Doctor and Patient
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FAQ #1 – Frequently Asked Questions on C&P Exams

My C&P examiner talked about everything else, asked about other conditions, but didn’t address the disability I was being seen for. What can I do?

After the fact, you can write a personal statement to include in the claim. That may be of assistance. However, the time to address this issue is before your C&P appointment even begins. You are there being seen about your disability. In other words, this is your appointment, your disability, your time and your possible compensation. Take charge of the process immediately. If the examiner does not examine you or the disability you are there for, ask. Tell them how the disability affects you. It is possible to take charge of the examination in a professional, polite manner, but at the same time make sure that your issue is addressed.

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How do I get through my C&P exam?

Begin to prepare before the C&P exam. The VA will send a letter stating what disability the C&P examiner will be looking at. Understand that even if you have multiple disability claims before the VA, the C&P examiner may be contracted to review only one of the disabilities for this exam. Therefore, prepare for the exam for exactly the disability that is under review. Make notes if you have a tendency to forget. Have a spouse or someone close to you help with the notes, giving you symptoms they may have noticed that you haven’t. Make notes on how the disability affects your daily life.

The number one thing to remember when going into a C%P exam is this. Tell The Absolute Truth. There are many veterans who will exaggerate their condition because they believe that will increase their rating. This can backfire in unexpected ways. You will most likely conduct several C&P exams for the same disability. The VA will schedule exams every five years to determine if the disability has gotten better, worse, or stayed the same. If you stayed truthful in the initial exam, then it is easy to simply report how the disability is currently affecting you. However, if you exaggerated or outright lied, you will have to remember what you said and try to keep to the same story. And, if you are caught lying about a disability, the VA takes cases of fraud very seriously.

When you go into the exam, stick to the topic. Do not start talking about other disabilities. They may be covered by other examiners, or the VA may already have all the evidence they need. Keep to the current disability under consideration.

Thirdly, talk to the examiner like it is the worst day with your disability. You may not be hurting that day, but explain the disability like it is your very worst day. The key is to let the examiner know how bad it can be, not necessarily how bad or good it is at that moment.

How long does a decision take after finishing the C&P exam?

This is a common question, and the answer is…it depends. There are many things that influence how long a decision takes from the VA.

In August 2022 the PACT Act was passed and went into effect. That Act opened possible disability compensation for hundreds of thousands of veterans, and since then the system has been flooded with claims being filed. As of March 23, 2024 there were 979,208 pending claims with the VA. The timeline for a single claim in that number will be based on the complexity of the claim, whether the claim is fully developed or the VA requires more evidence, along with many other factors. According to  the VA website the current average number of days to completion is around 154. However, the timeline can move either direction.

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Do I have to attend my C&P scheduled exam?

Yes and no. IF you decide not to attend your C&P examination, the VA will simply make the decision based upon the information that is currently in their possession. Considering the C&P exam is scheduled to gather more information, there may be a greater than even chance that failure to appear for the exam will end in a denial of your claim. IF you decide not to attend, it is best to inform the VA in writing that you cannot or will not attend the exam and wish the VA to make their decision based on the information already submitted.

That being said, it is always the best policy to attend any C&P exam that the VA has scheduled. Doing so gives you the opportunity to share with the examiner how the disability affects your everyday life, and attending the exam also lets the VA know you are willing to do what is necessary to get your claim properly adjudicated.

How can I get a copy of my C&P exam?

You will need to contact your regional office for a copy of your C&P exam. The best and surest way to receive a copy is to file a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to receive a copy of the exam.

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