Matthew Hill: Hello and welcome to another Hill and Ponton VA video blog. I’m Matthew Hill here with Carol Ponton, and today we’d like to talk to you about maybe not a secret, but something you really need to know about a C&P exam. A C&P exam is the exam that the VA sends you to to find out if your disability is service-connected, and if it is, what the proper rating is. All exams are reduced to a form which is a boilerplate form that the VA uses. They’re called disability benefits questionnaires, and there is a court-
Carol Ponton: That they’re referred to as DBQs.
Matthew Hill: DBQs, and these questionnaires are, they have one for each different body system, each different kind of disability, and it is these forms that they’re using to make the decision on your case. So if you walk into your C&P exam and you have no idea, one, what they’re going to ask you, and two, what the form actually says, then at that point, you’re at a great disadvantage.
The beauty of this is these forms have to be made public and you can download them from the VA, we’ll put the link in our notes, but it’s important to have a chance to actually review them beforehand, Carol.
Carol Ponton: Yes, because I had a veteran’s wife actually call me and say, “That form was fabulous because now I know what they’re looking for.” She said, “Before, I felt like we were being ambushed. You’d come in and you didn’t know what they were going to ask or if they didn’t ask, I should tell them, because when we’d had exams before, they didn’t ask questions like the radiculopathy, like the urinary, so we didn’t mention it, and therefore we didn’t get credit for that. There was no rating.”
Matthew Hill: So she’s talking about radiculopathy, urinary problems. She’s referring to those to being secondary problems most likely. Well, radiculopathy has to be a secondary problem to the back, so the vet comes in for a C&P exam for his back, and as bad as his back is, it’s really the fact that he can’t feel his feet or that he can’t get out of bed because he’s so depressed or he has problems with urinary frequency. So that’s the kind of thing Carol is talking about is the obvious point of discussion is going to be what’s the matter with the veteran’s back on a back exam, but what’s not obvious are the secondary problems, and you see that in almost everything we do. I mean-
Carol Ponton: Yes.
Matthew Hill: … diabetes is a huge one with problems with the legs, problems with the heart, problems with their eyes.
Carol Ponton: Depression.
Matthew Hill: Depression again, yeah, and so it’s good to know what is the VA looking for and what should they be looking for.
Carol Ponton: Right, and once again, remember with that DBQ, you’re also going to be sent a questionnaire to fill out. I can’t emphasize enough-
Matthew Hill: Before the exam.
Carol Ponton: … before the exam, fill that out with all of the problems you have. Sometimes the examiners see you for five minutes, and where they’re getting the information is from your form, so we’ll get an exam report that says nothing because the veteran didn’t talk about any of the problems that are on that form. Take the time to go through and complete your form, and if you look at the DBQ, you may want to add some things to the form.
Matthew Hill: Yeah, and this is where typical VA, where things get a little confusing. On these DBQs, they’ll have one for depression, they have one for diabetes. They’ll have a section in the diabetes that says, “Are there any other problems like mental health problems?” and then it’ll say, “If so, see the DBQ for mental health?”
Carol Ponton: Yes.
Matthew Hill: Or they’ll have one on the back that says, “Are there any problems like neurological problems, the urinary problem. If so, see the DBQ on urinary problems.” So it’ll take awhile if you pull these and look at them, but it’s your case, it’s really important, and so if one DBQ refers to another, you need to go find that other and see how does this apply to me-
Carol Ponton: Exactly.
Matthew Hill: … how does this apply in my everyday life? Thank you for joining us again, and we look forward to seeing you on this space soon.