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The Use of an ACE Exam in the VA Disability Claim Process

Are you a veteran filing for disability benefits? If so, you may have heard of the ACE Exam, and you might be wondering how it fits into the VA Disability Claim process. In this blog post, we will explain what the ACE Exam is, how it’s used in determining your VA Disability Rating, and what you can expect if you need to take this examination. Knowing the details of the ACE Exam can help you better prepare for your VA Disability Claim process and give you peace of mind during an already stressful time. Read on to learn more!

What is an ACE Exam 

An ACE Exam means Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) exam, it is an electronic medical records review conducted by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). This type of examination is used to assess a veteran’s mental and physical conditions when filing for VA disability benefits. It involves reviewing existing medical evidence, such as hospital records, doctor’s notes, and any other relevant documents that are submitted along with the disability claim. The goal of an ACE Exam is to determine the severity of a veteran’s disabilities and assign a VA disability rating accordingly.

Which Conditions Can an ACE Exam Cover

An ACE Exam can cover a wide range of disabling conditions, including:

  • hearing loss
  • tinnitus
  • migraine (headaches)
  • sleep apnea
  • cardiac conditions
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • any terminal condition.

Other Scenarios When an ACE Exam May be Used

In addition to covering the conditions listed above, an ACE Exam may also be used in other scenarios when existing medical evidence is adequate for a clinical examiner to assess the level of impairment per the claimed condition’s Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ). This might include cases where a medical opinion is needed to determine whether a disability was incurred or aggravated in service or to assess the relationship between a claimed disability and a service-connected disability. Additionally, an ACE Exam is often used to determine if a disability incurred or aggravated by military service caused or contributed to a veteran’s death.

Is an ACE Exam a C&P Exam?

An ACE Exam is a type of C&P Exam or Compensation and Pension (C&P) Examination. The ACE exam process involves a review of existing medical evidence by a qualified VA health care provider to determine the severity of the disability for VA Disability Rating purposes. Unlike traditional C&P Exams, which involve an in-person medical examination, an ACE Exam is conducted solely by reviewing the necessary electronic medical records. The purpose of the ACE Exam is to assess a veteran’s mental and physical conditions based on the submitted evidence. The ACE examiner will review available evidence such as hospital records, doctor’s notes, or any other medical documents that are relevant to the veteran’s disability claim and make a determination as to the veteran’s disability rating.

What Evidence is Reviewed by the ACE Examiner

When conducting an ACE Exam, the C&P Examiner will review evidence such as hospital records, doctor’s notes, lab results, and any other medical documents that are relevant to the veteran’s disability claim. It is important for the veteran to provide all necessary evidence, including military service information and any available medical records, to ensure an accurate assessment of the veteran’s condition. An ACE exam can also involve a telephone interview if additional information is needed to make a determination. The telephone interview would be at the discretion of the C&P Examiner and may not be necessary in all cases.

Review Your Submitted Evidence Prior to an ACE Exam

The ACE Exam process is an important part of the VA benefits claims process, and it is important for veterans to provide adequate evidence to ensure a fair and accurate disability rating. Veterans should review all submitted evidence prior to the ACE Exam, as the C&P Examiner will be making a determination based on this information. Check that all relevant documents, such as hospital records and doctors’ notes, are included in the submitted evidence. If any additional information is needed to make a determination, it should be provided prior to the ACE Exam. Additionally, veterans should ensure that their electronic medical records are up to date-and accurate, as these will be used to assess the severity of the disability.

Expect to be Contacted by ACE Examiner

Under the ACE Exam process, a C&P Examiner will review all necessary electronic medical evidence in order to make an accurate determination of a veteran’s disability rating. As part of this process, a C&P Examiner may call the veteran for a telephone interview to gain additional information and ensure accuracy. Veterans should be prepared for this potential contact and review their evidence prior to the ACE Exam in order to ensure that all necessary medical documentation is included.

The Use of the DBQ in the ACE Exam

The Disability Benefits Questionnaire, or DBQ, is a form used by the VA to document information gathered in veterans’ medical examinations. The DBQ is an important tool in the ACE Exam process and can help ensure the accuracy of disability rating decisions. The C&P Examiner will use the information provided on the DBQ to assess a veteran’s disability rating. Additionally, the DBQ can help lessen the burden on veterans by providing a detailed description of their condition that can be used to make a determination without an in-person examination.

Contact VCS If You Have Questions on an ACE Exam

If you have any questions about the ACE Exam process or are unsure of what evidence to submit, contact VCS for assistance. Our team of experienced claim coaches can help you submit the necessary evidence to ensure a fair and accurate disability rating determination. Contact VCS today for assistance with your VA disability claim. By working with VCS, you can be assured that your claim will receive the best possible outcome.


1. Can the ACE process be used to provide medical opinions?

The ACE process can provide medical opinions for a variety of different patient cases. It is especially useful for providing a new opinion as well as clarifying a previous medical evaluation or opinion. The ACE process can be used to evaluate patient health, examine test results, and assess whether treatments are effective.

2. When can the ACE process not be used?

The ACE process is not appropriate for certain types of medical examinations. These include all exams that require an examiner to review electronic medical records such as Separation Health Assessments (SHAs) in support of IDES and BDD claims, exams ordered by the Board of Veterans Appeals or Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, general medical examinations, initial and review traumatic brain injury (TBI) exams, and mental disorder examinations.

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