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Veterans Law

How to Get a Copy of VA C&P Exam Results

Jenna Zellmer

September 9, 2019

Updated: November 20, 2023

veteran reading his copy of VA C&P exam results

Compensation and Pension Examinations (C&P Exams)

C&P exams are a critical part of the disability claims process and there are multiple times in which VA may ask you to attend one.  Generally speaking, a C&P exam is a medical examination of a veteran’s disability, performed by a VA healthcare professional, or a VA contracted provider.  VA uses C&P exams to gather more evidence on a veteran’s claimed condition before issuing a decision and assigning a rating.  Most commonly, C&P exams are used to (1) confirm or deny service connection; and/or (2) establish the severity of a veteran’s condition.  Prior to the exam, the examiner will review your entire claims file, which contains previously submitted evidence and medical treatment records.  The exam itself usually only lasts about 15-20 minutes but can range anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours.

It is extremely important for you to attend your C&P exams when they are scheduled. Failure to do so can result in VA denying your claim for benefits automatically.  If you are unable to attend an exam, contact VA in order to reschedule.

What to Expect at a C&P Exam

VA C&P exams are different from routine medical exams or other VA healthcare visits.  The VA examiner will not treat you for any illness or injury or prescribe medicine.  Rather, the examiner will merely obtain the information necessary for VA to make a decision on your claim.  Typically, the examiner will ask questions about your disability and how it affects aspects of daily functioning.  VA examiners might complete a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) as well.  Each DBQ is drafted to correspond with a specific condition, and is formatted for examiners to “check a box” next to the descriptions that most accurately depict the disability in question.

Please note, you are not required to bring anything to your VA C&P exam.  The VA examiner will have already reviewed your medical history through your claims file.  If you have any new non-VA medical records, such as treatment notes from a recent illness or injury, be sure to submit them to VA before your appointment.  The VA examiner cannot review new information during the exam.

After the C&P Exam

After your C&P exam is complete, the examiner will write up a report that includes a review of the exam’s findings, any clinical test results, and any medical literature used by the examiner to determine etiology – the cause or origin of a disease or condition.  If the examiner is trying to determine whether service connection is established, they will write up a medical opinion that states one of two things: (1) it is “at least as likely as not” that your disability was incurred in or aggravated by service, or (2) it is “less likely than not” that your disability was incurred in or aggravated by service.

VA will then review the C&P exam, along with all of the other evidence in your claims file, and issue a decision regarding your claim.

How to Receive a Copy of Your C&P Exam

The VA examiner will not give you a copy of your results at the conclusion of the C&P exam.  Instead, they will give the exam results to VA adjudicators who will then decide your claim based on these results and any other pertinent records as mentioned above.  However, you are entitled to request a copy of your C&P exam and it is highly encouraged to do so.  To get a copy of the final report from your exam, you can:

  • Contact your local VA regional office;
  • Call VA at 800-827-1000 and request an appointment to view your file; or
  • Have your representative request a copy on your behalf

Regardless of how you choose to request a copy of your C&P exam, it is important to remember that VA will not provide a copy unless you do so.  Again, VA decision-makers often place significant weight on C&P exams when deciding claims.  Therefore, it is important for you to review the exam to determine if the results are favorable and ensure that the exam was filled out completely and thoroughly, reflecting the most accurate information possible.

READ NEXT: How to Challenge Your VA C&P Exam

About the Author

Bio photo of Jenna Zellmer

Jenna joined CCK in January of 2014 as an appellate attorney, was named Managing Attorney in September of 2019, and now serves as a Partner at the firm. Her law practice focuses on representing disabled veterans at the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

See more about Jenna