After the United States Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) receives and reviews a claim, an administrator may request that the applicant attend a C&P exam to provide the VA with additional information about the stated disability. The VA selects the doctor who will perform the compensation and pension (C&P) exam.
Female veterans often feel uncomfortable going to a male doctor for their C&P exam for multiple reasons. Some of the most common factors causing the discomfort include a history of sexual trauma in the military or a current diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If that describes your situation, this blog provides information about what you need to know when requesting to see a female doctor for your C&P exam.
Requesting a Female C&P Examiner
You have the right to request a female examiner as a female veteran of the armed forces. However, you should be aware that the VA has no legal obligation to honor the request. Despite this, you can take several steps to improve your chances of having the request for a female medical provider honored.
State Your Reason for the Request
The more detail you can provide on why you prefer your C&P examiner to be a woman, the more likely it is for the VA to schedule your appointment with one. At the same time, we do understand this can be traumatic in itself. We encourage you to only provide as much information as you feel comfortable sharing.
If your disability claim is for PTSD due to military sexual trauma, you can consider stating this as the reason but would feel more comfortable discussing the details of your diagnosis and the in-service event with a female doctor. Including this information provides an official record of your request and that you acknowledge the diagnosis.
Go to the Exam
Even after submitting a request and providing as much of an explanation as possible, the VA may still schedule your C&P exam with a male doctor. While this can be frustrating and cause anxiety for you, it is important that you keep the appointment anyway. If you do not, the VA will automatically deny your request for benefits without giving you the chance to appeal.
Obtain Outside Evidence if You Appeal
Unfortunately, examiners sometimes determine veterans are not being honest about their in-service injury because they simply do not have enough information to evaluate the claim appropriately. You have the right to appeal should this happen in your case.
If you decide to follow through with an appeal, the fact that you have it on record that you requested a female doctor can help your case. Another medical provider could reasonably conclude that you did not feel comfortable discussing the extent of your military sexual trauma with a male doctor. Having a second opinion plus your original supporting documentation can help your claim on appeal.
Have Questions About Your Claim?
Whether a male or female doctor completed your C&P exam, you can file an appeal if the exam was the basis for the VA denying you benefits. Hill & Ponton, a law firm serving the veteran community, is available to help with your appeal. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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