Applying for VA benefits can be a complicated and lengthy process. Throughout the process, the VA may request that you complete a Compensation & Pension (Comp & Pen) exam. This exam is designed to evaluate the veteran’s disability and determine whether the disability is a result of their military service.
What is the Compensation & Pension Exam?
Once you file your claim, the VA has a duty to assist you in the development of your claim. Sometimes they are required to provide you with a Compensation & Pension (Comp & Pen) exam. This generally happens when there is evidence of a disability, evidence of a service event, injury, disease, or stressor, and a suggestion that the two are connected. A positive Comp & Pen exam can be essential to winning any VA claim.
What Happens During the Exam?
The exact procedure of a Comp & Pen exam will vary depending on the disability. For example, there is a difference between exams for a physical disability and a mental disability. In general, during the exam, the medical professional will:
- Review your claim file with you.
- Ask questions based on the medical and service records provided.
- If you have a physical disability, they will perform a basic physical exam.
- If you have a mental disability, they will have you explain your symptoms and ask questions.
- Potentially request additional testing.
Who is the Examiner?
A general healthcare provider will complete most exams. However, there are certain exams that require a specialist. For example, if you have vision, hearing, dental, or psychiatric conditions, a specialist such as an optometrist, audiologist, dentist, or psychiatrist must complete the exam. If you have multiple disabilities, make sure to get examined for all of them, even if this requires seeing multiple specialists.
What Happens After the Exam?
After the Comp & Pen exam, the healthcare provider will write a report documenting the extent of your disability and whether they believe the disability is related to your military service. The Comp & Pen exam report is then used as important evidence in your VA claim. In the end, it is the VA Regional Office that determines your disability rating, not the medical professional.
Tips for The Exam
Answer purposefully. Provide as much detail as you can, but make sure to only include applicable information. Helpful details to include are dates, locations, people (if applicable), and circumstances.
Be honest. Do not downplay or exaggerate your symptoms. Accurately share how you are feeling and the way your disability affects your life.
Be respectful. Do not yell at or complain to the provider. Remember, they are there to complete an exam, they do not have control over the VA claim process.
Make it clear that you were in good health prior to serving if that’s true.
Obtain a copy of the report. Contact the VA Regional Office to obtain a copy of the report for your records.
All of our veterans deserve to be compensated for any disabilities they incurred during their military service. However, the VA claims process can often be long and complicated. Help relieve some of the stress by contacting a member of the Rob Levine & Associates team today to find out how we can help get you the VA benefits you deserve.