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External DBQ's Phased Out ...

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On 4/2/2020 at 5:51 PM, RBrogen said:

FYI VA is going no longer accept DBQs from external sources and will remove public facing documents.


Yeah, there are a few topics covering this, but they did not state they will refuse to accept external DBQs.


VBA will continue to accept any evidence that Veterans or their accredited representatives wish to submit in support of disability compensation or pension claims.

They did indicate that sometimes they received external DBQs and had to have a VA C&P performed for various reasons (i.e. outdated, incomplete, inaccurate).

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The way I read it is that they will accept an evidence including outside DBQs but they will be given little to no weight. 

The OIG recommended the following:

“Determine whether public-use disability benefits questionnaires continue to be an effective means of gathering evidence to support claims for benefit entitlement and, if necessary, take steps to discontinue their use.”

It appears the VA followed that recommendation and discontinued the use of public-use DBQs which is why they removed them from their website. 

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''The way I read it is that they will accept an evidence including outside DBQs but they will be given little to no weight.'' 

Actually this could be beneficial to the Veteran  if they accept the DBQ AND DON'T USE THE EVIDENCE IN IT  Veteran can CUE this.

RULE 1403 (3)

Edited by Buck52
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I read it as they want to specifically target those situations where doctors are providing the equivalent of a "mail order degree" with a "DBQ's for Dollars" where it is fraudulent.  Having spent the better part of a year educating myself to the VA process, understanding the DBQ from a vet's perspective is paramount, not for any nefarious reason but so that the vet can understand the "VA medical language" and be able to translate the description of their condition/symptoms into the language that the VA understands.  It also helps educate you on things you should be reporting, e.g. painful scars, that I had no idea were eligible until I started this process.  Properly done, IMOs and private physician completed DBQs are veteran's friends and a valuable tool to hold the VA system accountable to provide benefits where they have historically been neglectful.  They have had decades to master their craft of denials and only with each vet committing to educate themselves as much as possible to the process will it keep the scales somewhat balanced.

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I worked for the VBA for a couple of years processing claims and I still have friends there - one of whom is a manager now and another one is a DRO.  If you submitted a DBQ before the date that they were phased out it's possible that it will help you unless it's one of those that they view as telehealth or fraud.  If it's sent in after the date they were phased out then you will be sent out for new C&P exams.

If you read the OIG report, you will see why this was done.  The old DBQs didn't even have a place on the forms where the examiner could certify that the exams were done in person.  The VA has also claimed that they have updated all of the DBQs that they use in C&P exams and they did not update the public use DBQs.  They also claim that updating the public use DBQs will take some time but I doubt that they are even considering this.  

With that being said, if you have it I'd still send it in though.  If you don't get what you want then appeal it and BVA my see things differently.  

Edited by deedub75
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At some point, I can see this making it to the CAVC or higher and potentially getting overturned. The VA would have to have a very convincing argument as to why an out of date DBQ was not considered. If they simply try to state the DBQ was not reviewed or given less weight because it was out of date, I could see the court asking why the information on the older DBQ was simply not compared to the rating schedule criteria. The backup plan is to simply do what they have been doing in many cases - sending the veteran for a C&P.

Keep in mind the VA used C&P examination worksheets for decades before DBQs replaced them. DBQs made it a lot easier for the VARO to process claims and saved them a lot of time by simply transposing what is on the form to the correct field in the computer.

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