Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) are forms used by VA physicians when performing C&P Exams for VA Disability. The purpose of a DBQ is to ensure that the physician performing the exam records all the information needed to properly rate a disabled veteran’s conditions.
The VASRD has very specific requirements for rating every condition, and if the required information is not properly recorded in the C&P Exam, the VA will have to send the claim back in order to gather the proper data, thus delaying the entire disability process. If properly used, DBQs prevent this delay by ensuring that the required information is always recorded for every condition.
For example, to rate a scar, the exact dimensions of the scar must be recorded. To ensure that this happens correctly, the Scar DBQ contains a section that prompts the physician to record every measurement needed to rate the scar.
There are more than 80 different DBQs. The majority are for entire body parts or systems, like respiratory conditions, but there are a few specific conditions, like sleep apnea, that have their own. Similarly, there are some conditions that don’t really have a DBQ that fits quite right. For these, the physician can use the closest one or not use one at all.
As long as the appropriate tests are performed and the correct information recorded, a DBQ is not essential. They are merely assistive devices.
It is important to note DBQs are used for both disability and pension. Because of this, there is often information required on a DBQ that is not necessary for rating a particular condition for disability but is necessary for pension purposes. Regardless, as long as it is properly filled out, you should be good to go for your disability.
In early 2020, the VA removed public access to their current DBQ forms, but the VA-approved physicians performing the C&P Exams still have full access to the correct forms needed to conduct their exams.
If you were hoping to have your civilian physician fill out a DBQ, don’t worry. Again, DBQ’s are not essential. As long as your civilian physician records the information necessary to rate the condition in their exam notes, you can submit those instead. Simply Find Your Condition on our site, take note of the information used to rate it, and let your physician know what to record.
What is a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)?
A Disability Benefits Questionnaire is a form used by VA physicians when performing C&P Exams for VA Disability.
Do I need to have DBQs filed out for my conditions?
The VA can fully process a claim without them as long as the information needed to rate your conditions is clearly included in your medical records. Most VA physicians do use them, however, since they help ensure that all the necessary information is recorded.
Can only VA physicians fill them out?
Technically, no. A civilian physician could fill one out as well since they are merely means of recording information, however, the VA did restrict public access to them in early 2020, so they are no longer available to civilian physicians.
What if my VA physician didn't fill one out at my C&P Exam?
Most VA physicians know to use them, but it's okay if they do not. Check their notes from the exam. As long as they included the information necessary to rate your conditions, then that is all that matters.
Am I supposed to submit the questionnaire?
No. Since most Disability Benefits Questionnaires are filled out by VA physicians as part of the claims process, the physicians should automatically include them in your VA medical records.
What if the physician skipped some of the questions?
Many of the questionnaires are very long and really don't need to be. These forms are used for both disability and pension purposes, so many of the questions are not applicable to rating your conditions. Check how your conditions are rated on our site. As long as the information needed to rate the conditions and the medical history necessary to support service-connection is included, then that is good enough.
The physician recorded false information. What do I do?
If the physician erroneously recorded test results, symptoms, etc., make sure that you provide additional evidence that shows the correct information, like the official test report, other medical records that show correct symptoms, etc. The VA will look at all the information submitted. If clear evidence proves the physician's statement false, then they will simply ignore it when determining your ratings. If you do not have enough proof, you may need to seek additional medical opinions that you can submit with your claim. In some cases, you can request another C&P Exam.
What if my claim is denied?
If your claim is denied, you will need to address the reason for the denial in an appeal. The VA will note their reasoning on the Rating Decision. If the denial is due to lack of medical evidence, you can submit additional evidence along with your appeal.