief, all of Washington, D.C., for the appellee.
Before BARTLEY, Chief Judge, and PIETSCH and FALVEY, Judges.
FALVEY, Judge, filed the opinion of the Court. BARTLEY, Chief Judge, filed an opinion
concurring in part and dissenting in part.

FALVEY, Judge: Air Force veteran Clifton Arline appeals through counsel a January 26,
2018, Board of Veterans’ Appeals decision denying a rating higher than 50% for service-connected
schizophrenia before December 7, 2011, and a total disability rating based on individual
unemployability (TDIU). The Court has jurisdiction over this timely appeal. See 38 U.S.C.
§§ 7252(a), 7266(a).
We referred this case to a panel of the Court, with oral argument, to address the meaning
of the phrase “employment in a protected environment” in 38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a).
Although we have
given the Secretary ample opportunity to define this phrase, see Cantrell v. Shulkin, 28 Vet.App.
382, 390 (2017), he has not done so and thus this issue continues to arise. Unfortunately, the panel
cannot reach this issue here because the Board did not clearly err in finding Mr. Arline’s
descriptions of his workplace accommodations not credible and that he was not unemployable.
After careful consideration of