An estimated 39 million adult Americans have sleep apnea, and though it may seem fairly common and even harmless from the outside looking in, the disorder can drastically impact someone’s life and can lead to complications for the heart, kidneys, and general metabolic health. As such, the VA can provide ratings for sleep apnea. Learn how the VA rates sleep apnea for disability and more from Tabak Law!
VA Ratings for Sleep Apnea
Depending on your symptoms the VA can provide a rating for sleep apnea that ranges anywhere from 0% up to 100% for especially severe cases. Each rating does have some specified criteria:
- 0%—Just being diagnosed with sleep apnea isn’t enough. If the veteran is asymptomatic they will receive a 0% rating.
- 30%—At the 30% rating, the veteran will have chronic daytime sleepiness that does not improve even with sufficient sleep. This condition is also known as hypersomnolence.
- 50%—Once the veteran needs a breathing assistance device such as a CPAP or a BiPap they should qualify for a 50% disability rating.
- 100%—If the veteran’s sleep apnea condition includes chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention they will typically require a tracheostomy. A tracheostomy is a procedure in which an opening is created in the trachea to help oxygen reach the lungs. At this stage, a veteran should qualify for a 100% rating.
Can Sleep Apnea Qualify You for TDIU?
TDIU or total disability based on individual unemployability is a possibility for people who suffer from sleep apnea. If your sleep apnea prevents you from working then you may qualify at which point you will automatically receive a 100% rating.
Requirements for a Sleep Apnea VA Disability Rating
Having the symptoms alone though is not enough to earn you a VA disability rating. There are a few more requirements that we cover below.
Doctors may often provide a preliminary diagnosis of sleep apnea, but for any doctor to know for sure, and for the VA to even consider a rating for sleep apnea, you will need to have a sleep study performed.
A sleep study typically involves you sleeping in a controlled environment often at the hospital or specialized sleep study clinics. You will have several sensors attached to your body while you sleep and doctors or technicians will monitor you while you sleep. It is a painless process.
In addition to the medical evidence, you will also have to prove that your sleep apnea is connected to your service. Not only will there have to be an injury, illness, or other event that occurred during your service, but you will also have to show that there is a reasonable connection between that and your sleep apnea. Depending on the factors of your case, this can be hard to prove.
Get Legal Help With a VA Rating for Sleep Apnea
If you have been denied disability benefits from the VA for your sleep apnea condition or any other disability, then it may be time to seek legal help. At Tabak Law, we have years of experience helping veterans get the disability benefits that they deserve. You can reach out to us for a free case review! It’s Tabak for the Payback!
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