Are you a veteran who suffers from sleep apnea--a condition that causes one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep?  A host of issues that are part of modern warfare like exposure to smoke, dust, and chemicals; blasts from IEDs; the effects of PTSD--have made it extremely difficult for many vets to regulate their sleep breathing cycles. An article by the National Sleep Foundation reports that, “Veterans are four times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea than other Americans.” Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease.

The VA recognizes sleep apnea as a disability. Veterans with sleep apnea are considered by the VA to be 50 percent disabled if they need a breathing assistive device--like a CPAP--to get a good night's sleep. However, new VA rules are making some sleep apnea claims tougher to win and others a little easier to win.

What has made sleep claims tougher is you now have to show that the prescription of a breathing assistive device is medically necessary. This means you are going to need a letter from your doctor.  What has made sleep claims a little easier is that you can use a breathing assistive device other than a CPAP and still be eligible for the 50 percent rating. There are many treatments for sleep apnea other than CPAP, including other breathing machines, dental aids, and nasal dilators. Now, so long as you are prescribed a “breathing assistive device” and you can show that device is medically necessary to treat sleep apnea related to your military service, you should be eligible for a 50% rating.

We can help you seek the disability benefits you need for your sleep apnea. We know what’s needed for a successful claim, and will make sure you take the necessary steps. We can help you keep a detailed record of your symptoms and treatments. We can request that the VA perform a sleep study.  And we can show how to document the ways sleep apnea affects your life.

If you have been turned down by the VA for benefits and you believe the denial was unfair, you have the right to appeal and you have the right to have an attorney represent you. Call us for a free evaluation of your case. At Cuddigan Law you have a dedicated team of professionals in your corner who understand the system and who will fight for your rights. 

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska