Claim Exam Information
During Step 3 of our claim process, we may ask you to have an exam. We may request this to help us determine if a claimed disability is related to your service or to determine the severity of your disability.
Not every claim requires an exam. It depends on what medical evidence is already in your file and what you included with your application. If we ask you to have an exam, we'll schedule your appointment at one of our facilities or with one of our contracted medical examiners.
Preparing for a C&P Exam
The C&P examination is one tool used by the VA inn determining whether to grant a claim for compensation or pension. At some point in this process, you will most likely sit with a medical or mental professional to discuss your illness or injury. Your objective is to present your situation as completely and accurately as possible.
The C&P examination exists primarily to determine if there is an illness or injury and if so, to what degree is it disabling. The examiner is also tasked with opining as to service connection, although it is up to the rating specialist at the Regional Office to put it all together, determine service connection and offer a final rating level.
You will have a relatively short time to present your case, so preparation is essential. This is your opportunity to present a complete picture of what you are experiencing. Keep in mind that the person you are seeing is only getting a real-time snapshot of how you are feeling at that moment. You must be ready to share how your condition looks at other times as well.
It helps to spend time in advance listing how your illness or injury affects your life. Try to think in terms of good day, bad day and average day. What does each look like? Be as specific as possible. It also helps to note how that "picture" looked before you had the disability.
There are several areas you can address. Pain, motion, limitations, emotions and use, for example. When addressing these, remember to describe them in terms of good day, bad day, and average day, and use examples whenever possible.
- Pain: The attached pain chart helps to quantify your level of pain, using a scale of one to ten. Be sure to speak to how the pain affects your life.
- Motion: If you are asked to show how high you can cause your arm, raise it only so far as you can without pain. Stop and explain that this is where it begins to hurt.
- Use and limitations: If applicable, speak to what you can and cannot do as a result of your illness or tribe.
The examiner will often only ask "How high can you raise your arm?" This ignores the other two issues and sets up likelihood of an "insufficient" inadequate) examination.
It is up to the claimant to make the most of the examination. During the brief period of exam time, the vet must accurately and clearly address all three issues, and also relate how they impact work and leisure. This then gives the examiner sufficient information to make an accurate assessment.
Start keeping a journal on each of the disabilities you are claiming. Each and every dat make a note of how that disability impacted you during the day. When you go to the doctor, give him or her a copy. Keep the original for future reference. Do this and you probably will have no problem at all getting an accurate assessment and a valid rating determination.
If the exam doesn't fully explore al pertinent issue, or otherwise is inadequate and the subsequent rating is not satisfactory, the vet can file a notice of disagreement, citing insufficient exam and have the claim reviewed by a senior rating specialist. Granted, this adds time to the process, sometimes over a year, sometimes many. The trick is to get the examination right the first time and avoid all the delay, fuss and bother of an appeal.
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Examinations with Medical Disability Examination Contractors
A contractor will contact you by email or phone to schedule your appointment. If they can't reach you in one of these ways, they'll schedule your appointment and mail you the details about it.
We use several contractors to provide claim exams:
- OptumServe Health Services (OSHS)
Customer service number: 1-866-933-8387
- QTC, Inc.
Customer service number: 1-800-682-9701
- Veterans Evaluation Services (VES)
Customer service numbers: 1-877-637-8387 (United States) or
1-713-255-5656 (other than United States)
Note: The contractor list here isn't an official recommendation or endorsement. If we determine that you need an exam, we'll assign a contractor to you based on location and availability. You can't request a specific contractor.
Will I be contacted by email during my claims process?
During the claims process, we may contact you through an email notification system called govDelivery. We'll email you to tell you in advance about phone calls and text messages you'll get from our contractors about your disability exam.
This email informs you that one of our contractors will contact you to schedule an exam. To receive email notifications from us, please provide a valid email address on your claim form or call us at 1-800-827-1000.
If you think we shouldn't have contacted you, or you would like to confirm that you need to have a claim exam, please call us at 1-800-827-1000. You can also contact your nearest regional office.
If you have additional questions about what to expect during an exam, please visit our claim exam page.