Often times when talking to Veterans the subject of Compensation and Pension Exams comes up. While I do know what a C&P exam is, I struggle to tell them what to expect because I have personally never had one. Luckily we have a Veteran on staff that is willing to talk to me for the price of a pepperoni roll. For our third conversation Bill sat down with me to discuss his personal experience with C&P exams.
For those who may be going to their first Compensation and Pension exam, let’s review what they are first. One thing to keep in mind for a C&P is that it’s a medical exam, not a hearing. Your attorney will not be accompanying you to this examination. You will be meeting with a doctor, or other medical professional, to discuss your claim. C&P exams are one of the last parts of the process. Essentially the VA is evaluating you to determine the extent of your disability.
So, what should you really expect during a C&P exam? Well, Bill has had several, and was nice enough to share his experiences. Granted, every medical facility is different, and his experience will not be exactly the same as yours, but it’s nice to hear the experience of someone who has done it before.
I asked Bill how the VA notifies him of the Compensation and Pension exam. He states that he has received letters and phone calls from the VA medical facilities when he has had an exam. Bill went on to say that there is not really method to how they contact him, but rather that it is random. Due to the fact that I have been working here long enough to see trends, I can personally suggest that you should refrain from throwing away pieces of mail received from the VA. What may seem like junk mail may actually be an exam notice. Be sure to at least open the mail you receive from the VA to see why they are contacting you.
If you did throw away your exam notice there is a good chance you will miss your appointment. If this happens, you may need to reschedule. I asked Bill if he ever had to reschedule a C&P exam. He replied that he had to reschedule a couple of times with mixed results. The first time it occurred Bill stated that the VA medical facility was very accommodating. They acted as if it was “no big deal.” However, the second time he had to reschedule he was met with a hostile employee and difficulty when it came to rescheduling. If you need to reschedule your appointment the best advice is to be proactive about it, and don’t wait to reschedule. The VA medical facilities are pretty backed up, so the quicker you get your appointment rescheduled, the better it is for you.
I know this blog is not about me, but I feel my stories can help people relate to the process better. When I worked at the mall a decade ago I refrained from ordering pizza at a restaurant because I did not know how to order. It was not until one of my coworkers told me how to order that I was comfortable enough to actually purchase some of that wonderful pizza. (Please note that the coworker did make fun of me, and rightfully so.) The point is that we feel more comfortable if we know someone who has been through the process before. This applies to pizza and VA Disability. I asked Bill if he was nervous before heading to his first C&P exam. I was surprised when he said yes. The reason is that Bill is a pretty cool guy, not to mention very laid back. I find it hard to believe he gets nervous about anything. He did go on to mention that he no longer gets nervous going in for these exams. He has been through several C&P’s over the years and they are no big deal now. One of the reasons Bill was nervous was due to the fact they did not tell him what was being examined. This will likely be the case for you as well because I have heard hundreds of other Vets tell me the same thing. For some reason they keep this a secret in the same way annoying couples keep the gender of their child a secret until they give birth. In both cases there is no real reason to withhold that information from you.
Bill does have some advice for first timers. He says your best bet is to go in there an be as honest as possible. This will be helpful because you never know what they might use against you. He also says to be prepared for the exam in any way possible. If you need to bring in medical recs, bring those in. If you need to bring in prescriptions have those handy too. He also mentioned to be prepared for a “not so friendly reception.” Bill said that many of the employees at the VA medical facility he attends aren’t friendly.
Overall, if you have a C&P coming up, don’t worry too much about it. If you get denied though, give us a call for a free consultation. We can possibly set you up for an independent medical exam to argue against what the VA has determined. Our toll free number is 1-877-526-3457.