A Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam is a medical examination of a veteran’s disability, performed by a VA healthcare provider, or a VA contracted provider. The VA uses C&P exams to gather more evidence on a veteran’s condition before issuing decision and assigning a rating. Throughout the C&P exam, the examiners will ask questions about the veteran’s disability and how it affects aspects of daily functioning. During this, the examiner might complete a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ).
A VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQs)
DBQs are downloadable forms created for veterans’ use in the evaluation process for VA disability benefits. DBQs are supposed to help speed the processing of claims for service-connected compensation and give veterans more control over the disability claims process.
Although veterans are able to access these forms, they cannot fill them out themselves. Instead, DBQs give veterans the option of visiting a private healthcare provider or a VA healthcare provider to get the evaluation completed.
When a veteran goes to a private healthcare provider to complete a DBQ, it is important that veterans:
- Access the form online through the VA’s website and download it;
- Have their private doctor or healthcare provider complete the form;
- Review their findings and save a copy for records; and
- Submit the form to VA.
The DBQ forms use check boxes and standardized language so that that evaluation can be completed quickly and correctly. Healthcare providers “check a box” next to descriptions that most accurately depict the disability in question. Overall, the use of DBQs provides veterans with an improved means to submit medical evidence to support their claims.
Medical Conditions Covered by DBQs
There a more than 70 DBQs covering a full range of medical conditions. Some of the DBQs are specific to a single condition (e.g. hypertension, arthritis, prostate cancer), but most forms can be used for multiple conditions (e.g. heart conditions, kidney conditions).
The VA has a list of all the conditions covered by DBQs, including access to the downloadable forms, on its website. While DBQs are available for the majority of conditions, there are not DBQs for the following:
- Initial examination for PTSD
- Hearing loss and tinnitus
- Residuals of TBI
- Cold injury residuals
- Prisoner of war examination protocol
- Gulf War medical examination
- General medical examination for compensation purposes
- General medical examination for pension purposes
Common Problems with DBQs
DBQs can be very helpful and an effective way to demonstrate a veteran’s level of impairment as it relates to a claimed condition. However, it is not without its disadvantages. For example, the DBQ form is different than the evaluation guidelines for C&P examinations. The DBQ forms do not ask healthcare providers to include descriptions or rationales for any symptoms listed or conclusions drawn during the examination. If a veteran has a DBQ completed by a private healthcare provider it is important that they ask their provider to support their answers with a written explanation, even if the form does not require it.
Bosley & Bratch have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. We are here to help. Call Bosley & Bratch at (800) 274-953-6224 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.