Did you receive an injury during your military service? Are you thinking about filing a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? You may be entitled to disability compensation. However, there are a few obstacles you'll have to overcome first. Along with proving your disability is service-related, you may have to undergo a medical examination.
Am I Eligible for VA Disability Compensation?
You're eligible if you have a service-related disability to receive compensation. You aren't covered if you become disabled from an accident after you're finished with the military. Proof that your injury is connected to your military service must be given to the VA. This proof usually includes medical records from the military.
Why May There Be a Medical Examination?
In order to determine whether you are truly disabled, the VA may require you to undergo a medical examination. This exam is called a Compensation and Pension Examination (C&P). The C&P exam will also be used to determine the extent of your disability. Having current and reliable information about your condition is usually required by the VA before it makes its decision on your claim.
What Types of Medical Examinations Are There?
There are a variety of exams that may be requested by the VA. The most common one is the general examination. Your entire body will be examined by a doctor. The exam won't just focus on the specific disability you're claiming.
Other tests and examinations requested by the VA will focus on your disability. A specialist will be used to conduct many of the exams. Examples of popular requested medical examinations include:
- Joints, such as wrists, hips, shoulders and ankles
- Mental disorders
- Skin diseases
Your examiner may also attempt to determine when you were disabled. You're entitled to compensation if your condition is related to a specific military event. You're also entitled if you had a preexisting condition that was aggravated by your military service.
Is There Any Way Out of Taking a Medical Examination?
Sometimes the VA will accept a medical report from your personal private physician. However, this is rare. The VA usually requires a C&P exam for several reasons, including:
- To have a more independent doctor exam you instead of your personal doctor
- To obtain more specific information related to your disability
- To make sure your medical information is current
What Will the VA Do with the Medical Information?
Once all your medical exams are complete, the VA will determine whether to grant you disability compensation. This decision can take up to six months. You'll also receive a disability rating based on the medical information. This rating determines the amount of disability compensation you'll receive.
What If I Disagree with the VA Decision?
You can file an appeal with your local VA office if you disagree with the decision. Your case will be looked at again. If your claim is still denied, you can fill out a VA Form 9 to appeal to the Board of Veterans' Appeals. However, the Board's decision can take a very long time. You may be waiting for over four years to find out its decision.
Questions for Your Attorney
- What are the benefits of having an attorney help me receive my benefits?
- Am I legally required to take a medical exam in order to receive disability compensation?
- Can the VA force me to take a medical exam anytime it wants or only before I am granted disability compensation?