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June 27, 2024

C&P Exam for Vertigo: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Last updated on July 1, 2024

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If you’ve filed a VA disability claim for Vertigo, chances are you’re going to be scheduled for a C&P exam for Vertigo.

In this article, you’ll learn “what” to expect and “how” to prepare for the big day so you can get the VA rating and compensation you deserve.

Vertigo is a significant issue for many military veterans, often resulting from head injuries, inner ear disorders, or other service-related conditions.

And it’s very common; for example, Vertigo is currently the #49 most claimed VA disability.

Pro Tip: The VA rates Vertigo under 38 CFR § 4.87, Schedule of Ratings for the Ear, using one of two Diagnostic Codes (DCs), depending on the severity of your symptoms: DC 6204, Peripheral Vestibular Disorders or DC 6205 Meniere’s Syndrome. VA ratings for Vertigo range from 10% to 100% with breaks at 30% and 60%. The highest schedular rating for Vertigo is 100 percent and includes severe symptoms of hearing impairment with attacks of vertigo and cerebellar gait occurring more than once weekly, with or without Tinnitus.

Summary of Main Points

  • Prevalence and Causes of Vertigo Among Veterans: Vertigo is a common issue for military veterans, often resulting from head injuries, inner ear disorders, or other service-related conditions. It is currently the #49 most common VA disability claim.
  • Diagnostic Codes and VA Rating Criteria: Vertigo is rated under 38 CFR § 4.87, using Diagnostic Codes (DC) 6204 for Peripheral Vestibular Disorders and 6205 for Meniere’s Syndrome. VA ratings for Vertigo range from 10% to 100%, depending on the severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms.
  • Purpose of the C&P Exam for Vertigo: The C&P exam aims to confirm your diagnosis of Vertigo, assess whether your Vertigo is service-connected, and evaluate the severity, frequency, and duration of your symptoms, along with their impact on your work, life, and social functioning.
  • Exam Day Tips: To prepare for your exam, gather relevant medical records, keep a detailed symptoms diary, list the functional impacts of Vertigo on your daily activities, and review the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for Ear Conditions to be ready to discuss the onset and progression of your condition.

What to Expect at a VA C&P Exam for Vertigo

    A VA C&P exam for Vertigo is designed to evaluate three main areas: (#1) confirming a diagnosis of a vestibular condition, (#2) determining the “nexus” for service connection, and (#3) assessing the severity of symptoms in terms of frequency, severity, and duration.

    You will likely get scheduled for an in-person exam to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of your condition.

    Here are six things you can expect during a VA Vertigo C&P exam:

    1. Review of Medical History

    The C&P examiner will begin by reviewing your medical records, including any previous diagnoses, treatments, or evaluations related to Vertigo. Note: The examiner has access to the medical records and documents you submitted to the VA. You can bring additional documents with you to the exam, although you’re not required to.

    2. Discussion of Symptoms

    The examiner will ask you about your Vertigo symptoms, including when you first noticed them, how often you experience them, the intensity of the dizziness, and any associated symptoms like nausea or imbalance. Remember, your VA rating for Vertigo depends on the Frequency, Severity, and Duration of symptoms and how those symptoms negatively affect your work, life, and social functioning.

    3. Physical Examination

    The examiner should conduct a physical examination to assess your balance, coordination, and any visible signs that could contribute to Vertigo, such as nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) or unsteadiness.

    4. Functional Assessment

    You’ll be asked about how Vertigo affects your daily activities, such as driving, working, socializing, and overall quality of life. Be honest and provide specific examples of how Vertigo interferes with your ability to function normally. For example, “My Vertigo is so severe that I have trouble standing up quickly without feeling dizzy, which affects my job performance.”

    5. Diagnostic Tests

    The examiner may perform or refer you for a series of tests to assess your vestibular function. These tests could include balance tests, hearing tests, or other diagnostic evaluations to determine the extent of your condition. Do not push yourself beyond your comfort level during these tests. Inform the examiner immediately if you feel any discomfort or dizziness.

    6. Completion of VA DBQ for Vertigo

    The examiner will document their findings on the VA DBQ for Vertigo, which is then submitted to the VA Rater for further processing. Eventually, the VA Rater will either approve, deny, or defer your VA claim for your vestibular condition.

    What Questions Will I Get Asked at a C&P Exam for Vertigo?

    When attending a C&P exam for Vertigo, you can expect the examiner to ask questions based on the VA DBQ form for Ear Conditions (including Vestibular and Infectious Conditions).

    Here are some of the key questions you’re likely to encounter:

    1. Medical History

    • Describe the history of your ear or vestibular conditions, including onset and course.
    • Have you been diagnosed with any ear or peripheral vestibular conditions? (e.g., Meniere’s syndrome, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, etc.)
    • What treatments have you received for these conditions?

    2. Symptoms and Frequency

    • How often do you experience vertigo or dizziness?
    • How long do your episodes of vertigo last?
    • Do you experience hearing impairment along with vertigo? If so, how frequently and for how long?
    • Do you have tinnitus (ringing in the ears)? If so, how often do you experience it and for how long?
    • Do you experience staggering or imbalance? How often and for how long?

    3. Impact on Daily Life

    • How do your symptoms affect your daily activities (e.g., driving, working, socializing)?
    • Provide specific examples of how vertigo impacts your ability to function normally.
    • Have your symptoms led to any significant changes in your lifestyle or employment?

    4. Medications and Treatments

    • Are you currently taking any continuous medication for your diagnosed condition? If so, list the medications.
    • Have you undergone any surgical treatments for your ear conditions? If so, describe the type of surgery and any residuals or complications.

    5. Physical Exam and Diagnostic Tests

    • The examiner may ask about your experiences during diagnostic tests such as the Romberg test, Dix-Hallpike test, or limb coordination tests.
    • Have you had any imaging studies or other diagnostic procedures (e.g., MRI, CT, Electronystagmography)? If yes, what were the results?

    6. Additional Conditions and Symptoms

    • Do you have any other physical findings, complications, or conditions related to your ear or vestibular diagnoses?
    • Do you have any scars related to your conditions or their treatment? If so, are they painful or unstable?

    7. Functional Impacts

    • How do your ear or vestibular conditions impact your ability to work?
    • Provide examples of how your symptoms have affected your job performance or work attendance.

    How to Prepare for Your VA Vertigo C&P Exam

    Preparing for your C&P exam for Vertigo is crucial to ensure that your condition is accurately assessed and properly documented.

    Here are some steps to help you prepare:

    1. Gather Records and Documents:

    • Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnosis reports, treatment history, and any correspondence related to your Vertigo. This documentation will provide essential evidence to support your claim during the examination.
    • Review the documents in detail and bring hard copies with you to the C&P exam for reference.

    2. Create a Symptom Diary:

    • Keep a detailed log of your Vertigo symptoms, noting the frequency, severity, and duration of episodes.
    • Document any factors that exacerbate or alleviate your symptoms, such as physical activity, head movements, or rest.
    • This diary will help you articulate the impact of Vertigo on your work, life, and social functioning during the exam.

    3. List Functional Impacts:

    • Make a list of specific ways in which Vertigo affects your ability to perform daily tasks and activities. This may include difficulties with balance, driving, working, or socializing.
    • Providing concrete examples of how Vertigo negatively impacts your daily functioning will strengthen your case during the exam.

    4. Review the DBQ for Ear Conditions (Including Vestibular & Infectious Conditions):

    • Review the Vertigo DBQ to familiarize yourself with the types of questions and areas of focus.
    • Be prepared to describe the onset and progression of your Vertigo symptoms over time, as well as any treatments you have pursued and their effectiveness (if any).
    • Additionally, be ready to discuss how Vertigo impacts your work, life, and social functioning.

    5. Be Honest and Detailed:

    • During the exam, be honest about your symptoms and their impact on your life.
    • Provide detailed descriptions and examples to give the examiner a clear understanding of your condition.

    VA DBQ for Vertigo [Download]

    The C&P examiner will complete the electronic version of the Vertigo and Inner Ear Conditions DBQ at the conclusion of your exam.

    We’ve made a copy available for download below:

    About the Author

    Brian Reese
    Brian Reese

    Brian Reese

    Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

    Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

    As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

    He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

    Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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