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VA Sleep Apnea Disability Benefits

Medical experts have linked military service to sleep disorders like sleep apnea. As a result, the VA provides disability benefits to veterans with certain sleep disorders if they can prove a connection of their disability to their military service.

Veterans who experience insomnia, sleep apnea and other sleeping disorders should contact a medical professional for treatment and diagnosis. Any veteran who wishes to make a VA sleep apnea claim needs to prove to the Veterans Administration that they have a sleep disorder, and also prove that their condition is service related. Medical documentation is essential to winning a VA Disability Benefit.

The Lyon Firm can assist veterans make sense of the VA Disability Benefit process. The VA claims can be a burden to many veterans, and far too complex, particularly when a claim is denied. Completing the VA forms correctly and meeting deadlines can be the difference between a lifetime of VA benefits and a lifetime struggle to make ends meet.

The best path to getting VA Sleep Apnea Disability Benefits is to file a claim or appeal correctly the first time. Many veterans get free help from those who may mean well, but do not fully understand the process.

Joe Lyon is a VA claims attorney reviewing VA Sleep Apnea Claims for veterans with sleep disorders nationwide.

Veteran Sleep Disorders & PTSD

Sleep Disorders like sleep apnea may be caused by service-related conditions like some mental health conditions and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Any veteran who has trouble sleeping, due to PTSD may qualify for PTSD VA Disability Benefits, and potentially VA sleep disorder benefits. Added stress, anxiety, depression and the use of PTSD medications can lead to insomnia.

Depression is not uncommon for many veterans who leave the military service. Depression may be causing a sleep disorder, or a sleep disorder may be exacerbating existing depression. Mental anguish and physical pain are two common reasons that many veterans develop a sleep disorder. Insomnia can also be service-connected if it is caused by mental health issues and physical disabilities.

Pain medication can also lead to trouble sleeping. If you have been prescribed a medication for a service-connected injury or mental disorder and develop sleeping problems, you may be eligible for additional VA Disability Benefits.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a common sleep disorder in which a person’s breathing stutters or ceases during sleep. The cause of these sleep disturbances can vary, though the military accepts that service trauma can be linked to sleep disorders.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a common sleeping disorder which occurs when the upper airway constricts throughout the night. This blockage is caused when tissue in the back of the throat relaxes, and then impairs airflow. Central sleep apnea occurs when the brain’s signals that control breathing are interrupted. Veteran Sleep Apnea can be a combination of obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can cause veterans to use c-pap machines and other treatments. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders can be very disruptive, and can affect almost every aspect of a waking life. Fortunately, treatments and VA sleep apnea compensation is available.

VA Sleep Apnea Disability Rates

The VA has assigned Sleep apnea rates under 38 CFR § 4.97, Diagnostic Code 6847, which is based on the severity of each veteran’s sleep apnea:

  • 100 percent disability: chronic respiratory failure and carbon dioxide retention, resulting in the need for a tracheostomy, or the enlargement or failure of the right side of the heart.
  • 50 percent disability: veteran requires the use of a breathing device, such as a C-PAP.
  • 30 percent disability: veteran experiences chronic daytime drowsiness that does not improve with sufficient sleep times or napping.
  • No disability: veteran’s sleep disorder produces no symptoms or disability.

The Lyon Firm can help win your VA sleep disorder disability compensation claim. It may be possible to win an appeal or claim on your own, though veterans risk waiting at least one year to apply again for benefits.

To avoid a long delay or a denial of VA benefits, contact an experienced VA Disability lawyer today.

Should I Trust VSOs?

Veterans Service Organizations, or VSOs, can be authorized to act on your behalf to file benefit claims with the government. Many veterans contact VSOs when their claims are denied. VSOs may include, among others, DAV, AMVETS, the American Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Veterans who need VA benefit claims assistance may want to speak with a VSO and also contact an attorney to weigh the costs and benefits of both.

Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Sleep apnea occurs when a person experiences abnormal pauses in breathing, or very low breathing, during sleep. Pauses in breathing can be a few seconds or even minutes, and may occur multiple times an hour, ultimately depriving the body of a safe supply of oxygen.

Sleep apnea can cause fatigue, increased blood pressure, and risk of various cardiac anomalies such as atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Types of Sleep Apnea can include:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, when the tongue collapses against the soft palate and the palate collapses against the back of the throat.
  • In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe.
  • Complex sleep apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the above two conditions. The patient’s sleep is extremely fragmented and poor quality. This disorder drastically reduces the oxygenation of the blood.

Can I File a Sleep Apnea Claim?

You can file a VA sleep apnea disability claim up to 180 days before leaving the military service. According to the VA Web site, if you have 180-90 days left on active duty, you may be able to file a pre-discharge claim through the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program. This can speed up the claim process, and the ultimate goal is to get financial assistance and medical treatment as soon as possible.

If you have less than 90 days left on active duty, you cannot file your claim through the BDD program, though you can still file before you are discharged. You can also wait and file a claim for a disability that appears after you are discharged in a post-service claim. There is no time limit on filing a post-service claim, although the quicker a claim is filed, the better chance you have of receiving benefits.

Contact The Lyon Firm to learn more about your eligibility for VA sleep disorder claims as well as other benefits, that can include:

  • PTSD Benefits
  • TDIU Unemployability Benefits
  • Agent Orange Exposure Benefits
  • Veteran Hearing Loss Benefits
  • Veteran Mental Health Disorders
  • Veteran Head Injury Claims
  • Gulf War Disability
  • Military Radiation Exposure
  • Burn Pit Exposure Benefits
  • VA Asbestos Exposure Benefits
  • VA Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
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A Voice for Those who have suffered

Why are these cases important?

VA cases support those who sacrificed to serve our country. Many veterans experience severe implications due to their military experience, creating additional costs in quality of life beyond the years of military service. Veterans deserve quality support and legal counsel to receive compensation for the additional, and sometimes lifelong, suffering their duty caused. 

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VA Disability FAQ

What VA Disability benefits are available?

The following disability compensation benefits are available to Veterans:

Disability Compensation – a monthly monetary benefit paid to Veterans who are disabled by an injury or disease that was incurred in or aggravated by active military service. 

Automobile Allowance – financial assistance provided to help eligible severely disabled Servicemembers and Veterans purchase or adapt an automobile to accommodate their disabilities

Clothing Allowance – annual stipend(s) provided to disabled Veterans who have unique clothing needs as a result of a service-connected disability or injury.

Specially Adapted Housing/ Special Home Adaptation Grants – provides monetary benefits to adapt or obtain suitable housing for eligible severely disabled Veterans

Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (S-DVI) – provides life insurance coverage to Veterans who have been given a VA rating for a new service-connected disability in the last two years. Totally disabled Veterans are eligible for free insurance premiums and have the opportunity to purchase additional insurance  

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) – provides mortgage life insurance protection to disabled Veterans who have been approved for a VA Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) Grant

Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) – provides educational and training services to Veterans with service-connected illnesses and injuries to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment

Education Assistance – provides education benefits to Veterans to assist with obtaining a degree or with pursuing other eligible education and training

Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA) – provides assistance to survivors or dependents of Veterans to obtain a degree


Am I eligible for VA Disability Benefits?

Disability compensation is a monthly benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty or active duty for training. A disability can apply
to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee
condition, as well as a mental health conditions,
such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
If you were on inactive duty for training, the
disability must have resulted from injury, heart
attack, or stroke. Your discharge from service must
have been under other than dishonorable conditions.
Compensation varies depending on the degree of
your disability. 

If you have dependents, an additional allowance
may be added if your combined disability is rated
30% or greater. Your compensation may be offset
if you receive military retirement pay, disability
severance pay, or separation incentive payments.

What are presumptive veteran disabilities?

VA presumes that some disabilities are due to
military service. You may be eligible to receive
service-connected disability benefits if you have
a qualifying disability associated with certain
conditions of service, such as:

» Former Prisoners of War
» Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange
» Gulf War Veterans with undiagnosed illnesses
and medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illnesses.

What is a “service-connected” disability?

A service-connected disability is related to an injury or disease that developed during or was aggravated while on active duty or active duty for training. VA also pays disability compensation for disabilities resulting from injury, heart attack, or stroke that occurred during
inactive duty training.

What compensation can i expect?

VA disability benefits depend on your level of disability and stats of dependents. You can calculate what you think you may deserve at the VA Web site:

Are VA Disability Benefits for life?

You can be eligible for VA benefits for as long as your service-related injury or disability is assigned to a compensable rating by the VA.