Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) are forms used by VA physicians when performing C&P Exams for VA Disability. The purpose of a DBQ is to ensure that the physician performing the exam records all the information needed to properly rate a disabled veteran’s conditions.
The VASRD has very specific requirements for rating every condition, and if the required information is not properly recorded in the C&P Exam, the VA will have to send the claim back in order to gather the proper data, thus delaying the entire disability process. If properly used, DBQs prevent this delay by ensuring that the required information is always recorded for every condition.
For example, to rate a scar, the exact dimensions of the scar must be recorded. To ensure that this happens correctly, the Scar DBQ contains a section that prompts the physician to record every measurement needed to rate the scar.
There are more than 80 different DBQs. The majority of DBQs are for entire body parts or systems, like respiratory conditions, but there are a few specific conditions, like sleep apnea, that have their own DBQ. Similarly, there are some conditions that don’t really have a DBQ that fits quite right. For these, the physician can use the closest one or not use one at all. As long as the appropriate tests are performed and the correct information recorded, a DBQ is not essential. They are merely assistive devices.
The VA’s complete list of DBQs is divided into categories. To find the correct DBQ for your condition, first find the appropriate category. Then, if your specific condition is not listed, use the DBQ that is generic for that category. For example, if you have major depressive disorder, a psychological condition, you’ll find three different DBQs under the Psychological category: Eating Disorders, PTSD, and Mental Disorders (other). Major depressive disorder is not listed as having its own DBQ, so the DBQ for Mental Disorders (other) would be used.
If you have multiple conditions that fall under a single category, then they can all be listed on a single DBQ unless there is a separate one for a specific condition. So again using the psychological category as an example, if you have bulimia (an eating disorder), major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder, then your physician would fill out two DBQs: the Eating Disorder DBQ for the bulimia, and the Mental Disorders (other) DBQ for both of the other two.
If each of your conditions affects a different system or body part, then each condition will have its own DBQ.
Now it is important to note the DBQs are used for both disability and pension. Because of this, there is often information required on a DBQ that is not necessary for rating a particular condition for disability but is necessary for pension purposes. Regardless, as long as the DBQ is properly filled out, you should be good to go for your disability.
You can find the DBQs for your conditions by searching through the VA’s complete list of DBQs or by clicking on the links we provide at the bottom of each condition page on our site.