Sometime after you apply for VA benefits, you may receive a letter in the mail notifying you that VA has scheduled you for a Compensation and Pension Examination (C & P Exam). You may also get a phone call notifying you about the examination. The letter or phone call will give you some information about the examination including the time and place the examination will occur. Many people have questions about these C & P Exams and how they affect their claims for disability compensation benefits.
What is the Compensation and Pension Examination?
The examination is an appointment with a doctor. This examination is used by VA to help conduct its medical investigation of your claimed disabilities.
The doctor conducting the examination will evaluate one or more of the disabilities that you have claimed. Following the examination, the doctor will probably complete a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for the body part or system that is the subject of the examination. These questionnaires help VA determine whether your disabilities are service-connected and what the appropriate rating is for your disability.
How long will the Compensation and Pension Examination last?
There is no certain time limit scheduled for the doctor to examine you. The length of the examination will probably depend on how many conditions the doctor is evaluating and what the conditions are.
It can be helpful to keep track of how much time the doctors and nurses spend with you and what sort of physical exam the doctor performs. Sometimes, VA must decide whether to believe the opinion of the doctor who conducted the C & P Exam or the opinion of one of your private treating doctors. The information that the doctors considered when reaching their opinions could affect which doctor VA should believe. If the doctor at the C & P Exam does not spend much time examining you, then that doctor’s opinion may carry less weight with VA.
What happens if I miss the Compensation and Pension Examination?
It is very important that you go to the examination. If you miss the examination, VA may be forced to deny your claim. So, make sure that you attend the examination.
If you do miss your appointment, you should try to get it rescheduled. It is sometimes possible to get a C & P Exam rescheduled. However, the better thing to do is to make sure that you attend the C & P Exam.
Other Questions about C & P Exams
This article may not answer all your questions. If you have other questions about C & P Exams or another veterans benefits issue, we are happy to try to address them. You can call us at the phone number at the bottom of this page. Also, you can send us your information and we will get in touch with you. If you would like to do that, just complete the information in the “Need Help” box on the right side of this page.