C&P Exams Can Ruin a VA Heart Disability Rating
Have you received notification of one or more VA C & P exams for heart disease? These exams, also known as compensation and pension exams, can prevent you from getting the rating you deserve for your heart disability.
When the VA schedules you for a C & P exam, they ask the doctor to evaluate your level of disability with regards to your heart. Often times that exam is not favorable to you. Here are two of the common things that VA does with C & P exams:
- They find that you don’t have heart disability at all; or
- They use the exam to give you a lower rating than you deserve and they get the doctor to get them just doing so.
Many veterans do not believe this can happen with a one time exam. So, how does the C & P doctor ruin your VA disability rating?
I don’t really no how to say this other than that the doctor misrepresents on paper your true disabilities and level of heart function. One primary way this happens is with your MET score.
What is the MET score and how does it affect my disability rating?
As I have discussed in prior articles, the MET score primarily measures how hard your body can work. It does this by looking at how hard your heart pumps before you have certain symptoms related to heart disease, such as:
- Feeling faint,
- Chest pain,
- Dizziness, and
- Shortness of breath
Your MET score is one of many ways that VA assigns you a heart disease disability rating. So, if your MET score ends up being incorrect, you will have the wrong rating from VA. Usually, this will mean your rating ends up being too low.
How does this happen on C & P exams for heart disease?
- Can you take a walk with your wife?
- Do you walk the dog?
- Can you do yard work?
- Can you play golf?
- Do you pick up sticks in the yard?
Why does the doctor ask questions about these sorts of things? The doctor want to determine the types of physical activity in which you can engage.
The answers to these questions can be crucial. The more that you can do before you have symptoms, the lower your disability rating based on your MET score will be.
How do I prevent the doctor from ruining my heart disability rating?
Unfortunately, you cannot control what the doctor says. The doctor will write the report and send it to VA.
In C & P exams for heart disease, the best thing you can do is be careful when answering questions from the doctor like the ones mentioned above. You want to let the doctor know if the activities affect you.
Let’s say the doctor asks if you play golf. Suppose you do. But, what if you have to ride in a cart all the time and only play a few holes before you cannot continue? There is a big difference between playing 18 holes walking and riding a few holes in a cart before you have to quit because of chest pain.
You need to answer the questions honestly and hope that the doctor writes the report honestly. What you can have control over is whether the doctor understands the symptoms that you have from particular activities.
Just because you choose to walk the dog or take a walk with your wife does not mean that it does not cause you heart symptoms. Be sure to let the doctor know how activities affect you when the doctor asks.
What if I have other questions?
Dealing with VA causes frustration and confusion for many veterans. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you have them.
The best way to get additional information is usually to schedule a free consultation about your claim. If you want to learn more about how that works, just read this short article I wrote that explains it in more detail. If you want to go ahead and schedule one, you can call us at (770) 214-8885.
Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.
You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.