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Sleep Apnea and Service Connected Disability

This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.


Sleep Apnea and Service Connected Disability

Postby Navy Retiree » Wed Feb 15, 2006 12:50 pm

I'm completing a Veteran's Application for Compensation and/or Pension and want to claim Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a disability. A portion of the form requires that I tell how my disability is related to military service.

Can anyone tell me the verbage they used to justify that their Sleep Apnea was related to their military service?
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Postby Woof_man » Wed Feb 15, 2006 11:21 pm

Hi Navy Retiree.
You mentioned that you would like to "...claim Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a disability...related to military service.

And, I'm not really sure how you could do that, unless you suffered a broken nose or some other injury that may have deviated your nasal septum.
Judging from what I have read, OSA is typically caused by obesity (and I'm guessing that can't be service-connected) or the physical structure of your upper airway tract.
There may be some types of injury or other causes of OSA that could be due to Naval duty, I'm just at a loss as to what they might be.
Good luck!

(Go Navy!)
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Postby Okie » Thu Feb 16, 2006 12:03 am

Here is an old thread regarding apnea and the military.

http://www.apneasupport.org/viewtopic.p ... itary#7442

put the word military in the search box for more links
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Sleep Apnea and Military Disability

Postby JamesR » Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:48 am

I recently retired two years ago from the Air Force. I've had sleep apnea for years, even had surgery that removed my tounsils, and rotor rootered my soft palate and nasal passageways but neved was officially diagnosed with sleep apnea until I had a sleep study 1 year prior to retirement. I have been prescribed a CPAP.

In regards to claiming disability, I was able to claim sleep apnea as service connected since it developed during my active duty military service. A. You must have a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea in your records (sleep study). If all you have in your records is symptoms, you cannot claim sleep apnea. B. I'm not sure if a dental appliance qualifies, but I do know the prescription for the CPAP does. C. If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea prior to entering military service - your screwed.

Note: This goes for all your other disabilities/injuries as well. If there is not a diagnosis - just symptoms in your records, you will not be able to claim it.

James
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Disability rating

Postby Jhawknavy » Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:23 am

I have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and I currently using my CPAP. I was wondering what type of disability rating I could expect to get upon my separation from the Navy?
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Postby JamesR » Mon Feb 27, 2006 12:31 am

The VA rating factors for sleep apnea: Go to the following link:

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422 ... fr4.97.pdf

Then go to the bottom of page 5.

The parent page to this document which covers all disabilities can be found at the following link:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wais ... r4_04.html

James
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Re: Sleep Apnea and Service Connected Disability

Postby Guest » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:04 pm

Navy Retiree wrote:I'm completing a Veteran's Application for Compensation and/or Pension and want to claim Obstructive Sleep Apnea as a disability. A portion of the form requires that I tell how my disability is related to military service.

Can anyone tell me the verbage they used to justify that their Sleep Apnea was related to their military service?


I was told by a va rep that anything that is already in your records before retiring is service related. Also anything that is associated with a preexisting problem is also service related. Example: High blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure in your records adn you have a heart attack after you retire it is service related because high blood pressure can cause a heart attack.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and Military Disability

Postby Guest » Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:17 pm

JamesR wrote:I recently retired two years ago from the Air Force. I've had sleep apnea for years, even had surgery that removed my tounsils, and rotor rootered my soft palate and nasal passageways but neved was officially diagnosed with sleep apnea until I had a sleep study 1 year prior to retirement. I have been prescribed a CPAP.

In regards to claiming disability, I was able to claim sleep apnea as service connected since it developed during my active duty military service. A. You must have a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea in your records (sleep study). If all you have in your records is symptoms, you cannot claim sleep apnea. B. I'm not sure if a dental appliance qualifies, but I do know the prescription for the CPAP does. C. If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea prior to entering military service - your screwed.

Note: This goes for all your other disabilities/injuries as well. If there is not a diagnosis - just symptoms in your records, you will not be able to claim it.

James


I was just told by the base hospital this used to be true automatic 50%, but now I am told you will lose your retirement check all together. I was told now because of everyone suddenly requesting the sleep study (after finding out about the 50% disablity) that if you are diagnosed with it before retirement you will be medically seperated and lose your retirement check. And if you go after and have it you won't get the disability because it wasn't in you records. A catch 22. I wish I knew the truth because I am retiring in a month and afraid to get the study done in fear of losing my retirement check.
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Sleep Apnea Help

Postby JamesR » Fri Apr 07, 2006 8:58 pm

First of all, if that is what they are telling you, you may have grounds for a congressional complaint (or at least an IG complaint) that they are using illegal tatics to prevent service members from seeking medical care for valid medical conditions. I acknowledge the fact that the Navy has the right to medically discharge an individual with this condition: However, there are protections in place to protect servicemembers within two years of retirement (check with your base legal office). Secondly, if you have already filed your retirement papers and the Navy has excepted your request to retire, for them to say they would withdraw that approval and medically discharge you is most likely an illegal act. You may want to seek legal advice.

Your next option is a path what I feel would be the path of least resistance (where you can get both your retirement and your dissability without fighting the system). Now, you should verify what I am going to suggest ASAP with your VA Representative (before you take any action and especially before your official retirement date). If I remember correctly, you can file for your dissability with the VA up to 1 year after your official retirement date. What does this mean to you? It means that if you are diagnosed with sleep apnea and subsequently issued a CPAP within 1 year after retirement, you can include this in your application for dissability after you retire. Remember, you must not file for your dissability rating before you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. The next important thing you must remember, you MUST file within 1 year (365 days) after your official retirement date. If you delay in filing beyond the 1st anniversary of your official retirement date, you will forfeit any possible consideration for dissability. Once approved for the dissability rating, your dissability payments will be back dated to your 1st retirement check.

I would also like to let you know that I thing the tatic they are trying to use on you is bullsh*t. First of all, sleep apnea is a serious conditions which affects your cardiovascular health. If you require a CPAP, the use of CPAP has been estimated to extend you life expectancy approximately 4 years. This is not to mention the quality of life between now and then. Shame on the Navy to try to take this approach to save a few $. Secondly, if they feel that too many people are getting sleep studies, we need to remind them that it takes a physician (who has actually examined you) to give you the referral for the study. If your symptons did not warrant the study, you wouldn't have gotten the referral in the 1st place.

Don't forget to make and keep a copy of your medical records before you retire. After you retire, your official medical records are sent to a repository and may take months to retrieve any information from them (that's if they are not lost between the time you retire and you need them).

Last of all, I am not a lawyer or qualified to provide you legal advice considering your retirement and dissability. Please verify the accuracy of my statements from official sources before you act.

Keep us informed on your progress.

JamesR
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Postby Guest » Sat Apr 08, 2006 4:30 pm

WOW! Thank you very much for your help. At least I know I should go to Legal to ask advice of this matter. By the way, just to let you know, I'm Air Force not Navy, so that let's you know that other branches of the DoD are screwing with their members too.

Thanks again for your help.

Will keep you posted on updates.
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Postby nate nda » Wed Oct 18, 2006 8:40 pm

I got diagnosed with sleep apnea about a year ago. I ETS in August 2007; when should I start my disability paperwork, and where do I start? I am on CPAP but to no avail has it helped; its harder to sleep now than before. I am by no means just looking for the disability check but if its warrented then by all means. Is it 50% across the board?
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Disability Claim

Postby SaltySailor » Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:32 pm

I was disgnosed with Sleep Apnea 91 days after I retired from the Navy, so I filed for disability and was denied. I had no documented complaints of sleep problems in my service medical record; however, I have service connected alergic rhinitis.

I'm appealing the denied claim, and I now have statement from an ENT that states that "it is more likely than not that my obstructive sleep apnea had it's onset during active duty military service." I've talked to some former VA disability claims raters, and they basically told me that need a statement (letter or part of office visit notes by the doctor) will strongly support the claim. No one can say for sure when Sleep apnea had it's onset, and the rater working the claim is not a M.D. so he/she can not make the diagnosis; only a M.D. can state the likelyhood of when a disease possibly had it's onset.

Fact: If you are diagnoised with sleep apnea during active duty; you can still be stationed on a ship and remain cleared to fly in some aircrew billets.

If you require a CPAP ...it's 50% disability compensation



38 CFR Book C-Schedule for Rating Disabilities
The Respiratory System

6847 Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):

Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor
pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy 100
Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous
airway pressure (CPAP) machine 50

Persistent day-time hypersomnolence 30
Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing 0
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Postby jasoninmichigan » Thu Oct 19, 2006 6:09 am

By the way, just to let you know, I'm Air Force not Navy, so that let's you know that other branches of the DoD are screwing with their members too.

So although able to work (possibly using cpap treatment) you can retire and claim to be disabled (by the need to use cpap) and get a nice additinal check from the government? And the only "service connection" is that the condition developed while you were in the military. What a deal!
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Postby SaltySailor » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:00 am

jasoninmichigan

The disability money is taking (offset) from the military pension and is considered tax free. So, were you going to make some valuable contribution to the veterans thread, or just extend some sarcasm?
SaltySailor
 

ok, ss

Postby jasoninmichigan » Sun Oct 22, 2006 6:09 am

I didn't know the disability was an offset to pension (but with a tax advantage?) From what I see in Okie's link you really get a deal if you are diagnosed early and get the discharge and 50% significantly before your 20 years. In the first response in this thread the poster didn't realized that a condition would qualify as "service connected" for disability purposed if it developed while in the military, never mind that it wasn't caused by military service.
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