Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Is it Service Connected?

Posted on: Friday, September 02, 2016
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Is it Service Connected?

Jim: Well my husband was in the Army from June 1976-Feb 98. He received 70%. Then in August of the same year I told my husband something has got to be done about the snoring. I have put up with it about 20 years. We went he was given the sleep study test and was diagnosed with sever Sleep Apnea. He has stop breathing over 530 x during the night. We turned the paper work in over 2 or 3 years ago. Sent back in for an appeal. Came right back denied. I can't believe this has happen to him. When he enlisted they promised they would take care of him for the rest of his life. This is so unfair. He has had at least 3 or 4 machines and they refuse to compensate him. I world for referrals it is so un fair for these young guys to get compensated for and they don't even know what it is. Back then the soldiers were not allow to go to sick call. They had to work. Some of these soldiers these days are just getting over. Who gets 100% at age 25. They know how to play the system. So what would I have to do to help my husband about this case that keeps getting denied? Thank you.

Jim's Reply: The issue is whether or not the Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is service connected or not. Service connection more or less means that military service caused or contributed to a disabling condition. OSA happens to many (maybe most) of us as we get older. I use a CPAP myself and I know my OSA isn't service connected.

We do not get disaiblity payments for diseases of aging. Arthritis, OSA, adult onset diabetes and a lot of other things are just how life works as we age.

If he was diagnosed with OSA over one year after his ETS, there is almost no chance of service connection because he won't be able to prove that the OSA was caused by service.

We can't expect the government to care for everything that happens to us years after leaving the military. If the VA just gave the OSA benefit to everyone because they thought they deserved it, we'd all be seeking it.

VA should be providing him with his CPAP machines and supplies since he has another rated disability. Although he won't be compensated as if OSA were a disaiblity, it shouldn't cost anything for the equipment.

For what it's worth, I believe the 50% rating for OSA is a huge mistake. OSA simply isn't a disabling condition when a CPAP is prescribed and used as directed. Again, I have OSA and have used CPAPs for years and I have no disaiblity from OSA at all.

I don't know of any soldiers these days who are "just getting over". The thousands of veterans I've worked with in the last decade have been sick and deserve their benefits.


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