If you have service-connected shoulder injuries and are seeking disability benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it’s important to know that you will likely be scheduled for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. This exam will allow a VA physician to examine your shoulder and ask questions about your time in the military. The exam is a key element in the claims review process, and its importance shouldn’t be underestimated. A favorable exam outcome is critical in order to receive a rating that correctly represents the severity of your disability and for obtaining the disability rating you’re entitled to. If you need assistance, our Omaha VA disability lawyers are here and ready to help.
Understanding the C&P Exam for Shoulder Injuries
The C&P exam is used by the VA as part of its disability rating process. This exam determines if the veteran’s disability is service-connected and the severity of the condition. Musculoskeletal injuries, such as those to the shoulder and arm, are examples of disabilities that a veteran may have suffered during military service.
Typically, a Rating Veteran Service Representative (RVSR) orders the C&P exam. The RVSR reviews disability claims and makes a determination to award disability benefits or not. If the RVSR finds that there is missing information from your claim or additional medical data is needed, he will usually order the exam. Often, a C&P exam is ordered when you don’t provide enough substantial medical evidence to support your disability claim. This evidence can include lab reports, test results, or a nexus letter from your own physician.
It’s important to know that even though the exam is performed by a VA physician, contractor, or partner, it is not a complete physical or evaluation. According to our Omaha VA disability lawyers, you will not be given a diagnosis, treatment, or medication. A C&P exam is meant to clarify and illuminate the severity of your disability so that the right determination is made, and you receive the correct amount in benefits.
The Importance of Range of Motion
When you attend the C&P exam, the physician will check the range of motion in your shoulder. If you have any kind of pain, you will likely receive a rating of 10%. To receive more than that, you must show a decreased range of motion.
The VA physician or C&P examiner will use a tool called a goniometer to measure the range of motion in your shoulder. This tool, used to measure angles, is required by law to determine your range of motion. If you want to measure for yourself prior to your C&P exam, you can purchase a goniometer and take a look at YouTube videos that show you how to do the measurement.
Whether or not you try out this tool on your own, the important thing to remember is to tell the C&P examiner the moment you feel pain. When the examiner uses the tool, don’t minimize your pain or allow him to move your shoulder. It is your movement they are measuring, so don’t go any further after you first experience pain.
Results of a C&P Exam
When you’ve completed the exam, the examiner will make a determination about your condition based on the findings and give an opinion. The examiner may say that your shoulder injury is:
- Favorable. A favorable opinion means the examiner agrees that the injury is service-connected.
- Unfavorable. An unfavorable opinion means the examiner does not believe the injury is service-connected.
Because your disability rating is directly related to the examiner’s findings, a favorable opinion helps ensure you’re getting the most accurate rating. Additionally, if you need a rating change because your disability has worsened, a C&P exam is especially important to help you obtain an increase in compensation.
Contact Cuddigan Law
If you suffer from service-connected shoulder injuries, need to submit a benefits claim, and/or are scheduled for a C&P exam, talk to the Omaha VA disability lawyers at Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys have been supporting veterans for years, and we will help you document your shoulder injury or arm condition and work with your treating medical providers to describe the full extent of your limitations.
Our Omaha VA disability lawyers know exactly how much these disability benefits mean to you. If we accept your case, we will take all steps within the law to help you get them. If your shoulder injury is making it impossible for you to work, contact Cuddigan Law to speak with an intake specialist for free.