Attorney's Perspective on Compensation Exams

A veteran pursuing a claim for service connected disability benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs often gets scheduled for a QTC or Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination. The examination is performed at the expense of the Department of Veterans Affairs and is used in the adjudication of a claim for service connected benefits (or a claim for an increase in the rating of the veteran's service connected disability). Whether performed by QTC services or the VA doctors, in the case of C&P examinations, the reports generated can make a big difference in the decision reached by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The purpose of the medical examination is supposedly to assist the VA in the adjudication of a claim for service connected benefits. The doctor will perform a medical evaluation of the veteran, record the findings, and make a diagnosis. The reports are then sent to the VA who will use it to either determine whether or not a condition is service connected or rate the veteran's disability. While these examinations and reports are supposed to be nonbiased, either the reports themselves or the VA's use of the reports are often unfavorable to the veteran. However, even when the report is favorable to the veteran, the VA will often state that they do not have to accept their own doctor's opinion.

Understanding why the VA would either ignore a favorable report or schedule an examination by their physicians when the veteran has already submitted favorable evidence is beyond the scope of this blog's philosophical abilities. Suffice it to say the veteran need only to prove 50% (or "as likely as not") to be entitled to service connected disability benefits or to be entitled to a specific rating. Where all the evidence is equal, the law states that the veteran should be given the benefit of the doubt. Thus, the only conclusion I can reach is that the VA is trying to create bad evidence in order to get the veteran under the 50% threshold.

The question then becomes why would a veteran attend such an examination? One reason is that the VA has a right to schedule these examinations and will likely deny the veteran's claim if the veteran fails to attend. Another reason is that some of the doctors are actually nonbiased and perform full and fair examinations that can be extremely helpful in providing evidence for the veteran's case.

As every case is different it is important to seek advice from an attorney accredited by the VA. Depending on the facts, prudent advice can range from objecting to the doctor and asking for a different doctor, to bringing evidence to the examination, to objecting to any examination. We urge Veterans to obtain information about the VA process by seeking knowledgeable advice and to keep fighting for what they deserve. We invite you to contact our office for a free consultation regarding your claim for service connected or non-service connected benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs.