Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

What are DBQs and How Can You Use Them to Develop Your VA Disability Case?

What are DBQs and How Can You Use Them to Develop Your VA Disability Case?

DBQ is an acronym for Disability Benefits Questionnaire. DBQs are downloadable forms created by the VA for veterans to use to help develop and gather needed evidence to prove claims for VA disability compensation. The VA has developed more than 70 DBQs covering many different medical conditions. Some DBQs cover specific conditions such as hypertension or prostate cancer, while other DBQs can be used for multiple related conditions such as kidney conditions, heart conditions, etc. DBQs can be accessed on the VA website at http://benefits.va.gov/disabilityexams.

The DBQs are intended to be a streamlined way for the VA to evaluate a veteran's medical conditions, the severity of those conditions, and any resulting limitations. The VA has indicated that the format of the DBQ allows decision makers to more efficiently decide a veteran's entitlement to a particular rating percentage for a disease or condition as the language and check boxes in the DBQ track the language directly related to the specific disability rating. DBQs can be particularly helpful in a claim being processed under the Fully Developed Claim process.

Many veterans ask who can complete a DBQ on their behalf. A DBQ must be completed, signed, and attested to by a medical provider with an active medical license. A DBQ can be completed by a private medical doctor or a Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinician.

Of course, if a veteran is asking his or her physician to complete a DBQ, the physician may also have questions. Oftentimes, medical providers ask why a veteran would need a DBQ when the physician has already provided a copy of the veterans regularly kept medical records. Though a physician's medical records may be thorough, the record itself may not address a piece of information that the VA needs to be able to properly and accurately evaluate a veteran's case. In addition, the DBQ streamlines the questions with the key language needed and does not contain long summaries as some medical records do; thus, shortening the amount of time needed for review.  Another question many doctors may have is whether a DBQ can be completed during a regular medical appointment? Most DBQs can be completed in a short amount of time within a regular appointment. The VA has estimated the respondent burden from anywhere between 15 minutes to 1 hour depending on the complexity of the particular veteran's medical conditions.

If you are a veteran who has filed for VA disability benefits and needs help navigating the appeal process, call the experienced veterans' disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. at 251-343-1111 today for a free case evaluation. The disability attorneys at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. help veterans throughout the Gulf Coast area, including, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana with regard to establishing service connection for claimed conditions, establishing entitlement to higher compensation ratings, and establishing entitlement to individual unemployability.

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