Disabled veterans can use Disability Benefits Questionnaires, or DBQs, to process their disability compensation and pension claims. This option is for veterans who prefer to save time and not submit to the often dreaded C&P exam. There are pros and cons to DBQs, so speak with a New Orleans veterans benefits attorney before making a decision.
The DBQ is a form that can be downloaded from the VA website and submitted to a private physician. The VA uses the information in the form to determine a veteran’s disability. In most cases, the DBQ is used to rate a condition, or track the degree to which it has deteriorated. This, in turn, helps determine the benefits for which the veteran is eligible.
There are over 70 DBQs covering a wide range of medical conditions. Some DBQs relate to a specific condition, such as arthritis, hypertension, and prostate cancer. However, most forms can be used for multiple related medical issues, such as heart and kidney conditions.
Health care providers with active medical licenses must sign and attest to any medical condition listed on a DBQ. Those authorized to fill out a DBQ include a veteran’s private physician and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinicians. Note that some providers may decline to fill out a DBQ for professional reasons. In addition, some providers in specialty disciplines may decide not to fill out a DBQ.
The main advantage of using DBQs is that veterans have more control over their disability claims process. A VA doctor is not likely to be as familiar with your condition as your private physician. Rather than visiting a VA facility for an evaluation, you can see your own primary care provider. Being able to use your own provider means you can rely upon someone who understands your disability. This preserves the doctor-patient relationship that you and your physician have likely spent years building.
DBQs also help streamline and speed up the claims process. The forms use check boxes and standardized language, which make it easier and faster to receive a disability rating. Also, your doctor will likely convey your medical report more quickly to the VA, cutting down on wait time.
A DBQ can help ensure that sufficient medical information is provided. The VA has very specific rules for rating disability conditions. When insufficient data is provided via the C&P exam, the claim is returned to gather more information. This of course can delay the claims process. DBQs, used properly, record the necessary information for a veteran’s condition.
There are also downsides to using the DBQ, and situations where it may not be the best choice. DBQs are not available for every situation, including mental health conditions such as PTSD or traumatic brain injuries. Additionally, not every DBQ matches with the VA rating criteria. It is important for your doctor to compare your limitations to the rating criteria that covers your disability or illness.
Also, there’s no way for private doctors to bill insurance for a DBQ. Consequently, they do not always agree to do them unless they are paid upfront. This can get expensive for the veteran.
Lastly, while DBQs promise greater speed in the claims process, there’s no solid proof to back this up. However, many veterans who have used the DBQ report satisfaction with the time to process their claims.
Is A DBQ The Best Option For Your Disability Claim?
Any veteran who has had experience with the VA knows how long and complicated the claims process can be. It is not unusual for claims to take months or even years. The DBQ was developed as a solution to this problem, and there are reasons to use and not use one. Talk with a New Orleans disability attorney about your options and whether a DBQ is right for you. The team at Ascend Disability Lawyers, LLC is ready to help with your claim today.