Here’s what the VA’s M21-1 Adjudication Procedures Manual says about doctors who are veterans themselves and evidence:
“VA cannot summarily discount otherwise competent medical evidence from a Veteran who is a physician or health care provider. DBQ reports completed by these individuals will be reviewed under the same criteria for reviewing DBQs submitted by a third-party health care provider. In effect, VA claims adjudicators must subject the evidence of record to some degree of scrutiny to determine its probative worth. It is improper in VA practice to “exclude” evidence. Decision makers must weigh the probative value of the evidence and discuss its probative value in the decision narrative. Note: Exercise the same weighing of probative value for internal-use DBQs that are completed by an external non-VA provider. Important: Ensure the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) – Veteran Provided DOCUMENT TYPE under VBMS UNSOLICITED EVIDENCE tab has been updated for DBQs submitted from non-VA providers. References: For more information on
- reviewing DBQs completed by health care providers, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, 3.D.2.d and e
- evidentiary concepts, see M21-1, Part III, Subpart iv, 5.A.2
- competent medical evidence, see
- written testimony submitted by the claimant, see 38 CFR 3.200(b), and
- case law supporting adequacy of examination completed by a Veteran-health care provider, see Pond v. West, 12 Vet.App. 341 (1999).”
See: https://www.knowva.ebenefits.va.gov/system/templates/selfservice/va_ssnew/help/customer/locale/en-US/portal/554400000001018/content/554400000015812/M21-1-Part-III-Subpart-iv-Chapter-3-Section-D-Examination-Reports?query=social%20worker#2h for more info.