It’s been a few weeks since you filed your claim for VA disability benefits, and you were glad to finally receive a letter in the mail. However, the letter was not a confirmation of benefits approval, but a notice to appear at a medical exam. Do you have to go to this appointment, and how will it affect your disability claim?

What to Expect at Your VA Disability C&P Exam

The medical appointment that is scheduled by the VA is called a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. The exam is usually conducted at a VA hospital, and is used to evaluate the extent of your disability. If you have more than one disability, you may be asked to attend several C&P exam appointments.

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your C&P exam goes well:

  • Show up. All veterans are required to attend C&P exam appointments. The VA hospital you attend is responsible for sending you a notice of your exam date, so it is vital that the hospital has your current address and phone number on file. If you miss the appointment, your claim may be delayed due to rescheduling the exam, or even cause your benefits to be denied.
  • Know the specifics of your claim.  Know what you are trying to accomplish, be prepared to provide specific medical history events in your service records if necessary to show service connection. If you have an after service diagnosis be prepared to show the examiner the medical records establishing the diagnosis.
  • Undergo testing. Patients with both mental health disabilities and physical ailments may undergo testing to help determine the extent of their injuries. If you require a psychological test, try to relax and answer questions honestly.
  • Be patient. Depending on your specific disability, your examination may take anywhere from 20 minutes to several hours. The examiner may need to evaluate the condition listed on your claim, but also any other bodily system that have been affected as a result of your condition. He may also wish to review your medical records or order additional tests, so make sure to clear your schedule.
  • Tell the truth. Part of the examination involves having the examiner ask you questions about the history of your condition, your current symptoms, and how you are specifically limited on a daily basis. Do not minimize or exaggerate your pain. It is important that you tell the truth. You should be given a chance to explain how your symptoms affect your life. If you have a migraine diary bring it with you.

Make Sure You Receive a Copy of Your C&P Exam Report

When the exam is over, the doctor will write a report detailing your medical history, the severity of your symptoms, and the doctor’s opinion as to whether or not your condition is related to your military service. Get the examiner's name and specialty. Find out when the report will be sent to the VA Regional Office that is responsible for processing your claim. Get a copy of your Compensation and Pension exam as soon as it is done so that you know what it contains and whether you need to secure additional evidence to rebut it.The doctor’s report, combined with your medical records, will be used to determine your eligibility for benefits, as well as your disability rating.

At Cuddigan Law, we know how much is riding on your disability benefit approval. That is why we thoroughly prepare your case to make sure you are awarded the benefits you are entitled to as early as possible. We do not get paid unless we get your VA disability benefits approved. Email us today at [email protected] to get started, or download a free copy of our book, The Essential Guide to VA Disability Claims, for more information.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska