VA Claims Corner: The Importance of VA Medical Exams

Remember when you were in the military and your commanding officer or staff NCO threatened to “write you up” because you failed to get your vaccination or resolve another medical issue near deployment time? Back then, you didn’t have to be as proactive with your medical appointments because safety nets were in place (thanks to your gunny/first sergeant/senior master sergeant/chief petty officer!) to make sure you made it to sick call.

The transition from military to civilian life can make remembering to attend your scheduled medical appointments a little tricky – especially if you’re in the middle of a job search or attending college for the first time. However, it’s important you know that making your scheduled VA exams is essential to accurately processing your claim. VA assesses your exam results when determining service connection for your claimed medical condition. These medical examinations are scheduled by VA and are performed by either a VA physician or contracted physician. It’s important to note these exams aren’t always required to evaluate your medical conditions; however, in instances when they are needed, it’s important that you make every effort to show up!

During my time as a Veterans Service Representative, I would periodically see cases where a Veteran failed to report to his or her medical appointment. While we certainly understand that life can get in the way, missing an exam can have huge ramifications to your benefits to include:

  1. Denial of your original or reopened claim, or claim for increase. When you fail to report for an exam, your claim will be rated based on the evidence available in your record. This could be detrimental to your original claim because the exam results could provide the necessary evidence needed to satisfy service connection. In reopened claims, the exam results may provide the new and material evidence needed to overturn a prior VA decision or, in the case of a claim for increase, show that your condition has worsened.
  2. Reduction or termination of your current benefits. When you fail to report for a reexamination of a running entitlement, VA, under law, is required to issue you a notice that proposes to either reduce or terminate your monthly benefit if an examination is needed to maintain a current rating.
  3. Delay in the decision of your pending claim. Examination requests are in high demand. Rescheduling can delay the processing of your claim and a final decision from VA.

In order to avoid these potential pitfalls, follow these simple tips:

  1. Keep your scheduled exam whenever possible.
  2. Can’t make it? Tell VA immediately by phone, online, or in person. We may be able to reschedule your exam date.
  3. Make sure your address and phone number is up-to-date in eBenefits. VA will attempt to notify you of an exam by letter and telephone. I’ve personally seen countless amounts of returned mail because applicants moved without notifying VA. The easiest and quickest way to update your address and telephone number is through eBenefits.

More information on this topic can be found in 38 Code of Federal Regulation 3.655.

As always, if you still have questions, a VA representative or a Veterans Service Organization may be able to help.

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision!

Visit: VA-Claims.org

For Cases & Decisions that Could Save Your VA Service-Connected Claims!

Visit: VAClaims.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency

Advertisements

VA Claims Corner: What to Expect at Your C&P Exam

When I attended my first compensation or pension (C&P) medical examination several years ago, I didn’t really know what to expect  — I had little information so I was unprepared, and a little anxious before and during my appointment.

I don’t think I’m alone. For some of us, attending a C&P exam for the first time can be stressful — they’re very different from the exams we’ve had in the military or private sector. So it’s understandable how going through an unfamiliar process like a C&P exam for the first time, or even the second time, may cause anxiety.

When I was in the Marine Corps, I found having a bit of intel before entering any situation helpful in alleviating my fear of the unknown.

Here’s what I found helpful:

  1. Your examiner doesn’t decide whether or not your condition is service connected – VBA claims processors do. C&P exams are tools used by claims processors to either collect missing evidence or clarify information in your claim. A complete C&P exam is just one part of the complete body of evidence from which claims processors must consider when making their decision.
  2. Keep in mind, that not all our contentions will require VA examinations. In some cases, claims processors may have enough evidence in hand to make a decision without the need for a C&P examination.
  3. If you’re scheduled for an exam, it’s important that you make every effort to show up! Missing a scheduled exam could adversely affect your claim. You can read more about this in my previous blog ‘Claims Corner: the importance of VA exams.’

As always, if you still have questions, a VA representative or a Veterans Service Organization may be able to help.

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision!

Visit: VA-Claims.org

For Cases & Decisions that Could Save Your VA Service-Connected Claims!

Visit: VAClaims.org ~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency