Veterans Affairs Compensation for Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea is a common occurrence among veterans. In fact, veterans are four times more likely than other Americans to develop sleep apnea. Both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have been found to increase the chances of a veteran developing some type of sleep disorder. A sleep disorder can often lead to other health problems in the future, such as heart attacks or strokes. Therefore, it’s important for veterans who regularly have trouble sleeping to file a claim with the VA and receive the benefits they deserve.

Sleep apnea is a common occurrence among veterans.

At Berry Law Firm, our experienced VA benefits attorneys represent veterans throughout the United States. We are committed to providing quality and effective legal representation to the men and women who have served our country and sacrificed their safety in the line of duty. At the very least, our veterans are entitled to the benefits and compensation they deserve.

Types of Sleep Disorders
and Their Symptoms

Sleep disorders can be caused by blunt trauma to the head or psychological and mental disorders. Sometimes they can also be caused by physical disabilities. Types of sleep disorders include:

  • Insomnia: Sufferers have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep for more than a few hours. This can lead to drowsiness, irritability and a depressed mood.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This condition causes breathing to stop during sleep, either for a few seconds or several minutes. Sleep apnea causes fatigue, slow reflexes and eventually can impact the heart—leading to heart problems such as arrhythmia and cardiac arrest.
  • Narcolepsy: Those suffering from this condition are extremely fatigued during daytime hours, no matter how many hours they slept the night before. This disorder causes abrupt daytime unconsciousness and cataplexy, an episodic loss of muscle function ranging from sagging facial muscles to physical collapse.
  • Daytime somnolence or excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS): This condition is linked to each of the disorders listed above, but can be diagnosed on its own. Persons with EDS feel very drowsy during the day and often feel compelled to take naps at inappropriate times.

How to Obtain VA Disability Compensation for a Sleep Disorder

The first step in obtaining VA disability benefits is to show the VA that your disability is related to or began during your military service. To accomplish this, a veteran’s claim and the evidence that the VA develops must show three things: (1) that the veteran has a current disability, (2) an in-service injury or illness, and (3) a connection between the current disability and the in-service injury or illness.

In the case of sleep disorders, many veterans may have started experiencing symptoms during their time in service. Many veterans, for example, develop severe snoring during service, or are told by roommates or significant others that they stop breathing in their sleep. These can be symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea that continues to progress after a veteran’s service.

Many times, the veteran did not seek treatment for sleep issues during service because at the time they didn’t realize that they had a sleep disorder. In these cases, it can be difficult to gather the evidence a veteran needs to be service-connected for their sleep disorder.
The experienced attorneys at Berry Law Firm understand the requirements of VA law and regulations and know what kinds of evidence the VA looks for in deciding claims for VA disability benefits for sleep disorders. If the VA has denied your claim for benefits for a sleep disorder, contact us today and let us review your file.

How the VA Assigns Disability Ratings for Sleep Disorders

Once a veteran proves that their sleep disorder is related to military service, the VA will determine the veteran’s monthly compensation amount based on a complex series of rating criteria set forth in VA regulations.

The most common sleep disorder we see in veterans is obstructive sleep apnea. Disability ratings for sleep apnea are assigned at 0, 30, 50, or 100 percent.

If sleep apnea causes disordered breathing but no other symptoms, the veteran will be assigned a 0 percent rating, meaning the veteran will not receive any monthly payment amount for sleep apnea.

If the veteran experiences persistent excessive sleepiness during the day, he or she will receive a 30 percent rating.

Use of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device will entitle a veteran to an automatic 50 percent rating.

And finally, if the veteran’s sleep apnea causes chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or if their sleep apnea requires tracheostomy, then a 100 percent rating will be awarded.

Click here to learn more about how to increase your disability rating.

 

Contact Us to See if You Can Increase Your Sleep Apnea Compensation

Veteran sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are becoming more and more common. If you are suffering from any of the sleep disorders mentioned above and have been denied a disability claim by the VA, please call (888) 682-0786 or contact us online today for a free consultation. We proudly represent veterans in all 50 states.

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