Veterans' Evaluation Services
Your service matters. You have the right to have the impact of your service and sacrifice recognized.
Austin-Small Consulting has completed thousands of evaluations for veterans in all stages of disability proceedings. Let our experience help you. Dr. Austin-Small has undergone training and certification in conducting veterans exams through the Veterans Administration.
Attorneys and veterans are welcome to call or email regarding cases, and will always be able to speak to Dr. Austin-Small directly and privately.
Evaluations are comprehensive and always include the following elements:
1. Full social history
2. Full military history, in detail, reviewing all personnel records and significant events.
3. Work history, including the impact of mental health on work functioning, career trajectory, and loss of work.
4. Medical history
5. Detailed psychiatric history, including full records review and rebuttal to prior opinions in required
6. Substance abuse history
7. Full mental status exam, including specialty interviews like CAPS-5, if required
8. Psychological testing as appropriate to the case
9. Diagnotic impression and connection to service
10. Impairment level using VA rating system, with detailed examples, and comment on employability
11. Prognosis, recommendations for further care.
Dr. Austin-Small is an independent medical examiner. This means he reviews evidence, including service records, and conducts a clinical interview to determine whether a connection between service and a veterans condition exists. Exams are not guarantees of service connection or any specific disability level.
Types of Veteran Evaluations
A nexus evaluation, sometimes called a nexus letter or initial DBQ, establishes a link between service and a psychiatric disorder. This could be a direct link, such as combat trauma and subsequent PTSD. However, psychiatric conditions can also be secondary conditions. For example, depression can result from loss of livelihood or disability from knee injuries.
Once a psychiatric condition is determined service-connected, an impairment level is decided by the VA. Veterans have the right to have their impairment level reviewed or re-assessed as their circumstances change. An increase exam evaluates how a psychiatric condition effects day-to-day choices, behavior, and functioning to determine the most accurate current level of impairment.
Appeals or Second Opinions
VA exam findings and Board decisions may not always reflect the full picture of the veteran's disability or the impact it has on their daily life. An appeal evaluation or second opinion is likely required. This is a full evaluation that addresses nexus concerns and current functioning, while also reviewing and addressing incomplete or inaccurate information from prior findings.
Sometimes a specific report is required outside of the common situations above. This includes specialty post-mortem evaluations, which may evaluate functioning prior to death or whether the veteran's mental health condition played a role in their passing.