Most Veterans understand they can receive VA disability benefits for conditions or injuries they sustained while in the military. However, most Veterans fail to recognize their sleeping disorders may be related to military service. One example of a sleeping disorder that may be linked to your military service is narcolepsy.
Veterans can receive VA disability compensation for narcolepsy if they can prove it was caused by their time in the military.
What is Narcolepsy?
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that impacts the brain’s ability to control sleep-wake cycles, leading to overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden sleep attacks. Veterans suffering from narcolepsy may feel rested after waking up, but often feel very tired throughout the day. They also often experience uneven sleep patterns and sleep disturbances throughout the night.
There are two different types of narcolepsy:
- Type 1 Narcolepsy – This type of narcolepsy is characterized by low levels of hypocretin (a brain hormone) or reporting cataplexy with excessive daytime sleepiness
- Type 2 Narcolepsy – This type of narcolepsy is characterized by normal levels of hypocretin, but the individuals’ still experience excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). However, the EDS is often not accompanied by weakness triggered by emotions.
According to NINDS, the symptoms associated with narcolepsy include
- Cataplexy – Sudden loss of muscle tone and voluntary muscle control while a person is awake. It is typically triggered by strong emotions.
- Sleep Paralysis – Inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. This typically lasts a few seconds or minutes.
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) – All individuals with narcolepsy experience some sort of EDS. It is often the most obvious symptom.
- Hallucinations – Vivid, frightening images that often accompany sleep paralysis.
- Insomnia – Difficulty staying asleep during the night.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with a local medical professional.
Getting VA Compensation for Narcolepsy
To receive VA compensation for narcolepsy, you must first get the condition service connected. To get service connected for narcolepsy, like all disabilities, a Veteran must prove three elements:
- They have a current medical diagnosis for their disability
- They have an in-service stressor or event that led to the disability
- They have a medical nexus linking their current disability to an in-service event or stressor
If a Veteran can prove all the elements listed above, they should receive VA compensation for their condition. Veterans can also receive disability compensation for conditions on a secondary basis.
Secondary Service Connection
Secondary service connection is a way for Veterans to receive additional VA disability compensation for conditions that were caused by an already service-connected disability. For example, let’s say your narcolepsy is service connected and you are currently receiving disability compensation for the condition. Then, your narcolepsy leads to another condition such as anxiety or depression. You can apply for disability compensation for these mental health conditions if you already receive VA compensation for narcolepsy and a medical professional confirms the conditions were caused by your narcolepsy.
How the VA Rates Narcolepsy
Because of the severe impact that narcolepsy can have on your life, Veterans are often given a high disability rating for narcolepsy. Remember, your rating is determined by the effect your condition has on your ability to function in everyday and work life. Narcolepsy is rated under diagnostic code 8108-8911 and is often given the base rating of 80%. If your symptoms are especially severe, you may receive a 100% rating for the condition.
America’s Veterans Law Firm
Berry Law is the American Veterans Law Firm, and your fire support team to battle the VA. We’ve helped thousands of Veterans successfully appeal unfavorable VA decisions to get the disability compensation they deserve. If you are suffering from sleep disorders that were caused by your military service, you are entitled to disability compensation from the VA. If you need assistance appealing a denied claim for a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy, Berry Law can help you appeal.
Contact Berry Law today to schedule a free case evaluation.