Veterans can feel anxious about attending C&P exams for compensation and pension (C&P). Please continue reading to learn more about C&P exams and their importance for your VA disability benefits claim.
What’s a C&P Exam?
C&P exams are an exam VA usually requests for veterans who file a claim. This exam assesses the veteran’s claim and determines whether a service connection should be granted. The examiner will collect evidence during the exam to assign a rating if the connection is granted.
The VA-contracted or VA-certified physician will typically be the examiner. The examiner must be qualified to evaluate your condition. An orthopedic doctor should not evaluate and comment on a mental condition. The examiner will review the veteran’s c-file before they begin the exam.
The examiner might physically examine the veteran during the exam or ask questions about their service and disability. Veterans should be prepared to discuss their symptoms and how they impact their daily life.
Is a C&P Exam Mandatory?
VA will request an exam if more information is required about a veteran’s health or the relationship between it and the veteran’s service.
Exams are typically requested to:
- Analyze discrepancies using the diagnosis
- Check if a veteran’s condition has been service-connected.
- Provide additional medical information about the veteran’s symptoms or condition to ensure that the rater has the correct information
How can you get a VA disability rating without an exam?
Sometimes a C&P examination may not be necessary, and VA may not request one. Technically, C&P exams do not need to be done in all cases. However, VA often requests them.
VA will request that veterans take a C&P examination. They should make sure they go. A veteran who fails to show up for an exam or does not follow up on the schedule could lose their claim. Unintentionally missing an exam? Veterans should contact VA immediately to see if they can reschedule. If the veteran cannot attend due to illness, transportation difficulties, or other scheduling conflicts, they should contact VA to cancel the appointment.
What Power Does a C&P Examiner’s Report Have?
A common misconception is that C&P examiners decide whether a veteran’s claim will be granted. Although the examiner’s findings and opinions are an integral part of the final ruling, and their reports and opinions are considered, it is not the C&P examiner who makes the final decision.
Although you may need to present your case to an examiner or convince them why your claim should go ahead, the C&P exam does not allow for this and can be detrimental to your claim. It would help if you were honest about your condition and how it affects your daily life.
The examiner will prepare a report after the exam. C&P examiners will agree with the veteran’s description of their condition and symptoms in this report. They can confirm that the claims describe the veteran’s condition accurately.
C&P examiners have the right to disagree with veterans’ descriptions. The examiner can determine that a veteran is not likely to have been affected by veteran service. This can be devastating for a veteran’s claim.
C&P examiners use a lot of different languages. The examiner may state that a veteran’s condition was not likely to be caused by their service in support of a claim. This means there is at most a 50% chance that an in-service incident or injury causes the current disability. The examiner might decide that the condition is not likely to be connected to service. This can prove to be difficult to overcome.
What can a negative C&P exam do to a claim?
When deciding veteran claims for increased ratings and service connection, VA adjudicators tend not to give enough weight to Compensation and Pension exams. An unfavorable C&P exam can significantly impact a veteran’s chances of receiving benefits. Unfavorable C&P exams would indicate that the veteran’s condition does not relate to service or is not as severe as they claim.
However, it can overcome a negative C&P exam, although it is often difficult to prove the examiner’s claims.
How To Overcome A Negative C&P Examination
It can be hard to challenge an exam. It often requires an accredited representative’s skill and knowledge to discredit an exam’s findings. Here are some ways to discredit an exam.
Private Treatment Notes
It is possible to submit additional private treatment evidence or a statement stating why you disagree with the examiner’s findings. This will let VA know that you disagree with the report. Additionally, Who can use the submission of additional private records to support veterans’ claims about their condition? Private treatment records are those that a private physician created. Imagine, for example, that you visit an orthopedic specialist to treat your knee condition. However, the VA Medical Center is not available. You may want to ask the orthopedic specialist for treatment notes and send them to VA.
Private Medical Opinion
To refute a report by an examiner, veterans may be able to seek a private opinion. Veterans have the right to consult outside doctors to get opinions that They can use to weigh in with or against VA examinations.
These medical opinions are usually completed by specialists specializing in your condition rather than a general practitioner from VA. This allows them to understand your condition better and give you an accurate explanation of its causes and consequences. Independent medical doctors are separate from VA. Veterans may feel that VA will not be objective enough to hear their opinions.
Discredit Examiner’s Credentials
Veterans may sometimes be able to claim that the examiner wasn’t qualified to comment on their condition. This could happen if the examiner is an orthopedic doctor examining a mental condition. Veterans can now request credentials from an examiner to verify their qualifications in the relevant medical field. VA examiners are presumed to be competent at first. However, VA must prove its competence once they challenge that assertion.
Requesting a copy of your exam
You can only read the report to determine how a C&P exam will affect you. The VA will not give veterans a copy of their exam report unless they request it. Veterans can request a report copy by writing to their Regional Office.
You should carefully read the exam report once you have it. You will probably want to dispute the results.
Accreditation of Representation to Overcome Negative C&P Exam
Help may be available if your VA disability claim has been affected by a negative C&P examination. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick has helped veterans who have had to face an unfavorable exam before and may be able to help you. For a free case assessment, call our office today.