Many times, word that the VA has scheduled a Compensation & Pension Exam — or C & P examination is good news for a veteran’s case. At the very least, it means that someone at the regional office is looking at the file and a decision may not be that far down the road. That in and of itself is promising. VA adjudicators put a great deal of value on the opinions of VA examiners, and an examiner’s opinion that a condition is related to service, or that a service-connected disability has worsened, puts the veteran in a great position for a favorable decision.
Sometimes, however, a veteran gets called in an examination where it is not expected, and it may cause concern that the VA may try to reduce a disability rating. This is true, for example, where a veteran is receiving a 100% disability rating, or where the veteran is being examined for a condition for which he or she is already receiving the highest possible rating.
Automatic C & P Re-Examinations
A couple of things are worth noting here. First, some examinations are automatic. By that I mean that VA made clear, at the time that it last addressed the disability in the decision, that it intended to evaluate the severity of the condition at some point down the road. This always is the case where the veteran’s condition is likely to change, i.e., it is not static. You can usually tell if the VA considers a condition to be static by examining the rating decision.
C & P Exam Due to Changed Condition
Other examinations are prompted because VA has gotten word that a condition has changed. Sometimes, a VA treatment record will reveal a change in severity. Other times the veteran will notify the VA that the condition has changed. Where the VA thinks a service-connected condition has changed, it will likely call the veteran for a reevaluation.
C & P Exam for TDIU
The VA may also reevaluate a condition in determining a request for a total disability rating based on individual unemployability (a TDIU). In these cases, the VA wants to know the impact a service-connected disability has on the veteran’s ability to work, and it will of course ask its doctors. So, a request for a TDIU may lead to a reevaluation.
Those are several reasons why VA might want a reevaluation. One last note — if you are especially worried about a rating reduction, keep in mind that there are VA regulations that serve to protect certain ratings (100% ratings including TDIU, ratings in place for five years or longer). So, in some cases, a single examination showing improvement may not warrant a rating change.
Were you scheduled for a C & P examination and are concerned about what will happen next? Our veterans disability attorneys would be happy to speak with you. Call us at (800) 953-6224 or complete our free case evaluation form.