Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examinations are medical exams ordered by the VA to evaluate the conditions a veteran is claiming for disability compensation. The Ratings Veterans Services Representative (RSVR) is a primary decision-maker on your claim. A representative will create a folder once you file your claim. Data, or evidence, is added to your file for consideration by the RSVR. The results of the C&P Examinations will be added to the file. This post is meant to help you with your C&P Exam Prep.

Veterans seeking disability compensation for more than one service-connected condition may be required to attend a separate C&P exam for each disability.

When and why does the VA order a C&P exam?

After a veteran files a disability claim, the VA orders a compensation and pension examination to assess the severity of the veteran’s condition. Medical notes and documentation from the exam are determinate factors to help make a claim decision. These exams are part of the VA’s duty to assist veterans in obtaining evidence to support their disability claim.

Who performs the exam?

For the most part, VA medical professionals conduct these exams. Sometimes, the VA will contract a third-party medical professional to conduct an exam. 

During the C&P Exam

During C&P exams, medical examiners often complete what is known as a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ). A DBQ is a check-the-box style series of questions that aim at evaluating the veteran’s specific condition.  DBQ’s are available to veterans on the VA’s website.

Keep in mind…

1: You can have your personal treating doctor, one who knows your condition better than a one-time VA examiner, complete a DBQ for you and submit it to VA. This would not be in replacement of, but rather in addition to the C&P DBQ. 

2: Take notes as to the length of your C&P exam and whether the medical examiner has taken enough time to adequately assess your condition.

3: If the examiner completes your DBQ but lacks additional analysis, veterans can argue that the exam was inadequate due to a lack of development.

Before Your Exam

Prepare to talk about your disabilities when you come to a C&P exam and how they impact your life and your ability to work. This sort of information is what the examiner will be focusing on. If you are being seen, for example, for an orthopedic condition you should be prepared to discuss how this condition affects your ability to perform occupational tasks. Your doctor may ask to do x-rays or other radiological exams.

If you are attending a C&P exam for a psychological condition, similarly phrase your answers to show the impact it has on your daily life and your ability to be productive at work.

Be aware of the type of exam that you are attending. If you are seeking to increase your rating, the C&P examiner will focus on the severity of your condition. Whereas, if you are seeking a service connection, the examiner will focus on the etiology (meaning how the disability arose) and severity. Always prepare to answer questions that have relation to the type of claim they are examining you for. 

Exam Tips

Tip 1: BE HONEST

Be honest about the situation in service to cause your disability and the effects you currently experience. The VA Rater will have your medical information on file and can compare your statements on the day of the exam to the statements you’ve already provided. Consistency is a key factor here.

Tip 2: DON’T DOWNPLAY THE SEVERITY OF YOUR SYMPTOMS

Compensation and pension examinations do not conduct a diagnosis, nor does it treat a condition. On the other hand, it allows the examiner to get a picture of how severe the disability is and how it impacts you on a daily basis. When the examiner asks, “How are you today?” be honest. Try to avoid the polite reply of “I’m doing well.” The examiner notes everything you say. Reply with honesty about how your disability is impacting you.

Be sure to mention any flare-ups you may have and how severe they are. Also, how often you experience them. Explain what your “bad days” are like and how often you have them. Some veterans find it helpful to bring notes to an exam so they don’t forget important details.

Tip 3:  DON’T EXAGGERATE

Compensation and pension examiners will suspect any exaggeration within their report. If you believe this is being wrongfully noted in your exam, ask your family or friends to submit a statement in support of the severity level you described. Or, ask your treating physician to complete a DBQ or write a statement.

If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, you can visit our website for more information.