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How To Win Sleep Apnea Va Claim

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When Can Veterans Claim Service

There are a number of scenarios that veterans who have Sleep Apnea find themselves in: they may have been denied after being diagnosed in service, they may have been denied after being diagnosed years after their service ended, or they may have been denied because of a lack of diagnosis and may even have in-service medical records that documented sleeping problems.  With the right evidence and effort, veterans with similar situations to these may be granted service connection for Sleep Apnea.

In order to be awarded disability compensation, sleep apnea must be connected to a veterans military service. There are two paths one can take to service connection: Direct or Secondary.  In this article, we will discuss Direct Service Connection.

How Does The Va Evaluate Sleep Apnea

The VA evaluates sleep apnea under 38 C.F.R. § 4.97-13, Code 6847 as Sleep Apnea Syndromes . The lowest possible rating, 0 percent, does not qualify you for any monthly compensation, but it makes you eligible for other benefits, such as healthcare. The highest rating, 100 percent, signifies total disability and makes you eligible for the highest schedular amount of monthly compensation.

Per 38 C.F.R. § 4.97-13, Code 6847, the ratings for obstructive, central, or mixed sleep apnea are as follows:

  • 100 percent rating for chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonare, or; requires tracheostomy.
  • 50 percent rating requires the use of a breathing assistance device such as a CPAP machine.
  • 30 percent rating requires persistent day-time hypersomnolence.
  • 0 percent rating for asymptomatic sleep apnea with documented sleep disorder breathing.

As of December 1st, 2020 the VA disability rate benefit amounts are as follows:

  • 30 percent disability rating: $441.35 per month
  • 50 percent disability rating: $905.04 per month
  • 100 percent disability rating: $3,146.42 per month

A rating of at least 30 percent or higher qualifies you for additional compensation if you have a spouse, dependent children, or dependent parents living in your home.

Tip #1 For Preparing For Your C&p Exam For Sleep Apnea As A Secondary Condition To Ptsd: Know Your Medical Records In Detail

It is essential to know your medical records! 

Before going into your C&P exam, make sure to revisit your medical records, going through them in detail. The knowledge of your own history and detailed medical condition is one of the greatest tools you can have at your disposal during the VA disability claim process. 

While going through your medical records, you will want to specifically look for a number of important facts.

You will want to make sure that you have a medical diagnosis of your sleep apnea already in your records. 

Look for subjective symptoms of your disability in your service treatment records. 

Identify where the symptoms of sleep apnea began after developing PTSD. 

Look for facts in your record that could establish a logical link between sleep apnea and PTSD.

Testimonial From Actual Client Timothy Rodriguez

I cannot tell you how thankful I am to the Singular Sleep team as well as Doctor J. Krainin for helping me with my Sleep Apnea appeal claim with Veterans Administration.

I have had Sleep Apnea for over 20 years as it is related to my Service Related Asthma and have been dealing with the associated issues like; hypertension and hypersomnolence which made it tough on my career in IT as well as with my family life.

After I submitted a claim to the VA for Sleep Apnea, it was quickly turned down to my disbelief. I had done tons of research and it all points to being directly related to asthma by studies year after year. In doing my research I came across Singular Sleep and saw that they were experts in sleep apnea and have written Nexus letters in the past.

At first, I was skeptical until I spoke with their team as they displayed a genuine care for my health first and how they can help me in my plight with the VA. They scheduled a screening video call with Doctor Krainin and when I did a background check before the call, I realized I was working with one of the top recognized doctors in this field and was confident he could help me.

Doctor Krainin carefully vets out his patients to ensure they have severe sleep apnea and that if there was not recent testing done will initiate the testing himself. He doesnt accept all applicants unless he knows he can help which is reassuring.


Related Case: Cpap Recall

How to win a VA Claim for Sleep Apnea

On June 14, 2021, Philips announced a recall notification for some of their CPAP and other machines. Philips is one of, if not the, largest manufacturers of CPAP/Auto CPAP/BiPAP devices and therefore many people who use these devices will likely be affected by the recall.

Philips has determined from testing that the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam used to reduce the noise of the machine may be harmful to those who use it.

If you use a Philips brand machine and have had adverse side effects, you may be eligible for compensation due to this recall.

How Does The Diagnosis Drive Your Va Sleep Apnea Claim

To understand HOW the diagnosis drives a veterans VA Sleep Apnea Claim, we have to first understand the 3 different types of Sleep Apnea: obstructive, central, and complex.

Lets take a quick look at each.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea: aka, OSA, is a type of sleep apnea that occurs when your airway is blocked or obstructed.

Central Sleep Apnea: aka, CSA, is essentially a type of sleep apnea where the brain and the lungs are not communicating properly. It is, at its core, an interruption of the communication network between the brain and the breathing muscles.

Complex Sleep Apnea:   In September 2006, researchers at the Mayo Clinic identified a new type of Sleep Apnea which they are calling complex sleep apnea.  At its core, Complex, or mixed, Sleep Apnea is a type of sleep apnea with mixed causes.  The causes of the condition can be a combination of CSA and OSA causes; it can also be that your CSA presents as OSA, and only becomes apparent as CSA after OSA treatment .

As an aside, there is a fourth type of sleep apnea that has popped up lately in the medical world: idiopathic sleep apnea. Its sleep apnea that appears by itself, with no apparent causation. Im not going to talk about it much here because Im not seeing it in VA claims and appeals just yet.  Just be mindful that a sleep apnea diagnosis isnt all about neck girth and obesity.

#1:  Air is pulled in through the nasal passages.

#2: It crosses the uvula that dangling thing in the back of your throat

* Deviated Septum

Step #6: Get At Least One Va Buddy Letter For Sleep Apnea

In the final step, Step #6, youll want to obtain at least one Lay Statement, aka Buddy Letter to support your VA claim for Sleep Apnea.

A VA Buddy Letter is simply a credible Statement in Support of a Claim, written by a competent individual 18 years of age or older, who has direct, first-hand knowledge of an event or injury, and offers an account of what they witnessed or are witnessing in support of a veterans VA disability claim.

These lay statements can be from a fellow service member, spouse, friend, pastor, co-worker, boss, adult child, or any other competent and credible adult witness.

A Buddy Letter can be the linchpin to winning your VA disability claim.


Because a Buddy Statement constitutes lay evidence under the law, which simply means after the fact evidence written by a competent lay person 18 years of age or older who does NOT have any specialized education, training, or experience.

The Rating Veteran Service Representative at the VA MUST consider a buddy letter because its considered a secondary source of evidence in support of your VA disability claim.

When writing or obtaining a buddy letter for Sleep Apnea, you can simply use the VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of a Claim.

A great VA buddy letter is short, simple, and factual to the best of the knowledge and belief of the writer.

Think LESS is MORE.

What should you include in a Buddy Letter for Sleep Apnea?

How Sleep Apnea Affects Veterans

When you have sleep apnea, as you fall asleep, the muscles in the back of your throat relax. This causes your soft palette, the soft piece of tissue at the back of your mouth, to drop down and close off your throat. This interferes with your ability to breathe normally and can cause the signature snoring associated with sleep apnea.

There is also a less common form of sleep apnea in which your brain fails to send proper breathing signals to your body once you fall asleep. In either case, you can experience periods of breathlessness anywhere from a few to a few dozen times a night. And you will never reach the deeper stages of sleep where your body gets the rest it needs.

This will all affect your work-life balance because you cant sleep when you want to and you cant stay awake when you need to work. If your VA disability is affecting your employment, you may want to call us as soon as possible to discuss TDIU applications.

The Ultimate Guide to VA Individual Unemployability: TDIU

Sleep Apnea And Military Service Connections

The key in getting a VA disability rating for sleep apnea involves establishing that military service caused the problem.

But in cases where you may not be able to establish a direct link between military service and the condition it may be possible that it is due to the effects of a different service-connected medical issue.

For example, PTSD is said to aggravate sleep disorders or introduce them; veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome or other Gulf War-related conditions may also suffer from sleep apnea as a result.

How do you establish that sleep apnea is service-connected? If the first appearance of the problem occurs in your military medical records as opposed to being a pre-existing condition, that may be a step toward a VA disability rating.

Any military member experiencing sleep disorders should, in anticipation of needing this data at a later date, request a sleep study to be done in a military medical facility where possible to establish whether or not there is a service connection to the sleep issues.

You can also see a civilian medical provider to get supporting documentation of a service-connection for sleep apnea. The key will be having as much of the issue medically documented while still serving as possible and getting supporting medical opinions in addition to whatever treatment or study of your sleep issues happen while you are still serving.

Related Articles

Examples Of Service Connection

Current research shows that post-traumatic stress disorder can aggravate sleep apnea.  If veterans are service-connected for PTSD and later develop sleep apnea, they may be able to establish secondary service connection.

Additionally, VA issued an opinion from its Office of General Counsel stating that while veterans cannot receive disability benefits for obesity, it can be used as an intermediary step.

For example, say a veteran has a service-connected orthopedic condition preventing them from exercising and thereby , causing weight gain.  Subsequently, the veteran develops sleep apnea due to their obesity.  In this case, while there is not a direct connection between the service-connected orthopedic condition and sleep apnea, they are linked together by obesity.

Since the service-connected orthopedic condition caused obesity that then caused the sleep disorder, VA should grant service connection for on a secondary basis.

What Primary Conditions Can Cause Secondary Sleep Apnea

There are many issues that can be an underlying cause of sleep apnea.

Here are some of the more common ones.


Obesity has been linked to sleep apnea, as weight gain and thickening of the neck can restrict airways.

If you were injured in the line of duty and unable to get healthy exercise, thus resulting in obesity, sleep apnea could be linked to the injury sustained.

Use of Pain Medications

Long-acting opioidmedications that are used to help with pain have been known to cause sleep apnea.

Taking such medications for a service-connected accident may provide your nexus, or connection, for your VA disability for sleep apnea.


If you suffered from a stroke while you served, there may be a l between this and sleep apnea diagnosed at a later time.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has also been linked to sleep apnea in veterans.

The link between the two may be sleep deprivation while on duty, chronic stress, anddisturbed sleep in combat, among other things.

Lesson #4: More Veterans Should Be Able To Service Connect Sleep Apnea

I spent nearly a year researching Veterans and their Sleep Apnea claims.  I talked to several doctors and sleep experts.  I read hundreds of cases. I talked to hundreds of Veterans and read their C-Files to see where they went wrong.I learned that to win your Sleep Apnea claim, you are going to have to put your Sleep Apnea Claim together right.

This is where I come in.  I can teach you how to do that.  I can teach you:* HOW to prove your  Sleep Apnea Claim for any of the 3 types of Sleep Apneayou have.* The EASIEST Way to prove Sleep Apnea.* WHAT evidence to use and  which path to Service Connection to use.* WHERE to get the Lay Evidence that will give REAL POWER to your Sleep Apnea Claim.* To prove your Sleep Apnea is service connected without a sleep study in the military?* The importance of  a medical expert opinion  in your Sleep Apnea claim.  .* The SPECIFIC EVIDENCE you will need to prove another medical condition caused your sleep apnea* How the VA will rate your sleep apnea condition after granting Service Connection.

How can  you learn more about these things?  Check out the Sleep Apnea Field Manual.  There are 3 ways to get it:

Entitlement To Service Connection For Tinnitus; Sleep Difficulty To Include Sleep Apnea Claimed As Secondary To Tinnitus; Citation Nr: 18160382

Pin on DIY

For A Complete Guide To VA Disability Claims and to find out more about your potential VA disability case and how to obtain favorable VA Rating Decision! Visit: VA-Claims.org

For More Information on Veterans Disability Compensation Benefits! Visit: DisableVeteran.org~ A Non-Profit Non Governmental Agency

How Sleep Apnea Impacts Veterans

Sleep impacts a persons mental, physical, and emotional health. Sleep is required to function. How sleep apnea can impact a veteran differs from person to person; however, in some cases, the veteran is unable to work because of the extent of hypersomnia and difficulty to focus. One out of five veterans have obstructive sleep apnea, and the number has been increasing over the years. Bosley & Bratch understands how detrimental sleep apnea can be in a veterans life, we want to help

For Veterans Disability Is Sleep Apnea Secondary To Gerd Or Vice Versa

Are you a veteran that wakes up in the middle of the night choking and gasping for air? Do you get severe heartburn at night, and does your partner complain that you snore? If this sounds familiar, you could have sleep apnea and/or GERD, two conditions that can have a severe impact on your sleep.

If you have these two conditions, you could be entitled to VA disability compensation. Read on to learn more about these two conditions and if sleep apnea is secondary to GERD or if its the other way around.

Did Va Deny Your Disability Benefits Claim

If VA denied your disability claim, there are still options for appealing the decision.

The team of veterans disability attorneys at Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD may be able to help secure benefits for your condition.  We have years of experience handling veterans disability appeals for sleep apnea.

Learn If Your Sleep Apnea Is Secondary To Gerd

Sleep apnea and GERD can both be disruptive conditions that can have a severe impact on your life. Doctors arent entirely sure why there is a connection between sleep apnea and GERD. If you have either or both of these conditions and you served in the military, you could be eligible for compensation from the VA.

If youd like to learn more about whether sleep apnea is secondary to GERD, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veterans Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you dont pay unless we win. Contact us today and start getting the compensation you deserve.

More About Sleep Apnea Approval

While there is preparation you need to do to get your claim approved, it is worth it! Your sleep apnea claim could be an easy win with the right materials.

As with everything in the VA, there is a chart which quantifies the degree of your sleep apnea. Visit the VAs website, under the respiratory tab, to find an estimate of what your compensation will be.


You are not alone! We are Veterans helping Veterans!Become an Elite Member and work with our Veteran Coaches to get the rating you deserve! 

How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Va Rating

May 2, 2020 By Rich Frankel

For individuals with sleep apnea, every day can be a struggle. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus or to complete basic tasks. If you have sleep apnea that is either the result of your military service or was caused by a different service-connected disability, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs .

The VA provides benefits to veterans with a range of service-connected disabilities. The amount of benefits that you may receive is based on your level of disability, as determined by the VA rating system. Individuals with multiple disabilities related to their service may receive a combined rating.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea as a veteran, you may be entitled to VA benefits. An experienced New Jersey veterans disability attorney can help you understand your right to benefits.

Lesson #1: Sleep Apnea Is A Killer

There are 3 things that the human body cannot live or function without:  Blood/Oxygen, Food/Water and Sleep.

You can lose a kidney, and live a full and complete life.  You can lose your arms and legs and still survive.

But if your body cannot get sleep, you will die.  In fact, sleep deprivation is a common form of torture, as many of us know all too well.Thats what Sleep Apnea does while you are sleeping, you stop breathing.

You cut off oxygen to the brain and blood, and other body systems break down.

If you are lucky, you start breathing again.Not a lot of VSOs or advocates get this when helping a Veteran file a Claim.They think of Sleep Apnea as a disease of the obese, and then they tell them one of the big Fairy Tales about VA Claims.

How To Prove Sleep Apnea Is Service Connected

I Want You to Put your VA Sleep Apnea Claim to Rest ...

The Veterans Affairs Resource Center states that there are 4 common ways that a service connection can be made:

  • Medical records can show the development of sleep apnea during service
  • Determination of aggravation of a before-service disability that are beyond the natural progression of the condition
  • Taking into consideration the hardships of your service
  • Presumption by the VA that a disability or condition is service-connected
  • Manyvariables are taken into consideration when making service connections to your disabilities. These include documented records, your type of service, your pre-existing conditions, and the VAs overall ruling.

    Normally, a sleep study is conducted to diagnose sleep apnea. A nexus letter can then be written by a doctor. A Nexus letter helps in linking service-connected conditions with your sleep apnea, and is a requirement to receive VA disability.

    The Holy Grail: An Easy Path To Proving Sleep Apnea Is Service Connected

    Proving Sleep Apnea is Service Connected its the one thing I hear more about from Veterans than any other topic.

    Veterans who are looking for the easy way to get sleep apnea service-connected will not find it in my opinion, there is no such thing.  Like researchers that have been searching for the Holy Grail the harder they look, the less they find.

    Listen: you have got to know this:  sleep Apnea is a complex medical condition, and presents differently in each and every Veteran.

    While its not really hard to prove service-connection of your sleep apnea, its most certainly not easy:   you are going to have to put in some work.

    What do I mean?

    You are going to have to think through your case as objectively as you possibly can.  You are going to have to get a LOT of 5-Star Evidence.   And you are going to have to present  it neatly and persuasively to the VA.

    If I accomplish one thing in this post, it is  to change the way that you think about your VA Disability Claim for sleep apnea.  I dont want you to think about the EASY path to proving Sleep Apnea is service connected.

    I want you to think about the BEST Path to proving Sleep Apnea is Service Connected.

    How To Get Va Disability Benefits For Sleep Apnea

    Disability benefits claims for veterans dealing with sleep apnea are some of the most common that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs receives. In some years, the VA may approve as many as 280,000 sleep apnea claims, but its important to note that the VA will deny many more for the disorder. If you think you might qualify for VA disability compensation based on your sleep apnea, weve summarized all you need to know about sleep apneas most common symptoms and how they factor into a VA disability claim.

    Our Duty Is To Help Disabled Veterans Contact Us Today For A Free Consult

    Sleep apnea is a widespread and highly destructive medical problem among veterans. The process of making a claim for this military-related disability can be difficult without help.

    No web article can take the place of one-on-one legal advice from an accredited Veterans attorney. Call us at 800-562-9830 to discuss your claim, your appeal, service connection, rating decision and more. We are honored and able to assist you today.

    About Marc Whitehead

    Marc Whitehead has been practicing law for over 27 years in Houston, focusing exclusively on disability law. His firm, Marc Whitehead & Associates files applications and appeals denials for Long-Term Disability insurance policies, Social Security Disability and Veterans Disability. He has authored books on each of these topics and presented nationwide on disability law.

    Marc is double board-certified in Social Security and Personal Injury. In addition to his legal work, Marc is a certified practice advisor with Atticus, an organization that provides business training and management skills necessary to build and maintain a profitable practice.

    Where To Start With A Va Sleep Apnea Disability Claim

    I get asked more questions about how to file and win a VA sleep apnea disability claim than almost any other topic in all of VA Benefits Law.

    True story.

    And Ive been getting asked these questions for years.

    On top of that, for almost a decade, I noticed  that Veterans of all eras were seeking my help from Vietnam to Cold War to Afghanistan and beyond appealing their VA Sleep Apnea disability denials.

    So a few years back, I started trying to figure out WHY the sleep apnea disability was such a problem in the Veterans community.

    I asked:

    Tdiu Benefits For Sleep Apnea

    Certain symptoms of sleep apnea, such as excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, may impact a veterans ability to work.  Veterans unable to find and keep substantially gainful employment due to their service-connected conditions may be entitled to total disability based on individual unemployability .

    Veterans can qualify for TDIU under 38 CFR § 4.16, provided they meet the following schedular requirements:

    • A veteran must have one service-connected disability rated at 60 percent disabling or higher; or
    • More than one service-connected disability, with one disability rated at least 40 percent, and a combined rating of 70 percent or higher.

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