VA Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea

VA claims for sleep apnea are among the more common disabilities claimed by veterans. If you were denied benefits for a VA claim for sleep apnea or received a lower rating than expected, you may need to provide more evidence to the VA to support your claim. The attorneys at Gang & Associates can review your sleep apnea claim and help you fight for your disability compensation on appeal.

Sleep Apnea as a Primary Condition

In order to file a successful claim for VA disability benefits for sleep apnea as a primary condition, you need to prove service connection by establishing that you have a current medical diagnosis of sleep apnea. This requires you to submit to a sleep study by a qualified medical professional. You must also show proof that the sleep apnea began or was aggravated as a result of military service, and lastly, that there is a nexus between your sleep apnea diagnosis and your military service. The absence of any one of these elements will result in denial. 

A diagnosis of one of the three kinds of sleep apnea (central, obstructive, and complex) while you are still serving on active duty is not critical to your case. Many veterans are not diagnosed with sleep apnea until after they depart the military. This factor makes it more difficult to prove a service connection, which is why it might be better in some cases to claim your post-service sleep apnea diagnosis as a secondary condition. 

Sleep Apnea as a Secondary Condition

Suppose you have a current diagnosis of sleep apnea, but it did not develop during or worsen due to military service; you may still qualify for benefits under a secondary VA claim. For this type of claim, you must have a service-connected disability for a primary medical condition and a nexus between your sleep apnea (the secondary condition) and the primary condition. Sleep apnea is linked to several primary conditions, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), asthma, sinusitis and rhinitis, migraines, etc. In other words, if you file a claim for sleep apnea diagnosed post-service and already have a service-connected disability for PTSD, you would need to prove that your sleep apnea was caused by your service-connected PTSD. 

VA Disability Rating for Sleep Apnea

Once the VA determines your sleep apnea is service-connected, they then assign a disability rating from 0 to 100 percent. For example, suppose you have been service-connected for sleep apnea and require the use of an assisted device for breathing, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine; you will receive a disability rating of 50 percent. However, among the VA’s proposed changes to the current VA ratings for service-connected sleep apnea, a veteran who requires a CPAP machine will no longer automatically receive a disability rating of 50 percent. The VA also proposes to eliminate the 30 percent rating for sleep apnea. That is why now is the time to file your claim if you have not already done so. 

Seek VA Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea with Our Help

Securing benefits and a fair disability rating can be very challenging for a VA claim for sleep apnea. If the VA has denied your claim, you need to hire attorneys with extensive knowledge and experience fighting for VA disability benefits for sleep apnea. At Gang & Associates, we know exactly what it takes to prove a sleep apnea claim on appeal and get you the rating you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your particular case.