Erie VA Medical Center
Compensation & Pension
What is Compensation and Pension (C&P) at the Erie VA?
Erie VA Medical Center provides over 1,600 C&P exams every year for the Regional Office in Pittsburgh. The Erie C&P clinic is staffed with Medical Doctors, a Physician Assistant, Nurse Practitioners, a Psychologist, and a Psychiatrist. In addition, the clinic's daily operation is overseen by a Registered Nurse and two Program Support Assistants who streamline scheduled appointments for each requested exam.
The Regional Office located in Pittsburgh, PA handles the disability ratings and will send the rating letter to the Veteran. The Regional Office accepts all denials and is responsible for notifying VHA for additional testing requirements. Erie VA only conducts the exams based on information in the record and what the Veteran exam shows.
How does a Veteran file a claim?
Step 1: Veterans will need to complete VA Form 21-562. This form can be downloaded from the VA website, www.ebenefits.va.gov. Once at the website, Veterans will need to Register or Create an Account. Creating an eBenefits account is important; the Veteran will be able to track the progress of his disability claim. Once an account is established, click on Apply for Benefits and follow the prompts to complete the form. In addition, the VA Form 21-562 can be completed by the Veteran, or a third-party Power of Attorney such as the American Legion, VFW, DAV, or your local VA Benefits office. The form can be emailed or mailed to the Regional Office.
Step 2: The completed VA Form 21-562 will need to be sent to the Regional Office in Pittsburgh. The mailing address is:
1000 Liberty Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Step 3: Regional Office will send the Veteran a letter notifying them that their claim has been accepted. The letter will include the eBenefits website for the Veteran to track the progress of their claim.
Step 4: Once the Regional Office reviews the Veteran's claim, they will send an examination request to the appropriate jurisdiction VHA/VAMC. This is determined by the Regional Office based on the Veteran's ZIP code. The purpose is to assign the Veteran to the closest facility; however, if the Veteran is a VA employee, they will be assigned to another VA facility for their exam.
Step 5: The appropriate VHA/VAMC or DEM Contractor will call the Veteran to arrange an examination appointment. Some Veterans may have several conditions and require multiple examinations in different specialty clinics; therefore, Erie's C&P staff attempts to schedule all appointments on the same day. This could mean the Veteran may be at the Erie VA for the entire day. The Veteran will be authorized travel pay to complete the exams.
The VA uses civilian contractors called DEM contractors. These professionals have been trained in the VA examination system and are authorized to complete certain types of exams. Ever attempt is made to schedule around the Veteran's needs and as close as possible to the Veteran's home.
What to expect during a C&P exam?
Step 6: The examiner's sole purpose is to provide the Veteran with the specific examination requested by the Veteran. Because most of the C&P exams are scheduled for 1-4 hours, these appointments are not for routine provider's questions. Therefore, the Veteran cannot be treated for any acute type illnesses, given medication prescriptions, or medical advice during the examination; however, the examiner may order additional testing such as PFTs, EMG, echocardiograms, labs, X-rays, or CT scans that provide additional medically significant evidence to the VA rating board.
It is important that the Veteran bring all non-VA care health records with them so the examiner can review the medical evidence from private providers. The examiner cannot base a medical opinion without supportive medical documentation: Medical records, X-rays, lab tests, CT/MRI scans, and hospitalization discharge summaries. The Veteran can go to the VA Release of Information Office (ROI), located on the second floor of the hospital to complete the ROI VA Form 10-5345, which will allow the VA to obtain these records for you. Veterans can download the the form, complete it, and fax to 814-860-2211. The Veteran will need to complete a separate form for each non-VA care provider. Once the provider's information has been obtained the records will be scanned into the Veteran's VA medical record.
Step 7: Once the exam is completed and all testing results have been reviewed, the examiner must enter their findings into the national medical database computer system. After all exams and results are uploaded into the system, the final report is release to the Regional Rating Office and a final rating determination is assigned.
Step 8: The Regional Office will send a letter with a final rating to the Veteran. The letter will instruct the Veteran of the final rating and appeal process if warranted. The Erie VA does not handle the rating; therefore, please address all questions to the phone number in the rating decision letter you receive.
Hours of Operation
- M-F 8:00a - 4:30p