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