Skip to content

July 3, 2023

What is a DBQ Medical Opinion?

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

A DBQ medical opinion is a formal VA request for a C&P examiner to provide his/her medical opinion for service connection on the electronic version of the condition specific Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ).

For example, if you filed a VA claim for Headaches secondary to Tinnitus and PTSD, the VA should order a C&P exam for Headaches as a secondary condition using the electronic version of the DBQ for Headaches.

On the electronic DBQ for Headaches, the C&P examiner will be asked to provide a medical opinion for secondary service connection as follows:

Medical opinion for secondary service connection (Headaches secondary to Tinnitus and PTSD)

  • The claimed condition is at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) proximately due to or the result of the veteran’s service connected condition. This is a favorable VA medical opinion.
  • The claimed condition is less likely than not (less than 50% probability) proximately due to or the result of the veteran’s service connected condition. This is an unfavorable VA medical opinion.

What is a DBQ Medical Opinion Request?

DBQ Medical Opinion

A DBQ medical opinion request is a formal request from the VA for a C&P examiner to provide his/her medical opinion for service connection on the electronic version of the condition specific Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ).

For example, if you are a first-time filer for PTSD, the VA will order a C&P exam from a Psychologist or Psychiatrist using the PTSD Initial DBQ form.

At your C&P exam for PTSD, the examiner will either make or confirm a diagnosis of PTSD (or other mental health condition), give their medical opinion for service connection (“at least as likely as not” or “less likely than not”), decide your current level of occupational and social impairment, and determine your current severity of symptoms for VA rating purposes.

5 Types of VA DBQ Medical Opinions

Generally, there are 5 types of VA DBQ medical opinion requests:

#1. DBQ medical opinion for direct service connection

C&P examiner: Choose the statement that most closely approximates the etiology of the claimed condition.

a. The claimed condition was at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in[1]service injury, event, or illness. Provide additional rationale below.

b. The claimed condition was less likely than not (less than 50 percent probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in-service injury, event, or illness. Provide additional rationale below.

#2. DBQ Medical opinion for secondary service connection

a. The claimed condition is at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) proximately due to or the result of the veteran’s service connected condition. Provide additional rationale below.

b. The claimed condition is less likely than not (less than 50% probability) proximately due to or the result of the veteran’s service connected condition. Provide additional rationale below.

#3. DBQ medical opinion for aggravation of a condition that existed prior to service

a. The claimed condition, which clearly and unmistakably existed prior to service, was aggravated beyond its natural progression by an in-service injury, event, or illness. Provide further rationale below.

b. The claimed condition, which clearly and unmistakably existed prior to service, was clearly and unmistakable not aggravated beyond its natural progression by an in-service injury, event, or illness. Provide further rationale below.

#4. DBQ medical opinion for aggravation of a nonservice connected condition by a service connected condition

Can you determine a baseline level of severity of (claimed condition/diagnosis) based upon medical evidence available prior to aggravation or the earliest medical evidence following aggravation by (service connected condition)?

Yes or No

If yes, answer the following:

Describe the baseline level of severity of (claimed condition/diagnosis) based upon medical evidence available prior to aggravation or the earliest medical evidence following aggravation by (service connected condition):

Is the current severity of the (claimed condition/diagnosis) greater than the baseline?

Yes or No

If yes, was the veteran’s (claimed condition/diagnosis) at least as likely as not aggravated beyond its natural progression by the service connected condition.

#5. DBQ medical opinion regarding conflicting medical evidence

I have reviewed the conflicting medical evidence and am providing the following opinion.

For example, the C&P examiner may write something like “I am unable to give a medical opinion without resorting to mere speculation.”

Can I Use a Privately Prepared DBQ for My VA Claim?

Yes, a private healthcare provider can complete a DBQ for a veteran pursuing VA disability benefits using one of the public use DBQ forms.

  • If you submit a privately prepared DBQ that’s deemed adequate for rating purposes, the VA should not order a separate C&P exam—doing so is called “overdevelopment” and the VA Rater (RVSR) can be penalized.
  • If you do not submit a privately prepared DBQ, the VA should order a C&P exam for that condition, whereby a C&P examiner will complete the electronic version of the condition specific DBQ for you on behalf of the VA.

Important: A C&P examiner will give his/her medical opinion. A veteran may also submit medical evidence from a private provider, which is called an independent medical opinion. Both are generally acceptable for rating purposes.

Conclusion and Wrap-Up

A DBQ medical opinion request is an official inquiry made by the VA for a Compensation and Pension (C&P) examiner to give his/her medical opinion regarding service connection for the specific condition you filed for.

The examiner will provide his/her medical opinion through the electronic version of the Disability Benefit Questionnaire (DBQ) that corresponds to the relevant condition.

For instance, if you are a first-time applicant seeking benefits for Anxiety and Depression, the VA will schedule a C&P examination with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist.

During this examination, the examiner will assess and diagnose Anxiety and Depression or any other related mental health conditions.

Additionally, they will provide their medical opinion on the likelihood of the condition being connected to your military service (“at least as likely as not” or “less likely than not”).

They will also evaluate the current level of impairment in your occupational and social functioning and determine the severity of your symptoms for the purpose of assigning a VA rating.

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).

Related Articles

2025 va special monthly compensation rates

2025 VA SMC Rates & Charts

July 24, 2024

The 2025 VA Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) rates are projected to increase by 2.7%, effective December 1, 2024, with payments starting on January 1, 2025. These updated rates provide... continue reading
2025 VA Disability Payment Schedule

2025 VA Disability Payment Schedule

July 23, 2024

When will my monthly 2025 VA disability compensation payment hit my bank account? For all VA disability compensation benefits, payments are made on the first business day of the following... continue reading

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Ambassadors having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call