What is a C&P exam, and why do you need it? As part of your disability claim, you have already provided medical records from your own trusted health care providers. However, the VA sometimes needs more evidence to assess your claim. A Compensation and Pension Examination will help the VA determine the severity of your condition and can even determine how much compensation you qualify for. If you fail to cooperate with a C&P exam, your claim will likely be denied. If you miss your exam, call right away and let the VA disability office know that you need to reschedule. You will need a good reason.
What to Expect at a C&P Exam
A C&P exam is different from a regular medical exam. Before meeting with you, the VA examiner will go through your claims file. The examiner will look over the doctors’ reports, treatment records, test results, and other documentation you have provided as part of the normal claims process.
During the medical exam, you will answer questions about your condition and how it affects you on a day-to-day level. If you have a simple claim, your exam may take just a few minutes. If your case is more complicated, such as for a mental health claim, the exam could take hours. The VA doctor will use this information to assign a disability rating based on the severity of your condition. The higher your disability rating, the more disability compensation you may be able to receive.
Besides the regular exam, you may also have a doctor answer questions on a DBQ. Disability Benefits Questionnaires assist the examiners in learning more information about your disability. For the most part, veterans will be eligible to get a free medical exam in order to determine VA disability benefits. However, you will probably need to pay out of pocket for any charges for a DBQ. Your own health care provider should be the one who fills out the Disability Benefits Questionnaire because the VA will consider those findings more trustworthy, as your doctor is more familiar with your condition. The DBQ will become part of the medical evidence you present to get a rating decision. If you are having trouble collecting information, someone from a VSO or Veterans’ Service Organization may be able to help you.
What Happens After the C&P Exam
After you finish the Compensation & Pension exam, your examiner will write a report summarizing the information. This includes:
- any medical records, including military records, which the examiners already have access to,
- the medical examination at the VA,
- test results,
- your questionnaires,
- and any medical literature the examiner may have relied on in order to determine the cause of your condition.
Finally, the examiner will provide one of two opinions, either that it was “at least as likely as not” that your condition was caused by or exacerbated by your service, or “less likely than not” that your service caused or worsened your condition. The VA will look at all the evidence and then assign a disability rating and send a decision letter.
How to Receive a Copy of Your C&P Exam Results
Unless you ask for it specifically, you will not get a copy of the exam results. The VA is only required to send the decision letter with your rating. There are several ways you may be able to access the results as soon as they become available. It is important for you to understand your results and what the examiner thinks about your condition, because this will have an effect on your veterans benefits for a long time to come.
How long does it take to get the results of a C&P Exam?
After you have gone through this process, you want to get your results as soon as possible. You will not be able to get a copy of your pension exam immediately. Even though the process already feels as though it takes a long time, you will probably have to wait 3-4 months before you receive the final decision.
How Do I Request QTC Exam Results?
There are 4 basic ways to ask for your QTC exam results:
- If your regional office is open, you can simply go to the office and ask for a printed copy. There should be no problem with accessing your own records if you provide identification to prove that you are the subject of the exam.
- You can file a claim through the Freedom of Information Act. You have a right to use FOIA to get your own claims information.
- You can contact your agent at the Department of Veterans Affairs, or your claims agent, and ask for a copy of your results. They have access to the documents and may be able to print a copy for you within minutes. You may be able to get the information through email or fax, also.
- Depending on where you did the exam, you may be able to use My VA to download the information yourself. The My Health EVet website has the information you need.
How to contact your local VA regional office
Some regional offices have limited hours because of the Covid-19 pandemic. During this time, the VA continues to provide assistance with veterans benefits and other issues in other ways. You can get help online at www.va.gov, which has a great deal of information. You can call the VA at 800-257-1000 for help with most issues. You can also contact the VA online through ask VA.
Freedom of Information Act for C&P Exams
Your claims file includes everything that happened during the claims process. It could include your VA medical records, emails, and anything that happened during the appeals process. The Freedom of Information Act allows you one free copy of your file, although the VA can charge you for extra copies. By law, the VA must send a response within 20 days. However, they rarely comply with this requirement. In order to get your complete file, or other paperwork that is part of your claims file, use VA Form 3288. You can also use the Privacy Act to gain access to your documents.
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