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What Will Happen at my Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam?

Published on October 4th, 2019

The Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam is the primary method the VA uses to evaluate your disabilities. Usually, the C&P exam will take place at a VA hospital and is performed by a nurse practitioner, physician’s assistant or a doctor who will evaluate your medical or psychological conditions and make a report. The VA Regional Office will then make a ratings decision on the basis of this report and any other medical information in your file. It’s important that you attend your C&P exam. Your failure to do so could result in the denial or delay of your disability compensation claim.  If you miss an exam it is very important that you call the VA as soon as possible and explain why you missed.  It is even more important to send in something in writing explaining why you were unable to attend the examination.

If you have been denied disability compensation, your C&P exam may have gone badly. This may have occurred if the examiner was rushed or did not know enough about your particular condition, but also if you did not share enough about your symptoms and their effect on your life. If you think this happened to you, the veterans benefits lawyers of Jackson & MacNichol can help. We can appeal the ratings decision and help you to submit additional medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Call us today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation.

The Compensation and Pension Exam Is Similar to a Routine Physical

The primary goal of the C&P Exam is to evaluate the seriousness of your disability. If you have muliple medical conditions, you may have to attend several exams. The VA will request a C&P exam in the following scenarios:

  • You have recently applied for disability compensation
  • You already receive compensation but there may be a material change to your disability
  • The law requires you to submit to periodical reexaminations

Regardless of the reason why the VA has asked you to go to a C&P exam, it’s important that you attend. It’s possible to reschedule, but it could take months to do so, which could significantly delay your claim. If you fail to show up without good cause, the VA could deny your benefits altogether. Many veterans end up missing C&P exams because the VA didn’t have updated contact information. If you are applying for compensation make sure that both the VA Regional Office and your local VA hospital have your correct phone number and address.

The C&P exam will often be similar to a routine physical. The doctor will ask you questions about your mental and physical health, and how your conditions affect your daily life. The doctor may even order tests to determine the extent of your injuries or illness, such as an X-ray or MRI. The primary difference with a physical is that the goal of the C&P exam is not treatment. The doctor won’t be prescribing you any medication at the end of the exam. Instead, they will write a report about your disabilities and send it to the VA Regional Office.

Resist the temptation to exaggerate your symptoms during the C&P exam. It won’t work, and any dishonesty could negatively affect your disability compensation claim. On the other hand, it is important not to minimize your symptoms either. The doctor will usually have access to your medical file before the exam, but sometimes this is not the case. So you should come to the exam with any medical documentation that could help the doctor understand your physical and psychological conditions.

A Veterans Benefits Lawyer Can Minimize the Effect of a Bad C&P Exam

At Jackson & MacNichol, we’ve helped many veterans get the compensation they deserve after a bad C&P exam. Just because one examiner drew the wrong conclusions about your disabilities does not mean that your claim is lost. By appealing your claim, you will have the opportunity to submit additional medical evidence that shows that your medical conditions significantly affect your day-to-day life. If you have received a lower than expected ratings decision after a C&P exam, call our veterans disability lawyers today at 800-524-3339 for a free consultation.


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