Applying for VA disability benefits involves a fair amount of paperwork and a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam. This exam usually takes place at a VA clinic or hospital where a doctor evaluates your disabilities. The results of the exam are important to your disability claim because if the doctor doesn’t share your opinion of your disability, he has the power to reduce your disability rating or even recommend the denial of your claim.
Your C&P Exam: How to Ensure a Fair Assessment
During your C&P exam, it’s important to be honest about how your injuries affect your life. While you should avoid the urge to exaggerate your symptoms, you don’t want to discount or undervalue them. Being open and straightforward is the best approach when discussing your disabilities with the doctor. You can also protect the integrity of your claim by:
- Asking if the doctor has read your file. The doctor is required to review your VA claim file before he performs the exam. When your doctor arrives, ask if he has reviewed your claim. If not, you should wait to undergo the exam until after the doctor reviews your case history and states that he’s read the medical evidence contained in your file.
- Discussing the events during your service. It is important that the doctor have a clear understanding of your military history, the tasks you performed, and the areas where you were stationed to get a clear picture of your injury. In many cases, injuries and treatments are not properly recorded during deployment, so a vital service-connected symptom may be missing from your records. It is up to you to mention any service events that may not be documented, and it is the doctor’s responsibility to acknowledge them in his report.
- Following up with a recommended specialist. If the medical examiner recommends that you be seen by a specialist for further evaluation of your condition, you should do so. The VA should follow up with you to provide this evaluation if the request came from a VA doctor. If you do not attend the specialist appointment, the VA may not have enough evidence to make a ruling in your case.
- Getting your own copies. You are entitled to a free copy of the C&P exam results under the Privacy Act, so you should always request the results from the VA a few days after the exam is performed. If your claim is denied, you will need to go over the results to understand why the determination was made, if there were any factual errors that led to denial, or if the doctor failed to correctly summarize your claim.
Read Our Free Legal Guide to Learn More About Filing Your Claim
At Cuddigan Law, we know how important it is for veterans to get the benefits they deserve. That is why we provide as much information as we can to veterans who need help appealing their claims. Download our free book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, or call us today at 402-933-5405 to ask us a question about your disability case.