In April 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced VA to suspend in-person compensation & pension exams (C&P). Now, those Veterans whose C&P exams were put on hold are welcome to come back in for their appointments.
In July 2020, VA resumed in-person C&P exams at limited locations where it was safe to do so. As of today, VBA has authorized its vendors to schedule in-person exams in all 50 states and 33 locations outside of the continental United States.
VA has worked with health professionals and followed Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance to ensure all exams follow strict protocols and procedures; the safety of Veterans and medical staff during these exams is our highest priority. All exam providers have robust safety measures in place to protect Veterans. From personal protective equipment and temperature checks to requiring masks and conducting COVID screening, providers are working hard to keep Veterans safe.
Exams and claims processing
Once scheduled, Veterans are highly encouraged to attend their C&P exams. Doing so allows their claims to move to the next step in the decision process, getting them closer to a decision. Claims with pending exams are placed on hold until an exam can be completed. Attending the C&P exam is an easy way that Veterans can ensure their claim moves closer to getting decided.
When in-person exams are not possible, some Veterans can still be seen through tele-C&P exams. In certain instances, Veterans can also have their disability claims reviewed using medical records already in their files through the Acceptable Clinical Evidence exam process.
For Veterans still not comfortable attending their C&P exams, VBA will not deny claims based on a lack of information, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, during the period of national emergency, VBA will not make any decision on a claim without an exam if the Veteran continues to have concerns about COVID-19 exposure. We will hold these exams and claims until the Veteran is ready to proceed with the claim process.
As we continue the fight against COVID-19, please know that the safety of Veterans is of utmost importance. If you have any questions regarding VA exam safety, you can find out more information here.