Tacoma Disability

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What Can I Expect In My VA C&P Exam?

As part of your disability application & evaluation process, you will experience a VA C&P Exam.

The C&P Exam is short for, Compensation and Pension exam, and it is typically performed by a VA doctor or contracted health care professional.

Here’s what can you expect from your VA C&P Exam.

Before Your VA C&P Exam, Know The Purpose of the Exam

Before your exam, you will want to be prepared to recount the entire medical history of your conditions.  This is something that the doctor(s) will ask you during your exam.  Regarding your medical concerns, when did it begin, how have you treated it, what is the severity now.  Recall, this all points to a nexus, you need to understand how service nexus plays into your disability claim, it will matter to how you answer these questions.  After the exam, the doctor will be writing up an opinion on the current condition, when it began, and whether or not it is related to your military experience.

During Your VA C&P Exam

The VA C&P exam is simply a doctor’s appointment that evaluates your physical or psychological conditions that you are claiming to be service connected. If you have more than one condition, the doctor will evaluate each one, and you may be sent to a specialist for certain conditions.  For instance, the doctor will probably be a general practitioner, so anything special, such as Vision, Hearing, Dental, Psychiatric, and other conditions, will be referred out.

When you arrive for your C&P exam, you will be given an opportunity to file a travel claim for mileage re-reimbursement.

During your exam, the doctor may do any or all of these things:

  • Review your claim file with you
  • Ask you questions based on the medical records in your claim file. These may include questions from the Disability Benefits Questionnaire for each service-connected condition you’re claiming.
  • Take a look at the Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs).
  • Perform a basic physical exam
  • Ask you to get other tests—like X-rays or blood work—if needed


If you have a psychological condition or disorder the doctor will ask you questions and have you describe the symptoms you have experienced.  Be sure also to tell the doctor how the stress has affected you.  You may be asked to complete some standard psychological tests.

If you have a physical condition, illness, or injury, the doctor will ask you questions, order lab work, and conduct standard medical tests specific to your condition.  Remember to be completely honest with all questions you are asked.  For example, if the doctor asks how you are, do not say fine.  Be truthful and tell him or her that you are depressed or in pain if that is how you feel.  Make sure you don’t leave things unsaid.  If it’s unsaid, it cannot be claimed.

After Your VA C&P Exam

After your exam, the doctor will send the results to a VA claims processor.  The claims processor will then decide to approve or deny your claim based on the exam results along with other medical and military records. It can take  3-4 months for a decision to be made.

If your claim is not approved, you can file an appeal.  You have the right to good representation in your VA compensation case and more often than they should, the VA makes a mistake in its initial determination.  A good VA claims advocate attorney or service officer will look at your claim & the VA decision and be able to figure out what went wrong and help you fix it.  It’s ok to ask for help.

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