Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs)
- DBQs are a relatively new tool that the VA uses to assess current level of disability.
- Veterans can submit DBQs filled out by their doctors in support of disability claims and/or to contradict a negative Compensation & Pension exam medical opinion.
- Veterans may ask their VA or non-VA doctors to complete these forms, but doctors are not obligated to do so.
- If possible, ask your doctor to review your claims file and give an opinion as to whether your current disability is related to an injury/event during your military service. This is the crucial medical nexus opinion that can make or break a claim for service-connected disability. There is a not a specific space for a medical nexus opinion on the DBQ, but your doctor can insert it into the “history of disability” or “comments” section.
- A DBQ completed by your treating doctor who knows your history and current level of disability can be very powerful evidence in your VA disability claim.
- Before, during, and after your claim for VA disability, it is very important to attend all scheduled medical appointments.
Private Medical Opinion
If you are unable to obtain a DBQ from your treating doctor, you may wish to pursue a private medical opinion. Private attorneys who handle VA claims generally have specific doctors that they can refer you to, but you may have to pay for the exam out of pocket.
You may submit lay statements from relatives, friends, or employers who have seen how your disabilities affect your work and personal life. This is not as strong as medical evidence, but the VA does consider lay statements in making disability determinations.
Physical Therapy Records
If you have been prescribed physical therapy, request the records from your initial assessment. Physical therapy records can be very detailed and show how your disability affects range of motion, repetitive movements, etc.