A Compensation and Pension exam, or C&P, is a vital part of your disability claim because it directly affects your benefits. For example, if the VA schedules a C&P and you fail to attend, your claim can be denied outright. If the examiner’s report suggests greater functionality, your payments might decrease. However, the examiner doesn't make the final decision on your claim.
How the C&P Exam Results Affect Your VA Benefits Claim
The VA Disability claims process involves a complicated mix of facts and opinions, and no rule requires VA to give more credence to one opinion over another. Your benefits approval or denial will ultimately depend on the actions of:
- The RVSR in your case. The person responsible for approving or denying benefits is the Ratings Veterans Service Representative (RVSR). Each RVSR should comprehensively review your notes, test results, service records, and doctors’ opinions. The final analysis comes down to the quality of evidence and the RVSR’s best judgment. If there are conflicting but equally valid medical perspectives, the Veteran should be given the benefit of the doubt.
- Your C&P examiner. Your examiner will issue a report with a medical assessment of your disabilities and their position on whether your military service is related to your injury. If the examiner didn’t perform relevant tests or failed to ask questions about the Veteran’s service, their notes could mislead a VA representative into denying the claim.
- You. It’s only natural to feel as though you need to argue your case during your C&P examination, exaggerate your symptoms, or attempt to persuade the examiner to review your claim favorably. However, any of these actions could do more harm than good, especially since your conduct will likely be included in the final report. During the examination, you should answer questions as honestly as possible and only volunteer information relevant to your claim (such as service duties that caused or aggravated the condition and how your disability affects your daily life).
- Your specialist. The examiner’s opinion shouldn’t be the only medical perspective on your case, but whom should you ask to give a second opinion? Your regular physician may not be the best choice since you cannot prove that your doctors aren’t biased in your favor. However, a report from a specialist treating your condition might carry more weight due to their training or specialty board certification. Credentials and credibility significantly increase the value of medical testimony. The RVSR is more likely to side with a doctor with significant experience with a particular type of injury.
- Your attorney. VA will likely deny or attempt to reduce your claim if you don’t have a solid chain of evidence between your military service and a steady progression of your injury or illness. However, a VA Disability attorney can help you overcome a poor C&P assessment by appealing the decision and requesting a new exam. As with most benefits programs, many valid claims are initially denied, making appeals a routine part of the process. Suppose we file an appeal on the grounds that the examination was inadequate. In that case, we can schedule an Independent Medical Examination (IME) by a credentialed professional to perform a complete examination and records review. We compile as much documentation as necessary to prove causation and the limitations of your condition, making it much more difficult for VA to deny your claim a second time.
Let Us Advise You on Your VA Disability Benefits at No Cost to You
Your disability benefits rest in the hands of someone who has never met you and has their own opinions and biases about the cases they review. At the office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, we help Veterans nationwide get the compensation they deserve for a service-connected disability. Call 877-629-1712 or use our online contact form to set up a free, no-obligation consultation on your claim. You can also learn more about what’s in store for you in our free guide, VA Benefits Handbook.