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Veterans Disability for Insomnia

Legally reviewed by Brendan Garcia , Owner and Lead Attorney

If you struggle with insomnia, you understand the damaging impact this sleep disorder can have on your quality of life. When your sleep is not restful, your ability to work and spend time with family and friends can suffer. You may feel constantly tired or irritable as a result, which can leave you feeling frustrated and unsure of where to turn for help.

Veterans who experience insomnia may be eligible for VA disability benefits. At VetLaw, we work closely with veterans to secure benefits as quickly and efficiently as possible, ensuring that their rights and interests are protected at every step of the process. To learn more about how we can increase your insomnia VA rating and help you obtain insomnia VA disability benefits, consider connecting with us today.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects a person’s ability to fall and/or stay asleep. This disorder can cause disruptions and impairments during the daytime due to a lack of restful sleep at night. Insomnia can be either short-term or chronic and impacts roughly 10% of the world’s population. For some individuals, insomnia is the primary condition, while for others insomnia develops in conjunction with other health issues like asthma, depression, or chronic pain, for instance.

Insomnia affects everyone differently, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of insomnia include:

  • Trouble falling asleep
  • Inability to stay asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early
  • Feeling unrested after a night of sleep
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Irritability, anxiety, and mood disruptions
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory issues
  • Slowed thought processes

Experts are not certain why insomnia occurs, but some factors that can contribute to the development of this sleep disorder include genetics, underlying medical conditions, habits and routines, and life changes.

Does the VA Consider Insomnia to Be a Disability?

While insomnia can have a major negative impact on a person’s life, the VA does not directly list insomnia in the Schedule of Ratings. Nonetheless, it is still possible to receive VA disability benefits for insomnia by receiving an insomnia VA rating under the Schedule of Ratings for Mental Disorders or by listing insomnia as a secondary component of a different medical condition.

Whether you claim insomnia as a primary or secondary condition, you must be able to provide a medical diagnosis of the disorder and evidence that the insomnia diagnosis is connected to your time in the military. A wide range of evidence can be used to make this connection, known as a medical nexus, including medical records, statements of support, a C&P exam, and/or expert opinions.

How Can Serving in the Military Contribute to Insomnia?

Insomnia greatly impacts those who served in the military. Service-related stressors like combat exposure, serious injuries, and military sexual trauma may all contribute to insomnia. Moreover, insomnia is commonly linked to other underlying conditions, such as PTSD, tinnitus, and anxiety, which are all highly prevalent among veterans and military personnel.

What Is the VA Rating for Insomnia?

In order to secure insomnia VA disability benefits, you must receive a disability rating of over 0%. As mentioned, insomnia is categorized under the Schedule of Ratings for Mental Disorders (38 CFR § 4.130). According to the criteria set forth in this schedule, a veteran’s insomnia VA rating will be assigned based on the severity of their symptoms. Below is a breakdown of the VA’s rating scale for insomnia:

  • 0 percent if insomnia has been diagnosed but the symptoms of the condition do not interfere with the veteran’s work and social functioning.
  • 10 percent if the symptoms of the insomnia are mild or transient and only occasionally impact the veteran’s work and social functioning.
  • 30 percent in cases where symptoms lead to impairment in a veteran’s work and social functioning, and cause an occasional decrease in productivity and ability to perform daily tasks.
  • 50 percent if the veteran experiences impairment in work and social settings as well as reduced reliability and productivity. If symptoms such as panic attacks, difficulty understanding commands, memory issues, or disturbances in mood are present, this rating may be appropriate.
  • 70 percent if the veteran struggles with impairments in work and social settings as well as deficiencies across most areas of life. This disability rating is characterized by symptoms like suicidal ideation, continuous panic or depression, impulse control, and neglect of personal hygiene, for example.
  • 100 percent rating for veterans who are totally impaired in their work and social functioning due to symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations, danger of hurting oneself or others, disorientation, and/or inability to perform everyday tasks.

If your insomnia is listed as a secondary condition, your insomnia VA disability claim will be evaluated separately, and you will be assigned a separate disability rating aside from your primary condition. This is a common strategy for veterans who suffer from PTSD, back pain, tinnitus, and anxiety or depression, for instance. The two separate disability ratings will then be combined to determine your total VA disability rating that accounts for your primary condition as well as insomnia as a secondary service-connected condition.

What Can You Do If Your VA Claim for Insomnia Is Denied?

If your VA claim for insomnia is denied, you may continue your case using one of the three VA appeal options, which include:

  • Supplemental Claim
  • Higher-Level Review
  • Board of Veterans’ Appeals

Your attorney will review your case to determine which appeal option is right for you. The right strategy can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim and will vary depending on the unique circumstances of your case. If you were denied benefits due to a lack of sufficient evidence, for example, filing a Supplemental Claim may be beneficial. A Higher-Level Review, on the other hand, may be well suited for claims that were denied due to an error during the process or because of a reviewer’s bias. Finally, if a hearing would be the most advantageous in your situation, appealing through the Board of Veterans’ Appeals might be the right option.

How Can a VetLaw Attorney Help You with Your Insomnia Denial?

With years of experience helping guide veterans and their families in securing VA disability benefits, we are confident in our ability to win your case. Whether you need support in filing an insomnia VA disability claim, increasing your insomnia VA rating, or appealing a denied claim, our team of experienced attorneys can help. Consider scheduling your free case review with VetLaw today to get started.