A DBQ, or “Disability Benefits Questionnaire,” is a standardized VA Form. Medical experts use DBQ’s to document the cause and severity of conditions listed on a VA claim. There are many DBQ’s available for many of the conditions most commonly claimed. When filing a claim for disability benefits, a DBQ can be submitted by your own medical expert. However, VA doctors also complete DBQ’s, free of charge, during C&P Examinations. Although treating VA doctors can complete DBQ’s, many do not. Veterans law attorneys and accredited representatives can help Veterans determine which option is best to support their claims.
If VA has scheduled a C&P examination for your claims, it is usually helpful to review the DBQ for your condition prior to attending the examination. You can view a list of all of the publicly available DBQs here. Even though a DBQ form contains most of the questions that will be asked during a C&P Examination, VA Regional Offices often as other questions to examiners in claims for veterans benefits.
Information Contained on a DBQ
A DBQ can contain a lot of information. Although some of the forms are fairly short, many DBQs are long and require medical examiners to conduct detailed examinations. For example, when examining DBQs for many joint conditions, such as the knees, you will see that examiners are required to make detailed calculations as to the joint’s ranges of motion. In addition, for many heart conditions, you will notice that examiners are required to take precise readings.
If you submit a questionnaire completed by a private doctor, independent medical examiner, or other professional, it is important to ensure all of the information has been documented correctly. It can be difficult to spot many errors if you have not been trained in Veterans law. It is often helpful for the professional to be in touch with the Veteran’s representative. The representative can ensure all of the necessary information is provided prior to submission to VA. Clear communication between the Veteran, advocate, examiner, and VA is critical for a quickly processing a successful claim.
Preparing a DBQ
If you attend a C&P examination, your local VA regional office will provide a copy of the DBQ to your examiner. VA Regional Offices determine which questionnaire needs to be completed based upon the information submitted with the claim form. This can include any information already in your VA C-File. This also may include your military records, but it is important to ensure VA has received all of your records. It is important to correctly identify all of your applicable theories of service connection when filing your claims form. This allows the VA Regional Office to request the correct DBQ from your examiner. Sometimes, VA requests the wrong examination for the claimed conditions.
If you choose to submit a DBQ completed by your private doctor or an independent medical examiner, it is important to ensure you’ve selected the correct questionnaire for each of your claimed conditions. If you do not select the correct forms, or if your doctor or independent examiner do not correctly complete the forms, VA may order a C&P exam to correct whatever deficiencies they find.
However, VA regional offices sometimes order examinations even if you submit a DBQ completed by a private doctor. Sometimes VA makes a mistake when doing this. However, sometimes the physician may not have provided all of the correct information. When this happens, it is important to discuss with an attorney or a credited representative whether you should actually attend C&P exam. Often times, VA will order a new examination if the evidence you submit does not answer a critical question at the heart of your case. It is important to attend the C&P Examination to ensure the record is complete.
If VA Denies Your Claims, You Should Appeal
If you submit a DBQ with a positive nexus opinion, and VA denies your claim, an experienced veteran’s law attorney maybe able to assist you with appealing your denial. Veteran Esquire Legal Solutions, PLLC, stands ready to assert your due process rights. The firm represents Veterans and their families nationwide. Please click here to contact a Veterans Law attorney and schedule a free consultation today.