Veterans throughout the country are dealing with disabilities and illness related to service. One of the most common illnesses among Veterans is insomnia. According to an article published in the Clinical Psychological Review, 27-54% of Veterans have insomnia or display insomnia-like symptoms. For comparison, Veterans are two to three times more likely to develop insomnia than the United States civilian population. The study goes in further to explain that up to 2/3 of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans complain of insomnia like symptoms.
However, most Veterans do not realize they are entitled to VA disability for insomnia and other sleep related disorders if they can prove they were caused by service. In fact, insomnia can be rated anywhere from 0-100%, which means Veterans could receive up to $3,221.85 from the VA for their insomnia.
What is Insomnia?
Insomnia is described by WebMD as a sleep disorder where individuals have problems falling and staying asleep. Insomnia can be categorized based on how often a person displays symptoms:
- Acute – Short-term
- Chronic – Long-term
Acute insomnia can range anywhere from one night to a couple of weeks. Chronic insomnia occurs when somebody displays symptoms continually for 3+ nights a week for at least three months.
Insomnia can also be primary or secondary. Primary insomnia isn’t linked to other conditions while secondary insomnia is caused by another health condition.
Some common symptoms associated with insomnia include:
- Trouble concentrating or memory problems
What Causes Insomnia Among Veterans?
Veterans who are dealing with insomnia now can likely trace it back to service. According to WebMD, the most common causes of primary insomnia are high levels of stress, environmental factors like noise/light/temperature, and changes to your sleeping schedule. With this in mind, it is easy to see why a Veteran may develop primary insomnia. Veterans are regularly dealing with stress related to their line of work, they often are subject to environmental changes related to deployment, and it is common for their sleeping schedule to change often.
Perhaps more common among Veterans is secondary insomnia, which is caused by:
- Mental health issues (ie. PTSD, anxiety, depression)
- Pain at night
- Caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol use
- Other Sleep Disorders
Veterans are often receiving disability benefits for mental health issues like anxiety and PTSD, and they could receive VA disability for insomnia based on secondary service connection. Secondary service connection is used to provide Veterans with compensation for injuries or illnesses that were caused by a current disability.
Getting VA Disability for Insomnia
Veterans looking to receive VA disability for insomnia will need to get the disorder service connected. For primary insomnia, the Veteran must have:
- A current medical diagnosis of insomnia
- An in-service event or occurrence that caused the disability
- A nexus or medical opinion linking insomnia to the in-service event
If a Veteran can provide the VA with the three items listed, they should receive a disability rating for insomnia.
Veterans who have secondary insomnia can still receive disability benefits for their sleeping problems, and a secondary claim for insomnia is very common. For example, Veterans who were diagnosed with PTSD are likely dealing with sleep problems because of their past traumatic experiences. In fact, a Millennium Cohort Study found that 92% of active duty personnel with PTSD reported insomnia. The VA understands that Veterans should still receive VA compensation for insomnia and can grant service connection on a secondary basis.
So, if you have a service connected disability that is causing insomnia, you need to get a medical diagnosis stating that it is “at least as likely as not” that the primary disability is causing insomnia.
Veterans Disability Lawyers
Unfortunately, insomnia is very common among Veterans, especially those who are dealing with mental health issues related to service. Veterans are entitled to VA compensation for insomnia if they can prove it was caused by military service. If you have insomnia and were denied disability benefits by the VA, the Veterans disability lawyers at Berry Law can help you appeal.
Berry Law has helped thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable VA decisions, and they are committed to assisting Veterans in their fight for disability benefits. Berry Law was founded by a Vietnam Veteran and features attorneys from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Fight with a team of Veterans on your side. Contact Berry Law today for a free case evaluation.