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How Do You Prove Sleep Apnea Is Service Connected

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How Might Sleep Apnea Be Related To Post

How To Link Sleep Apnea To Service Connected PTSD – Sleep Apnea Secondary To PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition that occurs in individuals who have witnessed a distressing, traumatic, or shocking event. Many active servicemembers and veterans develop PTSD as a result of experiencing or witnessing something traumatic during their active-duty service.

Common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Re-experiencing trauma through intrusive thoughts, recurrent memories, flashbacks, and nightmares
  • Difficulty sleeping and concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships

These symptoms can be debilitating and could have a negative impact on a veterans life.

Studies indicate that individuals who suffer from PTSD have an increased risk of developing sleep apnea. Additionally, the more severe a persons PTSD is, the more severe their sleep apnea could be. There is a strong correlation between PTSD and sleep apnea in veterans, as many factors that could aggravate PTSD could also aggravate sleep apnea.

Ask A Lawyer What You Need To Know About Filing A Sleep Apnea Claim As A Veteran

Jan Dils, a seasoned veterans disability lawyer, is here to help you if you are struggling through the disability benefits process for sleep apnea. Our team is committed to helping former servicemembers fight for their right to receive disability compensation after serving our country. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and to hear how we could help you today.

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The Best Path To Proving Sleep Apnea Is Service Connected

I told you at the beginning I want to change your thinking.

I dont want you to think about the EASY way to Service Connect Sleep Apnea anymore. I want you to think about the BEST path to proving that sleep apnea is service connected, and the BEST way to get the VA sleep apnea disability rating you are entitled to.

Here are the ingredients to a properly developed claim for sleep apnea:

*A solid foundation of Lay and Medical Evidence showing when sleep apnea first began to present in the Veterans life

*A good medical understanding of the unique CAUSE/ORIGIN of YOUR sleep apnea.

* A good Lay and Medical presentation and assessment of the sleep apnea symptoms you have had from service, or service-discharge, to the present day.

* A 5-Star medical opinion, resting on 5-Star Lay and Medical Evidence, that demonstrates HOW your Sleep Apnea is related to military service.

* 5- Star Lay and Medical Evidence that show you your VA Sleep Apnea disability affects your daily life.

Those are the ingredients. How you mix them is the hard part.

Its one thing to give you the ingredients for a chocolate cake. Its an entirely different thing to mix those ingredients so that they turn into a cake.

Thats what you REALLY need you need the RECIPE for proving that sleep apnea is service connected.

Recommended Reading: What Does High Oxygen Variation During Sleep Mean

How Respiratory Illnesses Are Evaluated By The Va

Respiratory illnesses are rated according to the VA Schedule of Ratings Disabilities under Section 4.97, diagnostic codes 6502 to 6847. Diseases listed in the schedule for which you can receive compensation include:

  • sinusitis
  • aphonia
  • rhinitis
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • tuberculosis
  • pulmonary vascular disease
  • bacterial infections in the lungs, and
  • cancer, and
  • sleep apnea.

Some common types of respiratory illnesses for veterans and their ratings are discussed in detail below.

Medication You Take For Ptsd Depression And Other Mental Health Disorders

Sleep apnea explained signs

Sleep apnea is NOT a presumptive condition You must have a nexus from your doctor first with a good rationale before you even file this claim.

You need to address this claim right from the start, if you have other issue at you are rated for at can also cause or add to the cause of sleep apnea you combin them all togather.

Read the guide on secondary service conection and than look at the one example of the NOD using the Sleep apnes. If you have an issue of chronic pain in your legs and not able to walk long and you are on pain and other meds for it, you add that into the claim too. You would not just the meds for the PTSD but everything you are rated for when you file.

Preparing your claim

A claim for veterans disability compensation on sleep apnea, secondary to medication taken for the treatment of PTSD and or other mental health disorders, should have all elements completed before you file.

You will be filing a Fully Developed Claim with your VA Regional Office . This allows them to process your claim faster. However, if any evidence is missing, no matter what the reason, it will be left out of consideration when your FDC is reviewed to make a decision. You can tell the VARO that you have more eveidence and this will now take your claim out of the FDC track and slow it down.

Preparing for your examination by a doctor

Here is a checklist of things you will want to bring with you and show your doctor:

Get someone in your corner when you appeal

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Filing For Va Disability Benefits We Can Help

Sleep apnea can affect every aspect of your life, from your ability to work to your overall health. Even if your sleep apnea was not directly caused by your military service, you may still be able to receive benefits for this condition if it is linked to a service-related disability. Working with a New Jersey veterans disability benefits attorney can increase the chances of being approved for a combined rating based on your primary condition and sleep apnea.

At Bross & Frankel, we are proud to help the men and women who have served our country. We offer a range of legal services for veterans, including assistance with filing for VA disability benefits. Contact us today at , or online to schedule a free initial consultation.

Speak with an experienced disability lawyer about your claim today.

  • Social Security Disability / SSI Claims
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Conditions Linked To Sleep Apnea

When a veteran has numerous conditions that are not all service-connected, it is important to consider whether the conditions without service-connection should be service-connected secondarily. A condition is service-connected secondarily when an already service-connected condition, or its medication, causes or aggravates another condition.

If you have sleep apnea and any of the following conditions there may be a link between your service-connected condition and the other condition.


The most common condition that sleep apnea is connected to is PTSD. If you think your sleep apnea is secondary to your PTSD see our previous post Sleep Apnea Secondary to PTSD.


People with sleep apnea are four times more likely to have depression than people without a sleeping disorder. Sleeping well is vital for your overall mental health. Sleep apnea can cause veterans to wake up tired and irritable. Inconsistent sleep over a period of time can wear down a person and cause mental health conditions. Many veterans with sleep apnea develop depression. Studies show that regardless of weight, age, sex, or race, sleep apnea symptoms are associated with the onset of depression


Sleep apnea can both cause hypertension and aggravate your pre-existing hypertension. Sleep apnea causes your blood oxygen levels to drop, increasing your blood pressure . Moreover, hypertension can both cause sleep apnea and worsen it.

Heart Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease

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How Much Do Sleep Apnea Va Disability Benefits Pay Monthly

Veterans that have a service-connected disability might be eligible to receive more than $3,332.06 a month. The Veterans Administration pays monthly compensation to veterans who can service-connect their sleep apnea.

Veterans who have had sleep studies or use a CPAP machine should consider applying for sleep apnea VA disability benefits. If you do not yet have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, you may want to begin treating with a doctor to help prove it is service-connected.

Sample Nexus Letter Statements/ Research Related To Sleep Apnea Secondary To Ptsd Dr Finnerty May Use:

Proving Sleep Apnea Service Connection to VA

Curious about some of the research articles I tend to cite for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD? There are lots of studies out there. Ive summarized just a small selection of them below:

The scientific literature supports a direct connection between sleep apnea and arousal associated with psychiatric disturbance, including PTSD. In addition, past VBA decisions have supported this interpretation. The scientific evidence supports findings that the evidence for sleep apnea being secondary to his PTSD is at least in equipoise. Multiple recent VBA decisions have been decided favorably based on this scientific literature, including, but not limited to: Citation Nr: 19133904 8/19/19 Citation Nr: 19136285 5/10/19 Citation Nr: 20011070 2/10/2020 Citation Nr: 19155477 7/18/19 Citation Nr: 19107744 2/1/19 Citation Nr: 19103608 1/15/19 Citation Nr. 19144930 6/11/19 Citation Nr: 19141163 5/29/19 Citation Nr: 19110858 , 2/12/19). This is not an exhaustive list. This interpretation of the scientific literature should be utilized in favor of Veterans as it would be arbitrary and capricious for the VA to treat the science differently for one Veteran over another and say the science says one thing for one Veteran but says the opposite for another Veteran.

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What If I Have More Questions About My Va Claim

I understand you want your VA claim to be done as quickly as possible. But remember the ultimate goal to win your VA disability compensation claim.

You may eventually get there on your own, but it may be after a series of decisions by the Regional Office and Board of Veterans Appeals. Sometimes claims are appealed and remanded several times, which can cause a claim to drag on for years. If you are interested in avoiding unnecessary delay in your claim and want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of success, it is probably a good idea for you to consult with an accredited veterans disability attorney.

We would be happy to talk to you. If you would like a free consultation with our Perkins Studdard veterans disability attorneys just click here or give us a call to begin the process.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims. He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

How Does Va Diagnose Sleep Apnea

VA requires that a sleep study be conducted before confirming a sleep apnea diagnosis. Even if a medical professional has previously diagnosed a veteran with sleep apnea, VA will not consider this sufficient evidence without a sleep study.

Veterans who have already been granted VA disability for sleep apnea based on their service connection, but did not undergo a sleep study, will likely be required to undergo one to maintain their benefits. On the other hand, those who have maintained a VA rating for at least 10 years do not need to partake in a sleep study as their diagnosis and disability rating are protected.

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Sleep Apnea Secondary Conditions

The symptoms of sleep apnea can be very restrictive and harmful to a persons life. In many cases, prolonged sleep apnea can cause other serious conditions, such as:

  • Depression
  • Tinnitus
  • Type 2 diabetes

If you are able to prove that the sleep apnea is service-connected, or that it is more probable than not that it was caused or aggravated by a primary condition, developing sleep apnea as a secondary condition may increase your VA rating.

Another condition that has a high level of comorbidity with sleep apnea is post-traumatic stress disorder .

* Diabetes

Here are a few examples of how Sleep Apnea has affected Veterans from all different eras of service:

* Don D. served mostly during the Cold War was in the best physical shape of his life he was an avid weight-lifter. That is, until he damaged his knees in-service and had to get a knee replacement at a military hospital. After that knee replacement, he could no longer lift weights the sudden weight gain the resulted caused his obstructive sleep apnea.

* Several Desert Storm, OIF, and OEF Clients have had Traumatic Brain Injuries which interfere with how their Nervous System works, and as a result, have a different kind of Sleep Apnea .

* Many Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange suffer from sleep apnea. They are ALL experiencing a Perfect Storm of Sleep Apnea problems: breathing disorders, mental health conditions, heart conditions and diabetes are all causing an epidemic of Sleep Apnea in our Vietnam Veterans.

Service Connection For Sleep Apnea Secondary To Ptsd

Sleep Apnea Secondary to PTSD? Its time to start thinking outside the ...

How Is Sleep Apnea Related To PTSD?

There are several different types of sleep apnea, and every person with sleep apnea experiences the condition to differing degrees of severity. Considering that around 20 percent of veterans are diagnosed with sleep apnea at some point in their lifetime, the VA has developed a schedular disability rating system for sleep apnea so that veterans whose sleep apnea was caused by their service can receive compensation.

There are a variety of conditions that occur in tandem with sleep apnea, but one of the most interesting ones among veterans is the relationship between sleep apnea and post traumatic stress disorder . Veterans are up to three times more likely to have PTSD than the general population. Men, who represent a large percentage of the veteran population, are also more likely than women to develop sleep apnea. This connection between PTSD prevalence in the military and the gender-predisposition of men to develop sleep apnea is part of what contributes to the high rates of sleep apnea among veterans with PTSD.

Getting VA Disability Benefits For Sleep Apnea Secondary To PTSD

How The VA Rates Sleep Apnea

Under 38 CFR ยง 4.97, the VA rates sleep apnea based on the severity of the condition and/or the type of treatment required.

Diagnostic Code 6847: Sleep Apnea Syndromes

Get Help With Your Sleep Apnea Claim

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How To Get Service Connected For Sleep Apnea

1) Receive a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis

Do you get a full night of sleep but still wake up feeling tired and unrested? If so, you may have sleep apnea, disorder that affects approximately 18 million Americans. The only way to reliably diagnose sleep apnea is to have a sleep test or study performed in order to evaluate the symptoms that youre experiencing at night, such as irregular breathing, an elevated heart rate, and other telltale vital signs that could be affected by a sleep disorder. This test can be completed in a sleep lab or even in the comfort of your home. A sleep apnea nexus letter is useful after you receive a formal diagnosis.

2) Cause or Aggravation

Next you must determine if you will claim sleep apnea as a primary or secondary condition. In some cases, if you had documented signs and symptoms of sleep apnea in-service, even if you didn’t have an in-service sleep study, you can claim sleep apnea as a primary condition.

Most veterans claim sleep apnea secondary to a condition for which they are already service-connected. The most common secondary connection is sleep apnea secondary to PTSD. You can also claim sleep apnea secondary to other mental health conditions such as:

  • Major Depressive Disorder

Filing A Sleep Apnea Claim For Va Benefits

Military veterans suffering from sleep apnea may be eligible for VA benefits. A veterans disability benefits attorney can guide you through the necessary steps to file a claim successfully.

Three conditions of proof must be met for a viable VA sleep apnea claim:

  • Diagnosis of sleep apnea from sleep study administered by a qualified medical professional
  • The sleep apnea condition started or worsened during active service
  • Your current diagnosis and in-service event are connected.
  • If your sleep apnea did not develop during or worsen as a result of active service, you might still be eligible for benefits under a secondary claim.

    Secondary Sleep Apnea Claims require:

  • A medical diagnosis confirmed by a sleep study in VA or private medical records
  • Evidence of a service-connected primary disability and
  • Medical evidence establishing a connection between the service-related disability and the current disability.
  • Your attorney will organize and prepare all evidence supporting these elements for your disability claim. While the VA initially denies most claims, many cases are won on appeal when the above criteria are met.

    Recommended Reading: Va Rating For Mild Sleep Apnea

    Getting A Combined Disability Rating

    If you have more than one disability connected to your service, you will receive a combined rating. The VA uses the Combined Ratings Table to calculate a combined rating for veterans with multiple service-connected disabilities.

    Disability ratings are not added to each other. Instead, the VA uses the rating table to determine a combined rating. This involves listing each disability in order of severity and then using the chart to find a combined rating.

    For example, assume that you have already received a rating of 60% for your service-connected asthma. You are then given a 20% disability rating for your sleep apnea. Based on the chart, the combined rating would be 68% this rating is then rounded to the nearest 10, giving you a combined disability rating of 70%.

    Applying for veterans disability benefits to include a disability that was obtained on a secondary basis can be complicated. A seasoned New Jersey veterans disability benefits attorney can help you with the process, from filing the paperwork to gathering evidence in support of your claim.

    Get A New Sleep Study

    Sleep Apnea Secondary Service Connection

    Truth bomb: Just because you snore doesnt mean you have Sleep Apnea.

    Its certainly a marker though.

    Some other common symptoms of Sleep Apnea include: Trouble staying asleep at night , episodes where you stop breathing , daytime sleepiness , morning headaches, dry mouth, difficulty concentrating, and anger .

    If you have any of these signs and symptoms, you should consider doing a Sleep Study, which is also known as a Polysomnography.

    Even if youve had a Sleep Study before, we recommend having a current one on-file, which will confirm a medical diagnosis and current symptoms, especially if theyve become more severe over time.

    A Sleep Study is THE ONLY WAY to confirm whether you meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for Sleep Apnea.

    The Polysomnography study records your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate and breathing, and eye and leg movements, among others.

    So, now you might be wondering, how do Veterans get a Sleep Study?

    There are 3 primary ways for Veterans to get a Sleep Study:

    • The first way is to discuss your sleep issues with your VA primary care doctor and ask for a referral to a sleep specialist at the VA.
    • The second way is to ask your private doctor for a referral to a sleep specialist in your area .
    • The third, and easiest way, is to order a Sleep Apnea At-Home Test Kit, although itll cost you a couple hundred dollars or more .

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