For many veterans, the Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam is a crucial step in the VA disability claim process.
Once the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) has reviewed a claim, they might request the veteran to undergo this examination.
The VA typically decides on the doctor for this exam.
This guide offers insights and recommendations on how to navigate the process and seek a female examiner if desired.
Understanding the Concerns: Why Female Veterans Seek Female Examiners
Many female veterans carry traumatic experiences from their service years.
Understandably, the prospect of discussing sensitive subjects like military sexual trauma with a male doctor can exacerbate feelings of vulnerability.
This discomfort, compounded with conditions like PTSD, underscores the importance of offering female veterans a choice in their examiner’s gender.
How to Request a Female C&P Examiner
The Right to Request
Every female veteran possesses the right to request a female examiner for her C&P examination.
However, it’s essential to recognize that the VA isn’t legally bound to fulfill this request.
But, by following certain steps, female veterans can enhance the likelihood of their request being accepted.
Making Your Case: Articulating Your Reason
Clearly conveying your reason for wanting a female examiner is key.
We realize that delving into past traumas can be distressing.
It’s essential to offer only as much information as you’re comfortable with.
For those claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma, explicitly stating this might support your request, emphasizing a preference for discussing such sensitive matters with a female doctor.
New Rights for Vets Claiming Conditions Due to MST
Recent legislative changes are providing more protection and acknowledgment to veterans who’ve endured Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
The passing of the Isaacson/Roe/Sampson act in 2020 signifies a significant shift in how the VA handles veterans’ preferences in the C&P exam process.
For veterans who claim a condition as a result of MST – whether it be PTSD or any other health condition – their gender preference for examiners must now be respected by the VA.
This ensures a more trauma-informed approach, acknowledging the sensitivities and potential triggers that discussing MST might induce.
This change is not just symbolic; it represents a tangible effort to make the claims process less daunting and more empathetic for MST survivors.
By mandating the VA to honor gender preferences, the legislative amendment ensures that veterans’ comfort and well-being remain paramount.
If Your Request Isn’t Honored
Importance of Keeping the Exam Appointment
Despite your best efforts, the VA might still schedule your exam with a male physician.
Although disheartening, it’s crucial to honor this appointment.
Missing it can lead the VA to dismiss your claim without an appeal opportunity.
Using Outside Evidence in Appeals
In some unfortunate instances, examiners may question a veteran’s account due to insufficient information.
If faced with such skepticism, you hold the right to appeal. In your appeal, highlighting your prior request for a female doctor can substantiate your claim.
Furthermore, seeking an additional medical opinion, coupled with your primary documentation, can strengthen your case.
In conclusion, the journey to secure VA disability benefits might present hurdles.
Still, understanding your rights and the available avenues can empower you to advocate for your needs.
As we champion the rights and comfort of female veterans, we encourage you to be informed and proactive in your claims process.
Have Questions About Appealing Your Claim or Understanding How the Claims Process Works?
The attorneys at Hill & Ponton are here to support you with appealing a claim to get migraine benefits.
If you are intending to appeal a denied claim, you can contact us for an evaluation and we can help you with this process.
However, if you are considering filing an initial claim, or even if you are interested in learning about the appeals process, we offer a free ebook to get you started on the right foot!
The Road to VA Compensation Benefits will help break down the claims process from start to finish. Click the link below to learn more.
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