How Should I Prepare For A C&P Examination?

After a Veteran files a claim for disability compensation due to service disabilities, a Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P) or Department of Veterans Affairs examination is usually scheduled to determine whether a Veteran’s disability is related to his or her service or to decide the degree of a service-connected disability. During this examination, a VA-affiliated physician will review your military medical records and medical history, assess your physical and psychological medical condition, and perform any necessary tests to determine whether you have a service-connected disability from your military service and through your medical evidence they will give you a disability rating. This can be a physical or mental health concern caused during active duty.

The process involved in your C&P exam can vary depending on the disability you are attempting to receive service connection for. In addition, if you are filing a disability claim for multiple disabilities, your C&P exam may be longer and more test-intensive. To determine the severity of your symptoms and whether you have a diagnosable and service-connected disability, your local VA healthcare facility will carefully examine you in any way they deem necessary.

It is essential to make sure that you are fully prepared for the C&P exam before showing up to your local VA facility to undergo the examination. You will need to know what to expect before you arrive – what to wear, what to bring, and any ways you can otherwise prepare yourself. This article will walk you through the steps to take to be fully prepared for your C&P exam

Once you have filed a disability claim, wait until you hear from the VA regarding your C&P exam instead of attempting to schedule one yourself. In most cases, the VA picks the date and time for a Veteran’s C&P exam. The VA will contact service members by phone or through the US Postal Service to inform them of the time, date, and place of the C&P examination

Once you have received notice of the date and time for your C&P exam, make sure to mark your calendar and start preparing. Missing your C&P exam can lead to your disability claim being deferred or denied. A deferred claim means the VA cannot proceed with deciding whether you can qualify for disability benefits. To prevent your disability claim from being deferred, make sure to keep up with any notifications from the VA regarding your C&P exam and other aspects of your disability claim.

Once You Receive Notice Of A C&P Examination, How Should You Prepare?

If a Veteran cannot attend the medical exam when the VA has scheduled, he or she may suggest a different time and date. Failure to attend an examination or reschedule before the date of the original appointment can result in a denial of a Veteran’s claim. If your claim is denied based on missing your C&P exam, you may miss out on the disability benefits you need and deserve. For this reason, it is essential to make sure that you are available for your C&P exam and aware of its date and time.

If a Veteran misses an appointment and fails to reschedule, he or she may still be able to schedule a new examination by providing “good cause” for missing the initial appointment (he or she did not receive notice of the examination, was hospitalized during the date of the examination, did not have transport, was incarcerated, etc.). Remember, the VA is not your enemy – they are not looking for ways to deny your claim, and it is not their intention to make it difficult for you to show up for your C&P exam. Nevertheless, you will still need to provide the VA with “good cause” if you cannot attend your previously scheduled C&P exam.

How should I dress for my C&P examination

Veterans may dress as they would normally dress. They do not need to wear formal clothing or make extra efforts to improve their appearance for an examination. The C&P examiner would prefer to see Veterans as they appear in everyday life. Generally speaking, your appearance will not have a major impact on the outcome of your disability claims process. However, there are some exceptions to this. If the VA determines that you cannot practice personal hygiene or dress properly, they may conclude that your disability is more severe. 

However, it is important to make sure that you are honest with the VA in the way you present yourself at your C&P exam. You should never exaggerate symptoms or present yourself in a way that would suggest to the VA that you are more disabled than you are. 

Should I Bring My Spouse? 

A Veteran’s spouse can be a great source of information for how disabilities affect daily life. A Veteran’s spouse may know just as much about the symptoms of a service-related disability or condition as the Veteran does. For example: “He snores all night. He has nightmares and says things in his sleep. He is always checking the locks on the door. He doesn’t like to see any friends anymore.”

Thus, it can be extremely helpful to have your spouse with you when you attend your C&P exam. If you or your spouse thinks that their presence will be beneficial during your examination, it is wise to bring them with you. A VA healthcare provider may ask your spouse to provide them with information regarding your symptoms, behavior, or how your disability has affected their relationship with you. 

Should I Bring Any Outside Medical Records

A Veteran can bring any private medical records he or she feels may help the VA examiner make a favorable decision. This documentation can include VA doctors’ notes or treatment records, X-rays, lab results, and any other relevant medical information that the VA might need to see.

When applying for disability benefits, it is of great importance to have access to your military medical records, as well as any records or other relevant documentation from your doctor. Any medical data and documentation that can potentially influence the VA’s decision regarding your disability claim should be provided at the time of your C&P exam process.

Should I Bring My Assistive Devices? 

If a disabled Veteran wears orthotic shoes, carries a cane, or regularly uses any other assistive devices, he or she can bring them to their examination. The examiner may want to see how they are worn or used and why they are needed.

In addition, a Veteran may ask for a copy of the examination paperwork immediately after the examination is completed. If a Veteran cannot get a copy of the examination immediately, they may ask the examiner to mail a copy as soon as possible. It takes less time for a Veteran to send exam results to their representative than it does for the representative to request the results through the VA.

When To Get An Independent Medical Examination 

If the VA determines that, based on your C&P exam, you cannot qualify for disability benefits, it can be beneficial to get an independent medical examination (IME). This type of exam is administered by a doctor not affiliated with the VA. This may be your personal doctor or another non-VA-affiliated healthcare provider.

An IME is similar to a C&P exam. However, a private doctor may come to a more favorable conclusion regarding your disability status than the VA did. If you are appealing a VA decision, your attorney may recommend that you get an independent medical examination and present the results as part of your appeal.

When you get an independent medical examination, it is essential to provide the doctor with your military medical records and any other relevant documentation that may help them determine the nature of your disability status. If the doctor concludes that your disability is service-connected – even if the VA did not – you may be able to get a better outcome for your disability claim.

Veterans Serving Veterans

If you or a loved one struggles to receive veterans benefits from your VA regional office because of inadequate C&P exams or mishandled paperwork, contact Berry Law Firm today. A three-tour Vietnam Veteran founded our firm, and our team of Veterans’ attorneys has been working to secure VA benefits for decades.

If you were injured or disabled while serving your country, you deserve compensation. Contact us today about appealing a VA disability claim. Throughout the VA appeals process, we can represent you, starting at your regional VA facility and moving up to higher courts if necessary.