How Long After a C&P Exam Will I Get A Decision?
Published January 4, 2022
What is a C&P exam, and why is it important?
A C&P exam (otherwise known as a Compensation & Pension Exam) is a physical and/or mental examination of a veteran who has made a disability claim with the VA.
The examination is often, but not always, requested as part of the fact-finding process and is conducted by a VA-designated health care provider. The C&P examiner’s purpose with a C&P exam is to evaluate and quantify the extent of the disability a veteran has claimed.
If you are asked to attend a C&P Exam, it is critical that you appear. Failure to do so without an excellent reason may be a reason to deny your disability claim. The VA needs to gather the necessary information to decide whether you have a service-connected disability and, if you do, what the extent of the disability is. Quantifying the extent of the disability is how disability ratings decisions are made, and those ratings determine how much your disability payments will be.
Thus fully participating in a C&P examination, if requested as part of your disability claim process, is critical to successfully completing your disability claim process.
How long does it take to get a decision after the C&P exam?
After your C&P examination, the examiner will prepare a report on their findings. This C&P exam paperwork includes the examiner’s review of your medical history file, their conversations with you, and examination of you and their conclusions.
The VA estimates that veterans will receive a decision on their disability claim within a few months of the C&P examination. Individual cases will, of course, vary. Sometimes a veteran might have multiple types of disability that would trigger the need for multiple C&P examinations with medical professionals in specific specialties. Also, some conditions require more finessed evaluation than others. Loss of a limb may be relatively straightforward; PTSD is a much more nuanced evaluation.
You will not get the C&P examination report directly. Instead, it will be added to your VA disability claim file for review and decision based upon the entirety of your file. You can, however, get a copy of the final report by contacting the nearest VA office.
Is it common to fail the C&P exam?
Although the word “exam” conjures up the idea of a school examination or military physical fitness test, a C&P exam is an entirely different type of exercise. For those tests you want to put your best foot forward and demonstrate your strengths and skills, a C&P exam is about a candid sharing of your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. That doesn’t come easy for soldiers or veterans, especially when dealing with the VA, which feels like an extension of the military command.
There is no passing or failing of a C&P exam, only a resulting report evaluating your medical history (both on paper and as you share with the C&P examiner) and your physical and/or mental condition.
Is it possible to appeal the results of a C&P exam?
Technically, no, but in practicality, sort of. Here’s how VA claim appeals work.
Your C&P examiner writes a report, and that is submitted to the VA and made part of your disability claims file. Upon review of the C&P exam report and all of the other information in your claims file, you should receive a Notice of Decision on your disability claim. The VA currently claims an average time of 149.4 days (around five months, in case you don’t have a calculator handy) from claim filing to decision, but it often takes longer than that.
That Notice of Decision will outline whether the VA agrees that you have a service-connected disability and, if they do, what the disability is and how severe it is. The severity is rated on a percentage basis (10% – 100% in increments of ten), and that is your Disability Rating. Your Disability Rating determines the extent of benefits to which you will be entitled.
It is only after receipt of that Notice of Decision letter that you can appeal the VA’s decision, and you have one year from the date of the letter to appeal. That appeal can include reference to the C&P examination, sometimes arguing that the examiner’s conclusions were wrong and demonstrating why.
If you disagree with the Notice of Decision you have received on your disability claim, contact us for a free evaluation of whether we can help you with an appeal.
What do I do once I get my C&P results?
Nothing – yet. As noted above, you won’t be directly sent a copy of C&P “results” or the report written by your C&P examiner. That will be sent to the VA and made part of your disability claims file. There is nothing for you to do until the Notice of Decision is issued.
After the Notice of Decision is issued, you can evaluate whether to accept their findings and disability rating or whether to seek assistance with an appeal. We can help you with that.
Has your claim for VA Disability Benefits been denied, or is it at a lower rating than you think it should be? Click here for a free consultation from Veterans Law Group, a law firm that spends 100% of its time helping veterans get all the VA Disability Benefits they are entitled to.