Beware of VA’s Desire To Reduce Compensation Benefits
By USVCP Staff
June 4, 2018
A thorough review of disability examinations are often requested by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to check the severity of service-connected disabilities. VA regulations point out specific timelines for “examination checks,” but, it is not a hard and fast rule, and, oftentimes, ignored by VA personnel. But, rest assured, it will happen at some point.
By law, VA should and will request a review exam under the following circumstances:
- VA needs to assess the severity of a disability;
- Additional or more relevant evidence indicates there has been an important and significant (or material) change in a disability; or
- Because of law, VA personnel are required to conduct a periodic review.
VA staff use review exams, and any other relevant evidence, to assess the severity of a disability.
The Examination Process
Oftentimes, a contracted medical professional or VA medical professional will conduct the disability review exam. The medical examiners and staff will not answer specific questions about benefits, pension program or compensation. Nor, will they consult with a veteran about the disability compensation process. Acting as a stoic conduit within strict bureaucratic protocol, the medical examiners methodically go through a set of procedures to assess disability conditions.
Typically, the examination is conducted in a medically approved facility, with the veteran and medical staff member. In very rare cases, VA personnel may decide that an examination by telephone would be the most appropriate route.
The Role of The Medical Examiner
The medical examiner will often conduct the following procedures:
- Ask a veteran questions related to the disability in question;
- Perform a physical exam related to the disability;
- If multiple disability conditions are to be examined the medical examiner will conduct one examine at-a-time;
- Send the veteran for lab work, which may include: blood work, X-rays, MRI, etc.;