What To Expect During The Medical Examination
You should expect the examiner performing your medical examination to evaluate the condition listed on your claim for benefits. Depending on the number and type of disabilities claimed, the length of the examination will vary. Psychiatric examination or that for multiple disabilities requires more time to evaluate. The examiner may ask more questions about your disability history, review pertinent medical records, or order additional testing or examinations, if necessary.
I discovered veterans that were lying and dealt with them by reporting this to the proper authorities at the VA. Its a Federal criminal act to lie in order to gain monetary compensation. And the odds are you will be prosecuted. It simply isnt worth it.
Examiners are generally good people trying to do a very difficult job. Make it easy for them. I always advocated having the individuals husband/wife in the room with me during the exam. As an examiner, I enjoyed having someones spouse with them. Husbands and wives can tell the truth much better than the veteran. Ask your wife how well youve done in the past ten days versus your own opinion of how youve been doing. Quite a dramatic difference if you are truthful!
Tip #: 8 Things For Your Va C And P Exam Forptsd
1. Know whats in your medical records! There is no substitutefor knowing whats in your service treatment records, VA medical records, orany private medical records.
3. Review the eCFR, Title 38, Part 4, Schedule for RatingDisabilities
4. Do NOT have your best day
5. Be UNFOMFORTABLY VULNERABLE
6. PTSD claims comes down to your current level of Occupationaland Social Impairment.
7. Know your true story coldand potential in-servicestressors that caused or made your PTSDVA worse.
8. You must be prepared to talk about your life in detail.Before joining the military. During the military. And after your active dutyservice.
Tip #: Answer Only The Questions The Doctor Asks
If the doc asks How are you doing, and you throw the entire history of your claim at her over the next 15 minutes, what happens?
She zones out.
She doesnt hear what you are saying, and may find it hard to care about what you are saying.
I get emails every day some are 8-9 pages of micro-detailed histories of a VA Claim. Its hard to read them. Its hard to understand them. Its hard to pick up the phone and call that person because I know Im going to get more facts that I dont need.
Listen, Im really good at doing this work, and while there are some real shit-bird doctors out there, there are some really good ones. They know how to call out the information they need, to get the facts to understand the situation.
So just answer the question you are asked not the question that you want to answer.
But when you do answer the question, follow Tip #3
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How Does Va Evaluate Ptsd During The C& p Exam
During a C& P exam for PTSD, the medical examiner will likely complete a Disability Benefits Questionnaire . A DBQ uses check boxes and standardized language so that the disability evaluation can be made quickly and correctly. Specifically, healthcare providers will check a box next to a description that most accurately depicts the disability in question in this case, PTSD. However, it is important to note that a DBQ will not be used if the veteran is undergoing an initial exam for PTSD.
The DBQ for PTSD will go through all of the aspects that are required in the DSM to determine whether the veteran meets criteria. Importantly, the form is not something that the veteran can fill out and submit on their own. Rather, it must be completed by a medical professional.
Records To Have Available
It can help to have both military records and records of your own communications to help jog your memory. You can request a copy of personnel records and service medical records from the military, and these records will help you remember dates and other details of what happened. Read Nolo’s article about how to obtain your records.
Ask friends and family members for any letters you sent them while in the service, and check your email account for any messages you sent describing what you experienced. If you keep a diary, it can be helpful to refer to it.
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C& p Exams To Increase Your Mental Health Disability Rating
The VA may require a C& P exam if you want to increase the rating previously assigned to your mental health disorder. The VA will increase your disability rating when your condition has worsened.
A C& P exam to increase your rating differs from a C& P exam that initially established your disability rating. Instead of looking for symptoms related to your mental health disorder, the examiner and VA office will look for evidence that your disability has worsened since your initial application for benefits.
For example, the VA would likely not increase the rating of your PTSD from 50 to 70 percent without proof of a worsened condition. This might include the presence of new symptoms, such as unprovoked irritability, violence, or compulsive rituals.
If you cant work because of your PTSD but you dont have a high enough rating, give us a call. Most veterans dont just have one disability, but it does happen. We can look over your medical records and see if you might be eligible for TDIU.
The VA doesnt usually give 100% TDIU for just a single disability. They typically add up disabilities and veterans meet the criteria like this:
1. You have at least 1 service-connected disability rated at 60% or more disabling, or 2 or more service-connected disabilitieswith at least 1 rated at 40% or more disabling and a combined rating of 70% or moreand2. You cant hold down a steady job that supports you financially because of your service-connected disability. Odd jobs , dont count.
What Does The C& p Exam Do
The C& P exam, sometimes called the VAs PTSD test, verifies that the veteran has PTSD, even if he or she has already received a PTSD diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. Additionally, the C& P determines whether the PTSD is service-related and the severity of the condition. Service-related means that the veterans PTSD was either:
- Directly caused by military service
- Occurred while in the military
- Aggravated by military service or
- Caused by conditions that are service-related.
In order to receive disability benefits for PTSD, the VA requires that the condition be service-related. Additionally, the VA requires veterans to prove the following:
- The stressor occurred during your military service
- You cannot function as well as you once could due to your PTSD symptoms and
- You have been diagnosed with PTSD by a qualified medical professional.
Many veterans face difficulty proving when and where their stressor occurred. This is especially difficult when veterans have multiple stressors. Some events, like the death of a fellow soldier, could be well documented through medical reports and obituaries. But other stressors present proof challenges due to the lack of documentation of the incident. In some cases, the VA needs an independent verification that the stressor occurred, outside of the veterans statements.
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Overview Of C& p Exams
The scope of a C& P exam is limited to the medical condition listed on your application. However, if your application has multiple service-connected medical conditions, then the VA might conduct a C& P exam for each condition. For example, an application for anxiety and arthritis might require two separate C& P exams one from a mental health specialist and another from a musculoskeletal specialist.
To perform the C& P exam, the VA will assign either one of its examiners or a third-party examiner, which the VA contracts. The length and nature of your exam will depend on the medical condition the VA is evaluating. You will not have to pay a co-pay or any fee for your C& P exam.
Most C& P exams involve the examiner:
- Reviewing your medical and service history based on the contents of your file
- Performing tests to diagnose your condition and determine its severity
- Gathering any other information relevant to the evaluation of your medical condition
Unlike other VA medical exams, your C& P examiner will not provide any treatments or prescribe medication. In addition, the examiner will not look at any new or unrelated medical conditions.
Common Reasons For Unfavorable Ptsd C& p Exam Results
One of the most common mistakes seen in C& P exams for PTSD involves VA misapplying the law. Specifically, VA may require a direct causal relationship or direct medical evidence of continuous symptomology over the years instead of applying the at least as likely as not standard. Another common issue is the suggestion on the part of the VA examiner that the veteran is malingering, meaning that they are exaggerating some of their symptoms or over-reporting certain aspects. Fortunately, there are several ways to combat unfavorable C& P exam results.
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Prepare To Write Your Statement
Make sure to write your statement at a time when you have supportive people, such as a therapist or friend, available for you to call if you become overwhelmed. It is difficult to sit down and write about terrible events that you don’t even want to think about or remember. You should call a supportive person before you sit down to write and then after you have finished it. This can help you to feel less isolated with your memories.
It is ok to say what parts of your experiences you can’t remember. Most people can’t remember everything about a traumatic event because the body goes into shock and processes information in a different way than during non-stressful times.
How To Pass Your C& p Exam
If you arent normally dressed up, showered, and shaved daily, then dont show up to your examination this way. Show up the way you look on any given day. An examiners impression of you can have an outcome on his report and in some cases their interpretation of test results that you present.
If you tell the VA doctor that you have trouble getting motivated to take a shower or shave, but you look like youre headed to a job interview, this may give the doctor the impression that you are exaggerating your symptoms. If you cannot work because of PTSD, do not make it look otherwise. In no way are we suggesting to be dishonest, quite the opposite, you need to be as transparent and as honest as possible. Lets get into it in our next section.
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Extra Help Preparing For Your C& p Exam
A C& P exam can be a stressful event for veterans, especially those dealing with difficult mental health conditions like anxiety, PTSD, and depression. The C& P examiner may ask questions that can be confusing and make you nervous about saying the wrong thing.
The important thing to remember is that the goal of the C& P exam is to make an appropriate diagnosis so the VA can assign a disability rating to your condition. The best approach for the exam is to be prepared to discuss personal details of your life and be genuine about your health and symptoms.
At Woods and Woods, the Veterans Firm, weve helped thousands of veterans with their VA disability applications and appeals. Weve been adding staff and lawyers during the Covid pandemic to serve disabled veterans better in difficult times.
Call us today to discuss your VA disability appeal or your first application. The call is free and we wont charge you a single fee until we win your case. We even pay for the postage for all of the documentation you send to our office. You can look for a VA disability attorney near you or call us and join the thousands of veterans living off of VA disability thanks to Woods and Woods.
Talk to Us About Your Claim:
An Accredited Va Claims Attorney Can Help
The C& P exam can become the most important part of your claim file. The VA rating specialist, when deciding your case, will give prominence to the findings in the exams.
But even with what outwardly should be a straightforward claim, disabled veterans still face unfavorable exam results, unsatisfactory ratings, or outright claim denials.
A seasoned veterans attorney can help you navigate each C& P exam in the best light. Call us today at to ask about any aspect of your VA compensation claim, and learn how we can help you get the benefits you deserve.
About Marc Whitehead
What Kind Of Tests Are Used At The C& p Exam For Ptsd
The VA uses the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition to determine if your PTSD diagnosis is valid. Your diagnosis must satisfy all of the criteria listed for PTSD in this manual. If the VA feels your PTSD doesn’t meet the diagnosis, your claim will be denied.
Thus, its critical to document all of your symptoms and be able to discuss how this mental condition negatively affects your life. Either a VA or third-party medical professional will conduct the exam, and they’ll look at your entire claims file to help evaluate the severity of your condition and find evidence that proves your PTSD.
The key point to remember about this exam is that the examiner wants to know how PTSD impacts your daily life and normal routine. Even if you feel a small detail is insignificant, it could be important to the success of the claim. So make sure to discuss all aspects of your life with the examiner.
Additionally, the VA requires that C& P examiners use the Disability Benefits Questionnaire . This form is written with standardized language that helps the VA streamline the claims process and ensure that the medical record for you is complete enough to make a determination about the claim. The VA uses over 70 DBQs to assess the majority of disabilities, and there’s one for PTSD. Reviewing this DBQ can give you an idea of what the examiner looks for when making a decision about your condition.
Describe How You Have Changed
Next, describe what your life was like before you began military service, what your relationship with friends and families was like, how you did in school, whether you played sports or had a job. Then describe what happened after you returned home from the service. Give examples of problems you had with work, school, or relationships. Describe your difficulty adjusting to civilian life. If you were no longer interested in activities you once enjoyed, talk about that.
Give specific examples of your PTSD symptoms. For example “I had a panic attack when I heard a car backfire, I thought it was gunfire” or “I heard someone scream on TV and I ran for cover.” This will be much more effective than providing clinical descriptions of symptoms that you may have learned while undergoing mental health treatment.
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What If The Physician Doesn’t Properly Record My Conditions
This is tricky. Without proof of misconduct, it’ll be difficult to have the VA approve a new exam. If there isn’t enough information recorded to rate the condition, the VA will send the claim back to gather the additional information needed. If the information recorded is enough to rate it, but is just incorrect, then that could negatively affect your ratings. The key to combat this is to submit ample outside evidence that has enough of the correct information about your condition that it negates the incorrect information on the single C& P Exam. With enough outside correct evidence, the VA could overlook the C& P Exam and still rate your condition correctly.
Tip #: Va C& p Exam For Ptsd Overview
After youve filed your VA claim for PTSD, youre likely going to get a C& P exam from a U.S. Board Certified Psychologist or Psychiatrist at either a VA medical facility by a VA doctor OR by a contracted C& P examiner at a private medical facility.
The good news is the VA is getting a lot faster, and itspossible youll get a C& P exam scheduled within 1-2 weeks of submitting yourPTSD VA claim.
BTW, the Compensation and Pension Exam Tips is the #1 most important day in the entire VA disability claims process.
Why do I say this?
Because the Rating Veteran Service Representative who assigns a rating to your VA claim for PTSD relies almost solely on the C& P examiners notes
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How To Prepare For The Exam
If you have kids, you may want to get a babysitter so theyre not at the exam: The C& P exam can delve into private, VERY personal questions, so you may not feel comfortable explaining the severity of your condition with children into the room.You might want to bring your spouse or someone else close to you but keep in mind that the VA examiner might not let anyone in the room with you.
Why You Should Write Down Your Symptoms Before The C& p Exam
Veterans dont need to bring their complete medical records or itemized medical histories to the VA facility, but they should bring a written PTSD checklist of symptoms, even embarrassing symptoms, to refresh their memory. Remember, this exam is the chance to show how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder affects your life day-to-day.
Details that a veteran might think are not important could be the key to their claim. The examiner needs to know all the details of the veterans situation in order to make a decision about their claim. If the veterans treating mental health professional has provided a favorable opinion in the matter, the veteran should bring that medical evidence too. This may help!
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