Most Veterans pursuing a VA disability claim are subject to a Compensation and Pension Exam (C&P Exam). For those who have not filed a claim before, a C&P Exam is a medical exam performed by a medical provider at the VA. These exams are directly related to the claims Veterans file when they apply for VA disability compensation. It’s not like seeing your regular doctor. The C&P examiner will not prescribe you medicine or send you to a specialist. They are only going to evaluate the medical conditions for which you’re seeking service connection. C&P exams can be frustrating, and many Vets make the following mistakes when they go to their exams:
Playing Tough. Most people who served in the military are trained to downplay injuries, and they don’t want to admit when they’re in the pain. We understand why Veterans downplay their pain and the severity of their conditions. However, doing that in a C&P exam isn’t going to help your case. When Veterans ask us what they should or should not do during the exam, our answer is always the same: be honest. If you’re having a rough day, tell the doctor. If you’re back pain makes you want to scream, don’t be afraid to admit just how much it impacts your daily life. If you’re finding it hard to perform your job because of your depression, the doctor needs to know that. Also, we encourage Veterans to refrain from exaggerating about their conditions. This can negatively impact your claim.
Expecting a Familiar Face. Many Veterans treat at the VA on a regular basis. Even if you visit the VA on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you’ll be evaluated by a doctor you’ve never met before. Don’t let an unfamiliar face throw you off. It’s important to discuss your symptoms with the C&P examiner as if he or she was your regular doctor. This is not the time to be shy. While it can be intimidating, especially when it comes to mental health claims, it’s important to present your symptoms in an honest manner.
Waiting for Dr. Super Nice. We’ve been representing Veterans since 2008. We’ve reviewed thousands of C&P Exams, and we’ve talked to a lot of Veterans after their evaluations. Often, the C&P exams don’t go as well as they had expected. We’ve heard countless stories about rude doctors and long waits, combined with disappointing evaluations. We’ve seen our fair share of poor evaluations. But that’s ok. We know how to handle these types of evaluations and have assisted many Veterans with getting second opinions from independent medical consultants.
Expecting Answers. Many Veterans assume the C&P Exam takes place near the end of the decision process. With that in mind, we understand a Veteran may be tempted to ask the doctor for a status update about their claim. The C&P examiner does not know how your case is going to be decided. The medical provider performing the exam is not the one making the decision. The examiner will present his or her findings to the VA Regional Office which will then make their decision.
One Trip and Done. In a perfect world, you could go to the VA one day, and all your evaluations would be completed within a few hours. The reality, however, is very different. If you file multiple claims, you may have to go to the VA on multiple days and times for different exams. It’s frustrating, and it occurs more often than you realize. However, you may also have to go for multiple exams for the same condition if you’re denied.
Getting Upset over a Chart Review. At times, it can seem there is no rhyme or reason to how the VA schedules exams. Sometimes the VA won’t bring you in for an exam, but have the C&P examiner do a chart review of your exam, instead. It can seem like the VA is passing over your claim, but sometimes a chart review is sufficient for specific types of claims and their severity. We often receive calls from clients who are upset after a chart review. If a chart review would prove to be insufficient, there have been instances when we have assisted Veterans in getting second opinions through independent medical consultants.
The C&P exam process can be frustrating, but when you hire a firm like ours, the process can become a little easier. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you with your claim, call us today for a free consultation.