Many veterans suffer from the serious sleep disorder sleep apnea. Unfortunately, not all Veteran Affairs sleep apnea claims are approved. Getting a VA sleep apnea service-connected claim approved can be a complex and challenging process.
Some veterans experience hurdles such as lack of medical evidence, insufficient documentation, or missed deadlines. Others might find themselves facing legal technicalities that might be difficult to navigate on their own.
At Conviction Solutions, our goal is to provide you with the information you need to understand why your VA sleep apnea claim might have been denied and how to overcome these obstacles.
Whether you’re a veteran who has recently received a denial or just started the VA sleep apnea claims process, this article is for you. We hope that it helps you understand the reasons behind sleep apnea VA claim denials and how to appeal them successfully.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a commonly found sleep disorder in veterans, and it occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. It’s a serious condition that can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, interrupted breathing during sleep, and excessive daytime sleepiness. However, sleep apnea can be difficult to diagnose as many people with the condition are not aware of their breathing interruptions during sleep.
Diagnosis often requires a sleep study, which can be conducted in a sleep laboratory or with a home monitoring device.
The Department of Veterans Affairs requires medical evidence to prove a service connection for sleep apnea claims. This can include medical records, sleep study results, and other relevant documents. Without sufficient medical evidence, sleep apnea VA claims can be denied or delayed.
Common Reasons for Sleep Apnea Denials
- Lack of Medical Evidence
The VA claims procedure heavily relies on medical evidence to help make the connection between veterans’ military experience and their current health. VA sleep apnea claims may be denied, delayed, or graded at a lesser level than they should be in the absence of solid medical documentation.
There are different types of medical evidences that veterans can consider submitting during their VA sleep apnea claim. This includes medical records, sleep study results, and any other documents that support their diagnosis and condition.
The medical expert’s opinion can be particularly helpful in establishing the connection between a veteran’s service and their sleep apnea. An independent assessment of evidence and opinion on the cause of the veteran’s condition could be helpful.
- Failure to Attend VA Exam
In order to prove the link between a veteran’s military service and their present medical condition, VA exams are a necessary step in the VA claims process.
Skipping a VA test as scheduled could have a negative impact on your claim. The VA can reject your claim if you don’t show up for a scheduled exam or postpone the decision until a new exam is scheduled.
It’s important to arrange a VA exam reschedule as soon as you can. The VA normally has to be informed at least 24 hours before the scheduled exam, and they might also need to see some proof of your request. You can prevent a delay or denial in processing your sleep apnea claim by being proactive and giving adequate notification.
- Pre-Existing Condition
Pre-existing conditions can be a serious barrier for veterans seeking compensation for sleep apnea. The VA can reject your sleep apnea claim if they believe that it is caused by a pre-existing condition. It is important to provide valid proof that your sleep apnea condition is caused by military service instead of your pre-existing condition.
Having a service-connected disability that causes or worsens sleep apnea might be eligible for compensation for sleep apnea as a secondary service-connected disability.
According to studies, those who are overweight or obese are more prone than people who are of a healthy weight to develop sleep apnea. This is because carrying around extra weight can strain the airways, causing them to narrow and become blocked while you sleep.
The VA can contend that their obesity is what causes their sleep apnea instead of their military service. To prevent and treat sleep apnea, one must maintain a healthy weight.
Veterans can lose weight in a variety of ways, including by eating healthily, exercising frequently, and getting adequate sleep. It is also necessary to get medical counsel and support from healthcare experts who can advise on safe and efficient weight loss methods.
- Inconsistent Medical Records
The success of sleep apnea claims with the VA depends on consistent and reliable medical data. Veterans should be aware that contradictory medical records might cause uncertainty and confusion about the severity and diagnosis of sleep apnea and can result in the VA rejecting the sleep apnea claim.
Keeping copies of all relevant medical records, such as sleep study findings, treatment schedules, medication histories, and follow-up appointments, is part of this. Veterans should also make sure that their medical records are correct, up to date, and consistent with how severe their sleep apnea is.
- Late Filing or Missed Deadlines
It is important to understand the deadlines and requirements for filing a claim with the VA, as failure to do so can result in claim denial. Denials due to missed deadlines can result in delayed or lost benefits, which can have a significant impact on a veteran’s health and financial well-being.
To ensure successful claims, veterans should make sure to submit their sleep apnea claims within the prescribed timeframes and meet all the necessary requirements to avoid denials.
Staying informed, being proactive and seeking assistance from a qualified legal professional experienced in VA claims, like Conviction Solutions, can be of huge help for filing a sleep apnea claim without missing deadlines.
- Failure to Establish Nexus
Establishing a nexus is essential for showing service connection in VA sleep apnea claims. A nexus connects a veteran’s present health to their time in the military. The VA can reject a claim for sleep apnea if there is no link.
Because of this, it’s important for veterans to offer proof of this connection. Records from the military, medical records, and professional testimony are examples of this evidence.
How to Successfully Claim Sleep Apnea
Although claiming benefits for a condition like sleep apnea can be difficult, it is doable with the correct planning and assistance.
The important thing is to make sure you have all the essential and pertinent medical documentation to back up your claims, including a diagnosis from a licensed physician and any pertinent test results.
Working with a VA-accredited lawyer with experience in sleep apnea claims is particularly advantageous because they can offer crucial direction and support throughout the process.
Conviction Solutions provides individualized support and advocacy to help our clients navigate the system and get the best outcomes because we are aware of how challenging the process of applying for benefits may be.
So if you’re willing to file a Sleep Apnea claim, get in touch with Conviction Solutions and let us guide you through the claim procedure.