A Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam is ordered as a routine part of a claim for disability benefits. The purpose of this medical exam is to assess a Veteran’s symptoms and gather evidence to affirm or deny a service connection. If you’re applying for disability benefits based on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), knowing what to expect can help you be prepared to provide information that will best support your claim.
Assessing Your Symptoms at a C&P Exam
Most C&P exams last between 10 minutes and one hour. The healthcare provider conducting your exam will either work for the VA or be a third-party medical professional. They can’t provide any information about the status of your claim. Their sole duty is to provide a report to use as evidence in your file.
The C&P examiner will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) to determine if your condition has been correctly diagnosed as PTSD. As part of this, you’ll be expected to provide information about how your symptoms affect your daily routine. For example:
- Do you suffer from uncontrolled anger outbursts that damage your relationships with family, friends, or coworkers?
- Do you have trouble concentrating during the day because your nightmares keep you from sleeping?
- Have you changed certain aspects of your routine or tried emotional avoidance to cope with your trauma?
It is important to be truthful and complete in your answers. You need to provide enough detail to allow the examiner to accurately assess your condition, but you should never exaggerate symptoms in hopes of receiving a higher disability rating.
Options If You Disagree With the Outcome
Since PTSD is a mental health disorder, it’s not easy to diagnose, and unconscious bias can make an examiner give an unfair evaluation. If your C&P exam results state your PTSD doesn’t qualify for benefits, you can submit an Independent Medical Exam (IME) from a private physician, a Residual Functioning Capacity Form (RFC), and/or buddy statements to support your case. A skilled Veterans benefits attorney can help you decide the best way to proceed.
Request a Consultation Today
The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, is committed to helping those who’ve bravely served their country ensure they receive full benefits for their service-connected PTSD. Please call our office today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review.