The COVID-19 pandemic halted VA’s practice of in-person C&P exams. Now, in select locations across the country, these disability compensation and pension exams have resumed.
Naturally, Veterans have been asking not only where we are conducting exams, but what they are and who is completing them.
What is a C&P exam?
For some Veterans, the C&P exam is a critical component of the VA disability claim process. Though not all Veterans need or receive an exam, it’s one of the ways VA evaluates the disability or medical condition a Veteran claims was caused or aggravated by active service. And for those already receiving compensation, a C&P exam is how VA evaluates changes to that existing service-connected disability.
Veterans are able to submit an electronic claim at VA.gov by attaching Acceptable Clinical Evidence (existing medical documents). Others can take advantage of a Tele-C&P exam. But for many claims, VA will need to conduct an in-person C&P exam using a VA contracted medical examination provider.
Veterans need not worry about selecting which is right for them: VA will determine the type of exam that it needs. VA will notify you of what is needed and where, if necessary, to report.
For disability compensation
Disability compensation exams help VA determine if your disability is related to your military service or if your existing service-connected disability rating should be updated due to changes in your condition.
For pension claims, which are for wartime Veterans with non-service-connected disabilities and their survivors, this exam documents the level of disability experienced by the Veteran, regardless of whether the condition is related to military service.
The examination is not a care appointment
The C&P examiner will only perform an examination necessary to evaluate disabilities claimed in your compensation or pension application. They will record the findings and provide them to a VA claims processor to complete the claim process.
A C&P exam is not the same as a healthcare appointment. You won’t receive treatment or medicine from the provider, but you will get your VA claim well on its way to completion.
If VA determines that you require a C&P exam to complete a claim, don’t worry, one of our medical examiners will reach out to you to get your in-person exam scheduled. Work with them. Even during COVID-19, we are scheduling and safely conducting exams all over the country through the assistance of contracted medical facilities established to ensure the safety of Veterans and providers.
For more on the resumption of in-person C&P exams:
Brianna McFarland is a training consultant for VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement.