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  • Preparing for Your VA Compensation and Pension Exam

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    VA Compensation and Pension Exam

    Tips That Stand the Test of Time


    VA Compensation and Pension Exam tips to help you prepare for your exam.

    Claimants must attend at least one compensation and pension examination when filing a VA disability claim.


    A VA Compensation and Pension Exam isn’t like a normal medical exam. The provider won’t treat you for any illness or injury, give you referrals to other providers, or prescribe medicine. That’s because the exam aims to gather information to help decide on your claim. During your exam, the provider may do any or all of these things:

    • Perform a basic physical exam. This may or may not include physical contact.
    • Ask you questions based on the medical records in your claim file. These may include questions from the Disability Benefits Questionnaire for each service-connected condition you claim.
    • Review the Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs)
    • Ask for other tests (like X-rays or blood work) for free.


    exclamation-point.pngYou can ask the provider if you have questions about what’s happening during your exam. But they can’t answer questions about the claims process, tell you the exam results, or make decisions about your claim.


    1. Show up. Do not miss your Compensation and Pension examination.
    2. You must be openhonest, and truthful.
    3. Be Informed. Read through your records. The Compensation and Pension examiner will have read through it, and so should you.
    4. Know the law 38CFR4 Schedule For Rating Disabilities.
    5. When responding to examiners, you must pick the worst moment relating to that question. You need to be vulnerable.jpegrated for the worst times you have had. I always chose a bad day and related all my answers to that day. The day I could not sleep, was anxious and startled easily, was grouchy to my wife and friends, felt like my heart was coming out of my chest, and nothing went right for me.
      That day should have been in the last 30-90 days. 
      If it was a year ago, you might not need to be having this exam. 
      The questions you are being asked are on a script before the examiner. After examiners do this for a while, they get a sense of what is in front of them. Determining when someone is lying and struggling with memory is not too difficult. See VA Compensation and Pension Exam – Do’s and Don’ts
    6. You are going to be uncomfortable. You will be asked things you don’t want to discuss.  It makes you feel vulnerable. 

      This is a necessary evil. The doctor has to know these things to evaluate your claim. They read your record, but your emotional and physical reactions when answering are part of the exam. So, as much as possible, for the short time the compensation and pension exam lasts – embrace your vulnerability and release your burden long enough to let the examiner see it.
    7. Tell them how your disabilities affect your work, life, social, etc.
      1. Example Answers:

        1. depression-001-scaled.jpegAt a VA C and P Exam for a PTSD rating, don’t say: “I have trouble getting along with co-workers.” Paint the picture, and say: “I spend 2 hours a day hiding in the bathroom at work on the floor of the accessible stall because I’m so scared of being around other people with my PTSD.”

        ”If I’m here, I can’t be doing very well now, can I? I haven’t been able to sleep for the past ten days over worrying about this exam, and my wife says I’m really grumpy, and the bill collectors call all of the time.

    8. Be on time or a little early.

    9. Your exam begins the moment you drive onto the VA property. You would be surprised how many doctors watch for you to pull up and get out of your car. You should assume you are always being observed.

    10. argue.jpegBe polite.
      Yelling at the examiner for the injustices you perceive will do nothing but alienate them.

      Curse at your own risk. You can get your point across better with proper English.

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