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What is a C&P Exam and Why Is It Important to My Claim?

A Compensation and Pension (C&P) examination is a medical examination that the VA uses to determine whether and what disability benefits a veteran will receive. The VA uses these exams to determine whether service connection will be awarded and what rating will be assigned for a veteran’s disability. The exams are used during all stages of an appeal process. The exam could be used to diagnose a condition, determine service connection, or determine the severity of the disability.

Some questions we receive from our clients regarding going to a C&P exam are:

  1. I already go to the VA for treatment, why do I need to attend an exam?
    • The VA has determined that they need additional information before moving forward with your claim. Also, if the VA determines a C&P exam is needed and you do not attend, they can deny the claim or find that the claim was abandoned.
  2. What do I need to do to prepare for the C&P exam?
    • You should not have to bring any records with you to your exam. The examiner should review the records in your claims file as a part of the exam. Just attend the scheduled exam and answer all the questions to the best of your ability.
  3. The VA has scheduled me for a second exam for the same claim. Do I still need to attend?
    • The VA may have reviewed the original exam report and determined that clarification of the medical opinion was needed or that the first exam did not answer all the questions the VA needed answered to issue a decision. It is important to attend any scheduled C&P exam to ensure the VA does not deny your claim for failure to attend the exam. If you have an attorney, you can reach out to them so they can get a better understanding from the VA as to why a second exam has been requested on the same condition.
  4. Can I see a copy of the exam report once the VA has completed it?
    • You can request a copy of the exam report from the VA or if you have an attorney, you can request they get a copy of the exam and send it to you directly.
  5. What happens after I have attended a C&P Exam?
    • The examiner will ensure the exam report is uploaded to your claims file. Once the VA has received the completed exam report, they can move to the next step in the appeal process and issue a decision.

C&P examinations are a very important tool used to decide claims.  Not only does the VA use the C&P exams to gather information to help decide a claim but the attorneys in our practice group do as well. Once our clients have attended a C&P exam, our attorneys can review the exam report to determine several things. Was the exam a favorable exam? Was the exam an adequate exam? Did the examiner address everything the VA requested they address? All these questions guide our attorneys and the litigation plan they make for handling the claim. This information is very helpful when it comes time to file an appeal with the VA.

If you have undergone a C&P exam and you have received a decision that you would like assistance in appealing, or you have a current ongoing appeal for which you would like representation, please call us so you can speak directly with an attorney for free to discuss the merits of your claim.


This post was authored by Rachel Henson, paralegal to the Veterans Benefit Group of Goodman Allen Donnelly.