After serving in the military, veterans are eligible for numerous types of benefits. Those who have been permanently injured or disabled during their service may be able to collect VA disability compensation, which is a tax-free benefit that provides substantial amounts of money each month. These benefits can range from $150 to a few thousand dollars a month depending upon a veteran’s unique situation, including the severity of the disability and whether they have dependents.
The severity of veterans’ disabilities is rated on a scale that ranges from 0%-100% in 10% intervals. Those with more debilitating disabilities are given higher percentage ratings, which translates to higher monthly compensation to help with the associated costs. Sleep apnea is a condition that isn’t often thought of as a disability, but if it arises due to time spent in the military, you may be able to get compensation for it. Speak with a VA Disability attorney to get a better insight on your case.
There are four distinct VA disability ratings for sleep apnea:
0% VA Disability Rating for Sleep Apnea
Veterans who experience disruptive breathing while sleeping at night, but no other notable symptoms, will likely receive a 0% rating for sleep apnea. This means disability compensation will not be awarded for sleep apnea, but it may be given for other disabilities. Veterans with mild sleep disruptions may still be able to receive other VA benefits, like VA healthcare to address sleep apnea, as it is associated with a higher risk of numerous other conditions.
30% VA Disability Rating for Sleep Apnea
Veterans that suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or feel tired regardless of adequate sleep and naps but don’t require the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) may be given a rating of 30% disability for sleep apnea. If you are given a 30% VA disability rating, you can receive over $450 a month. That number can increase if you have dependents.
50% VA Disability Rating for Sleep Apnea
Veterans that need to use a CPAP or Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) may be given a 50% disability rating. If you are given a 50% VA disability rating, you can receive over $950 a month, which increases with dependents.
100% VA Disability Rating for Sleep Apnea
Veterans that suffer from chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention, or require a tracheostomy for treatment of their sleep apnea may be entitled to a 100% disability rating. If you are given a 100$ VA disability rating, you can receive over $3,300 a month, which can increase if you have dependents.
You Can File an Appeal if You Disagree with Your Disability Rating
Clearly, higher VA disability ratings yield significantly better benefits for veterans, but it can be difficult to get a high disability rating initially. If you feel that you were given too low of a disability rating, you can file an appeal to advocate for a higher disability rating. It is recommended to get help from a qualified VA attorney for the appeals process, as they can help present documentation that proves the need for a higher disability claim and subsequent compensation. Your odds of having a successful appeal can be greatly increased with a lawyer, but you can also handle the claim on your own.
During an appeal, you will have to provide more evidence that demonstrates your sleep apnea, or other disability is severe enough to merit an increase in disability rating. Health records are the most common type of documentation to prove the severity of sleep apnea, but there may be other types of documentation that can help your case too.
Proving Your Sleep Apnea Stems from Your Service
In order to get any VA disability compensation, you have to be able to prove that your sleep apnea is related to your time on active military duty. To do so, you must receive a medical diagnosis of sleep apnea through a sleep study from the VA or another qualified healthcare institution. Then, you must be able to demonstrate that your sleep apnea is connected to a disability, whether that is a mental health condition or physical injury. Finally, you must provide evidence that there the primary disability that causes your sleep apnea was accrued during your service.
The most difficult part about applying for VA disability is proving that the disability you want to claim is truly linked to your time in the service. If you are initially denied VA disability compensation, you may still be able to seek healthcare at a VA facility, or you can appeal the decision and try again.
Get Help from a Qualified Lawyer
If you’ve served in the military and now suffer from sleep apnea, you deserve a fair amount of compensation. If you want help with filing the initial claim or your appeal, an experienced veterans’ benefits attorney from Vetus Legal LLC can help.