- While conducting exam, the medical examiner will pay very close attention to how the veteran reacts to certain procedures;
- At the conclusion of the exam, sometimes the medical examiner is required to go over the veterans medical file with him/her;
- In some instances, if the veteran is accompanied by someone familiar with the disability the veteran is having examined, the medical examiner may ask that person questions related to the disability being examined.
Important to understand that the medical examiner is not involved in making a rating decision about the disability. The medical examiners’ job is simply to conduct the examination based upon certain set of criteria established by VA. However, the words the examiner uses in describing the examination review, may ultimately affect the thinking of the VA rater and how a disability is to be perceived. The medical examiner may select words and sentence structures that may be perceived in a way that a reduction in compensation benefits is necessary, or that an increase is appropriate or no change at all is necessary.
Based on a thorough review of the disability examined, VA raters may issue a new or updated medical decision and contact the veteran by mail. After the decision has been made, VA will do 1 of 3 possible outcomes:
- The veteran’s disability rating will remain unchanged;
- It was concluded that the disability has worsened and an increase in compensation benefits may be approved. If not approved for an increase it will be annotated in a veteran’s disability file that an increase was not warranted, but the worsening of the disability condition has been recorded and recognized;
- The disability has improved significantly enough that a reduction in compensation benefits may be appropriate at this time.
Never Miss An Appointment
If a veteran misses a review exam, it may negatively affect the outcome of any potential increase in compensation benefits. The veteran should always call their VA Regional Office (VARO) to reschedule their appointment as soon as reasonably possible once they realize they won’t make it to the scheduled review exam. Harsh, but true, if a veteran misses an exam without details as to why, VA may be required by law to propose an immediate reduction in the disability that was to be examined or an immediate termination of compensation benefits for that specific disability.