You probably landed on this blog post because you got a second C&P exam (after the first one), and you’re wondering: “Is a second C&P exam a good sign?”
In our experience helping over 15,000 veterans since 2016, a second C&P exam is generally positive, and can lead to a more favorable VA claim decision or avoid a VA claim denial.
Because second C&P exams are usually ordered for one of three reasons, all of which are designed to help you:
- You had a bad first C&P exam and the VA Rater (RVSR) has preemptively requested a second opinion from a new C&P examiner.
- You had a bad first C&P exam, and you called 1-800-827-1000 to request a new C&P exam.
- The VA Rater (RVSR) identified a “Duty to Assist” error (Example: The first C&P examiner failed to address the proper medical etiology for direct service connection, secondary service connection, or service connection by aggravation).
Okay, let’s jump into why the VA ordered a second C&P exam and what it means for your VA disability claim.
What is a C&P Exam?
A C&P exam is a medical examination scheduled by the VA as part of the disability claim process.
Typically, the actual exam (in-person, telehealth, or ACE exam) will be conducted by a private medical provider in your local area.
The primary purpose of the C&P exam is to determine whether a veteran’s claimed disability condition is service-connected, and if so, how severe it is, based upon their frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms.
For VA disability increase claims, the C&P exam’s purpose is to determine if your symptoms are worse and warrant the higher rating criteria.
Depending on how your first C&P exam went, sometimes the VA will order a second one for the same condition.
VA Second C&P Exam: Is a Second C&P Exam a Good Sign?
Yes, a second C&P exam is a good sign and can lead to a more favorable VA claim decision or prevent a VA claim denial.
The VA orders second C&P exams for one of three reasons:
- #1. You had a bad first C&P exam and the VA Rater (RVSR) has preemptively requested a second opinion from a new C&P examiner. This is a positive sign.
- #2. You got a bad first C&P exam, you called 1-800-827-1000 to request a new C&P exam, and the VA agreed with you and ordered a new exam. This is a good sign.
- #3. The VA Rater (RVSR) identified a “Duty to Assist” error. For example, the first C&P examiner failed to address the proper medical etiology for direct service connection, secondary service connection, or service connection by aggravation. This can help prevent a VA claim denial.
How Important is a VA C&P Exam?
VA C&P exams are extremely important because they carry a ton of weight in determining whether your condition should be service connected as well as your severity of symptoms.
In our experience, the results of your C&P exam will literally make or break your claim.
Because VA Raters (RVSRs) rely almost solely on the results of your C&P exam when determining key issues such as medical etiology, service connection, and severity of symptoms.
- A good C&P exam with a favorable medical opinion (“at least as likely as not”) will result in a VA claim approval.
- A bad C&P exam with an unfavorable medical opinion (“less likely than not”) will almost certainly result in a VA claim denial.
How Do I Get a New C&P Exam?
If you think you got a bad C&P exam, and want a new C&P exam (second opinion) before the VA denies your claim, there are two actions you should take immediately:
- Call the VA hotline at 1-800-827-1000, speak to a representative, complain about your exam, and ask him/her to make a note in your record that you want a new C&P exam.
- Write a Memorandum for Record (MFR) and upload it to VA.gov. Stick to the facts: Who, what, when, where, why, how. Document your complaints about the examiner, questions about the examiner’s qualifications, assertions that records or other relevant information or evidence was not considered, and/or requests for another examination or opinion.
If these don’t work, you can always write your state congressman and/or file a complaint with the White House VA Hotline.
About the Author
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).