Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Coordinating a VA Disability Benefits Questionnaire

The major recently completed a DRO hearing and the DRO asked for a Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) from the major's specialist.

The Major and his wife traveled to VAMC after the hearing and talked to the specialists nurse. She said we had to coordinate the DBQ through the primary care doctor first. 

My primary care doctor is the northern part of the county. We then talked to her nurse and the staff appeared to be unaware of the DBQ process. 

Three weeks later I talked to the primary care doctor  about the DBQ. She did not understand she could either fill the DBQs out or forward it to the specialists office. She advised me to take the DBQs to C&P. She also wanted a blank DBQ.  Of course,  DBQs can be downloaded from a VA web site ( on the Internet. 

Again the DBQ is a wonderful improvement to the old way the VA had been doing business, 

So Rightardia checked to see how the DBQ is supposed to be coordinated. We got some surprises. 

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs DBQ FAQ, only the following is authorized to complete a DBQ?

Providers with active medical licenses must sign and attest to a medical condition on completed DBQs. The DBQ can be completed either by:
  • Veterans’ private treatment providers, or
  • Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinicians.
The FAQ further states:

Veterans have the option to take a DBQ to their private provider or Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinician for completion, but Veteran are responsible for any related co-pay or costs, including costs for travel or testing. (A Veteran is always entitled to an examination and any required testing at no charge for a scheduled compensation appointment that has been requested by VBA.)

Asking your primary care provider to complete a DBQ is no different than asking your provider to write a letter or note providing medical evidence of a medical condition in support of a claim. The same co-pay rules apply equally to both situations.

However, Rightrdia would point out the DBQ ask for more detail than you might include in a letter. It should prevent any requirement for additional letters from you doctor. 

Also note that the use of DBQs is not mandatory. Rightardia would suggest using this form is you want your claim resolved as quickly as possible. 

Since the major had gotten several letters form his primary care and specialist already, we had little difficulty getting three DBQ signed by private practice physicians in a two week period. 

However, we are still waiting for our VMAC specialist to sign his DBQ after three weeks because the primary care doctor had not forwarded the DBQ. 

Do you want to take a DBQ to C&P? In general, that is a bad idea. C&P is the main reason the DBQs were needed in the first place and many C&P doctors will damn you with faint praise during their cursory exams. Try to get the DBQ signed off by a hospital specialist who is medical doctor, board certified preferred. 

Be aware the term clinician includes Physicians assistance, nurse practitioners and medical doctors. Most have general medical backgrounds. 

If you have Tricare or Medicare, use a private practice physician whenever possible to complete the DBQs. These will get the job done faster! 

All of the DBQ that are available to Private physicians have been published. These DBQ can be found at on the VA website at: 

Some  DBQs are not available for use by private providers?
since There are no DBQs for the following medical examinations:
  • Initial Examination for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
  • Residuals of Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Cold Injury Residuals
  • Prisoner of War Examination Protocol
  • Gulf War Medical Examination
  • General Medical Examination for Compensation Purposes
  • General Medical Examination for Pension Purposes

How do you submit completed DBQs to VA?

A:  Veterans and/or their physicians may mail or securely fax completed DBQs to the VA Regional Office handling the Veteran’s claim. 

To find mailing addresses, visit the VBA website at: To find fax numbers, visit the VA website at   

Completed DBQs may also be submitted directly to the VA Regional Office. Submit them through the Veteran Assistance office. 

See the VA FAQ on the DBQ at

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