These are some of the most common questions from Veterans about their C&P examination. C&P exams are a normal part of the disability process and nothing to be worried about. The most common question I have seen is “What do I tell them?” or “What do I do?” Be honest and up front with what you are there for. That’s simple. In this post I want to address five common questions that I hear from Veterans about upcoming or just completed C&P examination.
1. What is a C&P Examination?
C&P exam is short for a Compensation and Pension examination. It is a medical examination that is typically performed by a provider who is contracted by the VA to conduct the exam. Every Veteran and every claim may not require a C&P examination, but don’t be surprised if you receive a letter of phone call to schedule one for you. There are two key parts of an exam that you need to be aware of.
The examiner may be a physician. However, in some instances it may be a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner. They are all authorized to conduct C&P exams and it will simply depend on whom in your area the VA has contracted to do so. In some instances the exam may be scheduled for a location some distance away from you. In such cases, it is important to either make the appointment or to call immediately and try to reschedule for a closer location. You should understand though that the availability of a local C&P examiner may depend on how many exams are scheduled for your area and what specific disability you are being seen for.
The exam will likely consist of only one disability being claimed. In some cases if the Veteran is claiming disability compensation for more than one condition, they may be scheduled for a different exam for each condition. The important thing it to understand what each exam is scheduled to address and keep your comments and explanations centered on that condition.
2. Why Doesn’t The VA Do Most C&P Examinations?
Remember that the VA Disability section and the VA Hospital are two different entities within the overarching Veteran’s Administration. The VA Hospital is simply concerned with providing the best health care possible to Veterans. Due to the number of Veterans who are seen each day by the VA, as well as the number of Veterans who require C&P exams, utilizing contractors to conduct the exams helps to expedite the process. The contracted examiners are specialists in dealing with Veterans as well as conducting these type of examinations.
3. What Do I Tell The Examiner?
You tell the C&P examiner the truth. That is the long and short of it. Don’t lie to the examiner and don’t try to make out that your injury or illness is more than it is. For most Veterans, there is no need to embellish the truth. Face it, we have enough going on both physically and mentally to qualify for compensation. There are three things you should keep in mind, though, while telling them the truth.
Don’t Minimize Your Condition
We are all use to being polite. When someone asks “How are you doing today?”, our normal response is “I’m good” or “I’m fine”. Don’t do this with your examiner. They are noting everything you say. Instead, reply with how you are actually feeling. Are you depressed, tired, physically hurting? Then tell the examiner what is wrong.
Do not tell the examiner of your normal or best days. Tell them about your worst days. Be sure to keep on subject with the particular condition that you are seeing that examiner about, but let them know how that condition affects you on your worst days with it, and how often those days occur.
We all learned in the military what malingering was. Malingering is exaggerating an illness or injury in order to get out of work. In the case of disability compensation, this extends to exaggeration in order to make more money from disability compensation. Do not attempt to do this. Simply tell the truth of your condition.
Stay On Topic
Don’t try to steer the conversation or exam to other conditions that you have filed for, or that you may want to file for at a later time. The VA contracted the examiner to conduct the examination for a specific condition. Trying to inject information on other conditions will do nothing but confuse the issue and possibly result in an unfavorable finding by the rater.
4. Why won’t my C&P examiner listen to my other ailments?
This is a common complaint. The confusion lies in the fact that a C&P exam is not a typical Doctor’s visit. In a normal doctor visit you are paying the provider to tell you what is wrong and help you to get better. That is NOT the goal of a C&P Exam. There are two reasons that the examiner will not want to discuss other injuries or illnesses.
The Examiner May Be An Expert In One Particular Condition
The VA may schedule with a provider because they specialize in mental health conditions. The provider may be an expert in arthritis and be conduction an exam regarding your claim for service-connected arthritis of the knees. Whatever the condition may be, the VA has selected the provider in order to get the best information possible in the shortest amount of time. Don’t confuse the issue by trying to inject information about other conditions.
The Examiner May Be Contracted For Only One Type of Examination
This could be in an effort to streamline the caseload of the VA. You may be scheduled for more than one exam because of the way in which the VA is working your particular case. While it may seem counterintuitive, allow the VA disability process to run in its own timeline and its own way, and work with it. This will be the quickest and best way to make sure your claim gets a fair look by the rater.
5. How Do I Get The Results Of My C&P Examination
You cannot call the VA and just ask for the results of your C&P exam. Your VSO also does not have access to the results. In order to receive a copy of your C&P exam results, you will need to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with your regional office. The request must be signed and request the results of the C&P Exam with enough information on the request to positively identify the particular exam you want.
I hope that the answer to these questions help you as you are waiting for your exam. You will notice that I didn’t’ address probably the most common question. “How long will it be after the C&P exam before I get my answer?” That is because there are so many things to take into account, and the pace of adjudication over the last year has been slowed down even more due to the COVID Pandemic. The best advice is to simply be patient and allow the VA compensation process to work. Your case will be decided and you will receive a decision from a rater as soon as they can get to it.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us.