A C&P exam is part of the disability process. They are not fun. However, they are worth it. Today, let’s look at C&P exam tips to ensure you are properly rated.
C&P Exam Tips #1: Embrace The Suck
I had one of my teeth punched out a few years ago. That was more fun than my C&P exam. Your exam will consist of being poked, measured, and interrogated. For those with PTSD, MST, etc. you can expect the examiner to discuss the trigger that started your disability. As a result, that is a brutal conversation.
Let’s be clear- these exams are high stakes, and they have a significant value to you. A single veteran collecting 10% disability only receives $152.64 a month, but a single veteran collecting 100% disability receives $3,332.06. That is a sizeable difference, and a good C&P exam can be very helpful toward achieving 100% disability.
I completely understand the anxiety and nerves that come with a C&P exam. For those with mental health issues; it is very normal for a C&P exam to cause an episode. However, the hassle of a C&P exam is worth it. It is a necessary part of achieving your correct VA rating.
C&P Exam Tips #2: Tell The Truth – Then Stop Talking
It is very normal to talk too much when you are nervous. On the other hand, many veterans shut down and stop talking during a stressful C&P exam. The third C&P exam tip is to not do either of these things.
The C&P examiners love to start the exam by asking “How are you doing?” I am convinced this is intended to trick you into saying “I’m good” or “Great. You?” In normal life, we give these answer to avoid having a deep conversation. In addition, we want to avoid being negative or dramatic.
However, many of you are disabled and should receive 100% disability. You are not doing great. Don’t give the C&P examiner an easy win. I normally respond “Meh” or “Tired. You?” Both are accurate, and neither is a free win for the examiner.
After the trick question, the examiner will begin by interrogating you about your symptoms and disabilities. It is important that you answer these questions. The examiner can’t read your mind. As a result, “Yeah, I have back issues” is a terrible answer. That’s how you get 0% ratings.
What A Good Answer Sounds Like
This is the answer of a veteran who understands our C&P exam tips:
“Yes, I have back issues. The pain started three years ago when I was on active duty. I fell out of a transport vehicle. I deal with daily pain ranging a 2/10 to a 8/10. The pain is sharp, and it gets worse when I lift things over 20 pounds or sit for longer than one hour. I do not get relief from anything except alcohol.”
*If you self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. We recommend you tell your examiner. Drug/alcohol abuse is an overlooked secondary claim.*
That answer is great for several reasons. We told the examiner the origin, the symptoms, the impact on our daily life, and then we stopped talking. You should not be over telling your story. Consequently, the VA will ignore your statement if they feel you are embellishing.
C&P Exam Tip #3: Do Not Cowboy Up
To be in the military, you needed to “cowboy up” or “suck it up” to work through your issues. However, that will cause you to be underrated. The ratings that cover pain (back, neck, knees, etc) primarily rely on range of motion. The rater will use a goniometer to measure your range of motion.
The third C&P exam tip is to stop as soon as you experience pain. An unethical rater will ask you to bend past your level of pain. However, that is incorrect. The rater is not your friend. This is an important measurement. Your job is to ensure that your rater is seeing an accurate assessment.
C&P Exams Tip #4: Be Polite, Be Professional
General Mattis’ battlefield advice is also your final C&P exam tip. Undeniably, you only hurt yourself by being rude to the examiner. Be a professional during the exam. If you are respectful and cooperative, it will go a long way towards getting a correct rating.
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