Once you’ve filed a claim with the VA for compensation for a service-connected disability, the VA will be scheduling you for a C&P, or Compensation and Pension Exam. The VA will contact you either by letter or telephone call to set up your appointment.
The C&P exam is a routine step in the VA claims process, not cause for concern. In fact, if your VA disability benefits claim involved more than one injury or illness, it is possible that you will need to attend C&P exams for each individual health condition.
Where will it happen?
Generally, the exam will take place at the VA Medical Center you use for treatment. In some cases, if you live too far away from a VA Medical Center, you may need to complete the C&P with a physician in private practice. Because this can create additional difficulties and delays, it’s only advised when absolutely necessary.
At your first opportunity after filing a claim for service-connected disability benefits at your VA Regional Office, contact your VA Medical Center to make sure they are up-to-date on your current address and telephone number so they can communicate with you about your C&P. The VA Medical Center is a separate entity from the Regional Office where you filed, and the two institutions do not have access to each other’s records.
Wherever it is scheduled, it is absolutely imperative that you attend the C&P Exam.
Without the doctor’s assessment from this examination, your claim may stall out indefinitely or be automatically denied. If you don’t show up for your appointment, you won’t be able to schedule another for several months—that’s if you’re lucky, and the VA is willing to schedule another exam for you, instead of simply denying your claim outright.
What will happen?
The C&P is different from other doctor’s examinations. Instead of being diagnosed and receiving treatment recommendations or prescriptions, you’ll be interviewed about the medical condition for which you’ve filed a claim.
- For physical health conditions, the doctor will examine, interview and perform medical tests appropriate to diagnosing your disorder.
- For mental health conditions, the doctor will interview you about your symptoms and possibly administer a psychiatric test.
Whatever happens in the exam, remember that all the questions are routine aspects of the process and important to the success of your claim. Some things to keep in mind for interview questions:
- Be professional and respectful of the physician at all times, even if you don’t like the questions you are being asked.
- Never exaggerate symptoms.
- Never downplay symptoms.
- Explain, in careful detail, precisely what issues are caused by your condition and how they impact your daily life.
For more information about C&P Exams or the VA claims appeal process, contact a compassionate Dallas VA disability attorney at Morgan & Weisbrod today. To schedule a free consultation, call toll-free 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.