The Veterans Administration (VA), recently signed contracts that allow for the scheduling of Compensation and Pension Examinations (C&P Exams) with private physicians outside of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), see the news release at VA Makes Contract Awards Totaling up to $6.8 Billion Dollars for Medical Disability Examinations. We hope this will create significant improvements in fighting the ever increasing VA backlog of appeals.
Almost every veteran who files a claim for service connection will be required by the VA to attend a C&P Exam. There are exceptions to this, where all evidence is of record with the VBA they could decide the claim without the scheduling of an exam.
Why is a C&P Exam needed in my case? The exam is a very important piece of evidence in the adjudication process, it can often be the deciding factor to an award of benefits or a denial. The examiners are responsible for recording the severity and etiology of a veteran’s disability. In the past these were completed by the VHA, and in recent years the door has been opened for private practice physician groups such as Veterans Evaluation Services to conduct C&P Exams.
Do I need to appear for the C&P Exam? The Veterans Benefits Administration, VBA, is in charge of determining when a veteran has met the minimum requirements for the scheduling of a C&P, they then notify the provider to contact the veteran with the time and place of the examination. If the veteran fails to show for the examination the Examiner, either contracted or VHA, will notify the VBA that the veteran was MIA, and the claim will be denied for failure to show for examination.
Why is this happening now? The VA is putting forth effort to speed up the adjudication process and get claim processing time down below the 125 day mark. The transition is part of the MyVA Initiative, a series of improvements in the claims process all aimed at improving the service provided by the VA to the veteran.
Is it better to talk to a representative before attending a C&P Exam? Please be aware that your representative is generally not notified of the examination date regardless of whether the VA or a contracted medical provider is completing the exam. We generally encourage our veteran clients to contact our office prior to attending their exam.