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The PTSD C&P Exam – Be Careful of This Trap!

Tucker Law Group
November 30, 2020

If you are a veteran with PTSD, then you need to be aware of a trap that is often used by VA doctors as part of the Compensation & Pension (C&P) exams and how to avoid causing your own research to work against your claim.

VA psychologists are searching for “malingering” when they examine veterans that may have PTSD. “Malingering” is a term used by mental health professionals to describe lying or exaggerating – typically for financial gain. In assessing a PTSD claim, they would be trying to determine whether you are making up symptoms in order to get more money out of the VA.

There are two ways in which the VA psychologists may try to identify malingering. The first is to be on the lookout for the veteran’s use of buzzwords or terminology that is used by psychologists themselves – often from sources such as the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual), as this may be evidence that a veteran has been studying to try to trick the VA into giving them more money.

Of course, the problem is that veterans that really have PTSD often will also research their conditions to try to understand them. This is a situation in which you should avoid using the psychologists’ scientific terms. Don’t use their buzzwords, as it will hurt your case. Instead, plainly and honestly answer the questions posed by VA examiners and explain your experience.

The second way in which psychologists at the VA seek to identify malingering is more of a setup: They may show you pictures and ask you to describe what you see in them, first telling you that people with PTSD often cannot see what is in the pictures. Again, you should answer these questions honestly. Plainly tell them what you see. This trap is intended to identify malingering by getting dishonest people to take the bait and give strange or obscure responses. If you answer honestly, your C&P exam results will be better. Watch the video to learn more.

At Tucker Law Group we know the PTSD C&P exam process, and we handle these cases every day. If you have any additional questions about the PTSD C&P exam or your claim, call Tucker Law Group at (866) 233-5044, or review our videos and media library for more information.

Video Transcript
The PTSD Compensation and Pension Exam, beware of this trap. I'm John Tucker, and I represent veterans all over the country in claims for VA compensation based on PTSD. I want to tell you about a few things that happen in VA Compensation and Pension Exams, sometimes called C&P exams, that are done specially by the VA to determine if you're entitled to PTSD benefits.

Now, the most important thing you can understand about the psychologists that do these evaluations is that they're looking for something called malingering. Now, malingering is a technical term that mental health professionals use, and it means someone that is lying or exaggerating, usually for financial gain. So, they're looking at whether you're trying to get more money from VA, but you're making up your symptoms. Now, there's two key ways that they're going to test for this.

The first is they're trained to recognize people that are using buzzwords or terms that they've read online or from the manuals that they use to diagnose PTSD. There's one in particular called the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, the DSM, that a lot of veterans will go in and use the words they've read in the DSM to the psychologist. Well, that's not how regular people speak. You should go in and talk about your symptoms and your limitations related to your PTSD just like you were talking over the kitchen table with your spouse or a friend. Don't use the magic buzz words from the doctor's books. That will not help you. That will hurt you. And tell the truth. If you just tell the truth all the time, just be clear and describe what's happening to you, you will run into fewer problems and get a better C&P Exam report.

Now, the second thing is something that I've heard from some veterans and some other attorneys talking about their clients that they've experienced. Apparently, some psychologists, during these exams use pictures, and they ask you to say what you see in the picture, but they'll tell you in advance a setup. They'll say, "If you have PTSD, you may not be able to see what's in these pictures." Well, that's baloney. They're trying to get you to lie and say, "Oh. Well, I can't see what's in that picture." Just tell the truth. Whatever they're showing you, tell them what you see. Again, if you tell the truth, you'll be fine. If you have a claim for PTSD and you have questions, or worse, the VA denied your claim for PTSD benefits, call me. I represent veterans just like you in all 50 States. I'm John Tucker. Thanks for watching.