The C&P Exam
The C&P Exam (short for "Compensation and Pension") is an exam performed by a VA salaried or contracted physician to document the current severity of a condition that is being considered for VA Disability and DoD Disability.The C&P Exam is the first step of the VA Disability Process, and Step 3 of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System.
In many cases, more than one C&P Exam will be required. The first C&P Exam is usually conducted by a general physician. If all the conditions that are being evaluated for disability are fairly routine or simple, then just one C&P Exam will be needed.
For more specialized conditions, however, a specialized physician will have to do the evaluation—an optometrist for an eye condition, an audiologist for hearing, etc. The VA is required by law to have specialists conduct the C&P Exam for all conditions that medically require advanced or specialized training. Each of these additional exams is also referred to as a “C&P Exam”.
In the C&P Exam report, the physician should establish the diagnosis of the condition, note the exact nature of the condition, and record all necessary measurements/test results needed to rate the condition.
Preparing for the C&P Exam
Make sure to bring the following to your C&P exam:
– Complete medical history of the conditions to be examined in the C&P Exam, including all doctors' reports and tests. You may have already submitted this information, but bring it to your C&P Exam anyway just in case the physician hasn't seen it or needs any of the information in it.
– Specific knowledge of the exact information and tests the Rating Authorities need to properly assign a VA Disability Rating to each of your conditions. You can Find Your Conditions on our site to figure out exactly what is needed to rate them.
It is essential for you to be proactive at your C&P Exam. All VA Physicians have access to Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) that guide them through the exams to ensure that they record the correct information, but while we’d like to think the system works perfectly, there is far too much proof that it doesn’t. A contributing cause to the VA’s massive backlog is incorrect or incomplete data recorded in the C&P Exam reports. This causes the cases to be returned, after months of waiting in line, for another C&P Exam to be conducted to provide the missing/proper information. If you come properly prepared to your first C&P Exam, you can help make sure this doesn’t happen to your case.
Even though it shouldn't be, make it your job to ensure that the C&P Exam physicians (1) have all the information they need and (2) perform the proper tests at the C&P Exam.
For example, supraventricular arrhythmia (a heart condition) is rated on how many episodes of arrhythmia are recorded every year. The type and quantity of medication, etc., doesn’t matter for rating. All the physician must record during the C&P Exam is the number of episodes that were properly documented during the past year. Extra evidence never hurts, but if the physician fails to record the necessary info, then the case will have to be sent back.
A C&P Exam does not need to be excessively long to get a proper rating. All that needs to happen at the C&P Exam is for the proper information to be recorded.
Just be prepared and proactive, and your C&P Exam should go well.