Are you a disabled veteran who will be attending a Compensation & Pension examination (C&P exam)? This exam is important to your case, and the first thing you need to understand when you are preparing is why you are going to this exam in the context of your claim.
If this is a new claim you have filed, then the VA is seeking to determine whether your disability is service-connected, meaning something happened in the course of your service to cause it. Such a connection is called a nexus, and it will be very relevant to your claim.
If you filed a ratings increase claim, then you’re already rated and you’re seeking a higher percentage. That means you no longer have to prove service connection, but you need to prove the severity of your condition. Keep this in mind as you prepare for and complete your C&P exam.
Second, you should prepare a list of the problems you have related to your claim, and make at least two copies. Give one copy to the doctor, and hopefully they will put it in your chart. Keep a copy so you can later tell the VA you gave the doctor the same list, in case the doctor did not put it in your chart. This is also a good task to help you keep in mind your symptoms, limitations, and side effects from medications.
Third, look at your own medical records so you know what your doctor already has. The doctor at the C&P exam will be asking you questions, and it may help if you can refer back to doctors that have treated you previously. Be familiar with the information the doctor will already have seen.
Fourth, bring someone with you to the C&P exam, such as a spouse or a friend. With the possible exception of mental health exams, you will be allowed to bring someone who may be able to provide additional information about your symptoms and limitations that you may not think of while you are there.
Fifth, be sure to know how to get to the examination location, and get there 30 minutes early. Your claim will be denied automatically if you skip your exam, so the most important thing you can do is show up on time.
Sixth, answer the questions they ask without volunteering lots of extra information. You aren’t there to make your case, and you will likely have a better relationship with the doctor if you don’t tell them extra information they aren’t asking for. You may think you’re being helpful, but the best thing to help your claim is to just answer the doctor’s questions clearly and accurately without extra information distracting from the issues.
Seventh, write down everything you can remember from the exam as soon as you return to your car. Include the time they called you in, how long you were with the nurse, the duration of time spent with the doctor, when you left, and every detail you can remember. Write down the questions they asked, along with the information you told them. If your friend or spouse provided information, write that down, too. Include details of the physical examination and what they looked at and touched. If the C&P exam results don’t go your way, you may need these notes later. Watch the video to learn more.
At Tucker Law Group we handle VA disability cases every day. If you will be attending a C&P exam or your claim has been denied, or if you have any additional questions, call Tucker Law Group at (866) 233-5044, or review our videos and media library for more information.
Video TranscriptThe seven best tips to help you prepare for your VA Compensation & Pension examination. I'm John Tucker and I'm a veterans' disability attorney. I represent veterans all over the country. And today I want to tell you a story about a gentleman that called me, his name was Harold. Harold was a Vietnam war veteran, and he had been to a Compensation & Pension exam, a C&P exam and it didn't go well. And I'd like to give you some tips so that you don't find yourself in the same situation Harold was in when he had to call me because his claim was denied. First, the most important thing that you can do is understand why you're going to the C&P exam. If you just filed a new claim, VA is trying to determine if your disability is service connected. That means they're trying to determine if something happened to you in the service. If you have a current medical condition and whether those two things are connected. That's called a nexus and that could be one of the most important things about a C&P exam. If you filed a ratings increase claim, meaning you're already rated, but you want a higher percentage, you no longer have to prove service connection. You just have to prove how severe your current condition is. So understand what that doctor's going to be examining.
Second, make a list of problems related to your claim so that you can bring it in and give it to the doctor. It will help you think about what's wrong with you. It will help you get it clear in your mind, particularly since you know why you're going to the exam from tip number one. And that doctor hopefully will put that in your chart. I'd suggest you make a second copy and keep it so later on you can tell the VA that you gave the doctor a list that looked like this and the doctor didn't put it in the chart if that happens. It will also allow you to keep things in mind like your symptoms, your limitations, your side effects from medications, all of those things matter.
Third, read your records. Take a look at your own medical records. Know what that doctor has looked at. They're going to be asking you some questions and sometimes it may be helpful to refer back to the doctors that have treated you.
Fourth. When you go to the exam, bring someone with you. They may not let someone come in if you're going for a mental health exam, but very often with a physical exam for a part of your body that was injured or a disease that you have that's caused a disability, they'll allow you to bring a spouse or a friend in with you. And sometimes they can offer additional information about your symptoms or limitations that you may not think about on the spot during the exam. Fifth, this is kind of straightforward and simple, but know where you're going and get there 30 minutes early. The absolute most important thing you can do with a C&P exam is show up. If you skip it, your claim will be denied automatically, so go.
Sixth, answer the questions that are being asked. Don't volunteer a lot of information. Don't think you're there to make your case. You're not an attorney. You're a patient that day and you're answering questions. You may think you're volunteering helpful information. You may think that doctor doesn't want to listen to you, but if you just answer their questions, you will have a better rapport with the doctor. Put simply, they'll probably like you better and they'll be able to interact with you better.
And finally, when you leave, my recommendation is you go back to your car and you write everything down you can remember about that exam. You write down the time they called you in, how long you spent with the nurse, how much time you spent with the doctor, the time you left and everything from the time you went in to the time you left. Everything you can remember, write it down. Questions asked, what you told them, what your friend or your spouse told them, what they touched, what they examined. You may need those notes later if you end up with a C&P report like Harold, that didn't go his way. Why am I telling you all this? I don't want you to end up like Harold. I don't want you to have to call me, the VA disability attorney, to help you with a denied claim because of a bad C&P report. Of course, if you get a bad C&P report and your claim is denied, call me. I represent veterans like you all over the country every day. I'm John Tucker. Thanks for watching.