What to Expect During Your Compensation and Pension (C&P) Exam?

A compensation and pension (C&P) exam is a part of the disability benefits claims process overseen by the VA. A C&P exam is used to help rate your level of disability. A C&P exam is not a requirement for all disability claims filed with the VA and is only necessary if they determine that more information is needed than what is in your file to properly evaluate your claim.

During an examination by the VA doctor, you will not receive recommendations on treatment as the purpose of the exam is purely one of fact-finding. In addition to performing a physical exam, the doctor may review your claim file and ask questions regarding your medical records. The doctor may also ask you to have additional tests taken so that a clearer determination can be made.

Do I need to bring anything to my C&P Exam?


You do not need to bring anything to the exam aside from yourself. However, it never hurts to bring copies of all of your complete medical history, in case the examining doctor needs specific information from your file that they don’t have with them in their file.

If you have additional medical records obtained since you filed your claim, you will want to submit them before your appointment. The doctor cannot review any new information during the exam. Do not bring children to the exam as you may be discussing sensitive information about your condition with the doctor that you would rather your children not hear.

Additionally, you could try to bring someone with you to the examination. Talk to your family members and close friends to see if they would like to join you. It is important that you feel comfortable with that person and that they play a considerable role in your life.

The person who accompanies you can serve as a witness to the exam. Also, they will be able to offer extra information to the examiner about how your condition affects your everyday activities. Not to mention that they can offer precious emotional support. But remember to always follow the rules, bring your person in the examination room, only if it is allowed.

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How long will my C&P Exam take?


There is no set length for a C&P exam. In some cases, all that is required is a few questions and a brief examination of the injured area, and the doctor will send you on your way in mere minutes. Other exams, however, can be very intensive and last much longer.

Your C&P exam will be performed by a general physician. However, if you are suffering from certain conditions, a specialist may be required, which would necessitate a second examination. Conditions that need to be evaluated by a specialist include problems with your:

  • Vision;
  • Hearing;
  • Teeth;
  • Mental Faculties.

It is not uncommon for a second C&P exam to be needed. This can happen if the Veteran Affairs (VA) asks for a reexamination of a condition that is service-related, or if there is any indication that there has been a change in the condition of the disability. But the second examination can also be triggered if you claim for a higher rating.

When a psychiatrist is required for a second C&P examination, the exam can last as long as four hours.

Be prepared


It’s important to know how to prepare for the C&P exam. Be aware of all of the information and tests that the Rating Authorities require when assigning a VA Disability Rating for every disability you are claiming.

Be sure that your examining doctor has all of the information they need and performs all of the proper tests. That way, your condition is accurately documented to ensure you get the disability rating to which you are entitled. However, be truthful and do not exaggerate or diminish the severity of your symptoms.

During your talk with the doctor, it is best to give as many details as you can about your condition, do not hold any information back on account that it might seem trivial. Let the trained medical specialist decide what is relevant. The doctor might also address to you a series of follow-up questions. These can be somewhat personal, but try to answer them the best you can.

It can be particularly helpful for your case to describe what effects your condition has on your social and personal life. For example, if it impedes your ability to perform activities that bring you joy.

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Talk to a VA disability lawyer


Getting your disability claim with the VA approved can take quite a long time under the best of circumstances. Facing any setbacks due to improper filing or missing information can set your claim back months, if not years. For veterans unable to work due to their disability, these setbacks are not something they can afford.

It’s important to do everything in your power to make sure your claim is filed correctly the first time so that you do not have to wait for the money that you need now. Unfortunately, the disability claims process is a maze of bureaucracy and can be very difficult to navigate on your own.

Hiring a VA disability lawyer can be one of the smartest moves you can make to ensure that your claim is approved with the highest rating available to you as quickly as possible. A VA disability lawyer knows how to cut through all of the red tapes and get you the money that you deserve.

If you don’t hire a lawyer from the start, you will likely find yourself needing one eventually, anyway. If your claim gets denied, you will need to appeal the decision, and you will most certainly want a lawyer representing you in an appeal. It’s in your best interest to simply hire a VA disability lawyer from the start and avoid the appeal altogether. You will get your money faster by hiring a lawyer. Also, you will help speed the process up for other veterans. When your claim is processed properly the first time, you won’t continue to occupy the time of VA officials; this could be used in processing the claim of another former service member.

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