Many veterans experience sleep disturbances such as central or obstructive sleep apnea and insomnia after they return from active duty service. A commonly reported symptom of psychological trauma in former servicemembers is trouble sleeping through the night.
Filing successful sleep disorder claims may be difficult without the advice and guidance of a VA-accredited attorney. If the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) denied your claim for disability benefits, VetLaw’s team of steadfast lawyers help you file an appeal to challenge the Agency’s decision.
Sleep apnea is a condition which hinders a veteran’s ability to breath during rest and may be characterized as obstructive, central, or mixed. Symptoms which may have been noted during active duty include daytime tiredness, snoring, gasping for air while asleep, frequent awakenings, daytime napping, and others.
Sleep apnea is generally rated as 50 percent disabling, so long as the veteran requires the use of a CPAP or other device for control of the apnea. Other ratings from zero to 100 percent are available, but rarely awarded. A sleep apnea diagnosis is usually based on a sleep study, which may sometimes be conducted with a take-home device. Breathing, heart rate, apneas, and sleep quality are all typically tested during the sleep study.
If a veteran has persistent difficulty initiating and maintaining sleep or is unable to fall back asleep after waking up, they may qualify for disability compensation for insomnia.
The VA uses certain criteria defined in 38 Code of Federal Regulations §4.130 to evaluate the severity of a former servicemember’s sleeping disorder. The varying degrees of severity are based on the impact of insomnia on a veteran’s daily life.
Any sleep disorder which causes a former servicemember to suffer clinically significant distress and impairment of their ability to function normally may qualify them for benefits. A veteran’s insomnia would be rated on a scale from zero to 100 percent disability, depending on the resulting symptoms.
A former servicemember would need to show that they have a current diagnosis of a sleeping disorder, whether sleep apnea, insomnia, or some other sleep disturbance diagnosis, in order to qualify for disability benefits. They should include medical records and doctors’ notes with any sleep disorder claims to establish the severity of their condition.
It is also necessary to prove entitlement to service connection, which means establishing a relationship between a veteran’s sleep disorder and his or her active duty service. Service records from an applicant’s time on active duty may indicate an incident which caused or contributed to their disorder or any documented symptoms of sleep irregularity.
Lay statements from a veteran, spouse, or anyone else who can attest to nighttime symptoms which began on active duty can be very helpful in proving entitlement to service connection for sleep disorder claims. It is better for veterans to be over-prepared when it comes to gathering evidence, which can be made easier with the advice of an attorney from our firm.
Having a seasoned attorney by your side can improve your chances of filing successful sleep disorder claims. VetLaw’s skilled legal team can also assist you with an appeal if VA has already denied your application for disability benefits. Get in touch with our firm today to start the process.