A compensation and pension exam is more commonly known as simply a C&P exam or a VA claim exam. C&P exams or claim exams are what the VA uses to determine the severity of a veteran’s condition and whether it is service connected.
C&P exams are very important because the VA uses the information gathered in this exam to help determine disability ratings. This means they also directly affect the amount of your monthly disability benefits.
These exams give veterans a chance to explain their condition and symptoms to a medical professional. Being properly prepared for your C&P exam can help ease any anxiety you may feel about this critical exam and help it go as smoothly as possible.
Here’s nine things you can do in preparation for your C&P exam:
- Keep a daily journal. Your C&P exam will most likely be a relatively short appointment. This only gives your examiner a small window into your condition. Keeping journal entries about how your condition affects your daily life can help you then create notes for your examiner that give them the bigger picture. This also allows you to really take time to think about all the areas of your life your condition affects.
- Make a list of the symptoms you want to discuss. It can be easy to feel rushed or overwhelmed during your examination. Making a list of your condition’s symptoms and how they affect you can help keep your conversation with the examiner on track. Use specific examples from your journal.
- Practice talking honestly about your conditions. You may not be used to discussing your conditions openly, especially those that feel particularly private. You may be used to saying “I’m fine” even when you are not. Your C&P exam is a good time to be honest, not to act tough.
- Mark your calendar! It’s very important you attend your C&P exam if you want to be eligible for VA disability benefits or continue receiving them. Write the time, date and address of your appointment in as many places as needed to remind yourself. If you know a date will no longer work for you, reschedule as soon as possible.
- Gather any necessary paperwork and bring ID. Remember this is a medical appointment so you will want to bring the same items you would for any other appointment. You will typically need a form of ID and may need to bring other documentation or paperwork, or have them sent over. You can call and check about this at the facility where you will receive your exam well in advance.
- Find directions and reliable transportation. There is a chance you may be seeing your own physician for your examination. There is also a chance your exam will be done virtually from home. However, going somewhere new in an unfamiliar place is not uncommon for C&P exams. Make sure to look up directions so you know beforehand how to get there and how long the trip will take. You will also want to make sure you have reliable transportation, particularly if you cannot drive yourself.
- Get a good night’s sleep, if possible. Try to get a good night’s rest in preparation for your exam. This can help you have a clearer head and feel more at ease during your appointment!
- Arrange to arrive early. If your exam is in-person, allow yourself extra time to find the facility and get checked in and settled. Given the importance of this examination, it is better to arrive a half hour early than a half hour late.
- Plan something fun to do right after your exam. C&P exams can be stressful. Plan something fun or relaxing that you can do following your exam. This will give you something to look forward to and allow you to decompress.
Downloadable C&P Exam Preparation Checklist
Click the image to download or print your own copy of our exam checklist or read more here.
Woods and Woods can help
At Woods and Woods, we have been helping people with injuries and disabilities receive the compensation they deserve since 1985. We currently help veterans across the country with their VA benefits claims. If you aren’t sure where to start with a VA disability benefits application or feel stuck in the cycle of appeals and denials, contact us today for a free consultation.
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