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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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fred685

Sleep Apnea And Hypertension

Question

I'm rated 10% for hypertension that developed during active duty. I also developed sleep apnea during the same time. I was told byothers in the barracks, that I had it. I didn't know anything about sleep labs or sleep apnea, so I was never treated. No official medical records of sleep apnea. 4 months after I was discharged, my primary care Dr. sent me to the VA sleep clinic for teeth grinding. I was diagnosed at that time with severe sleep apnea. I filed a claim and had 5 guys from the barracks write letters confirming they heard me stop breathing at night. The letter I received from them stated, "The evidence of record was reviewed and considered but there is no evidence of a medical nexus between your current diagnosis and active service. Therefore, service connection for sleep apnea is denied since this condition neither occurred in nor was caused by military service".

Is this something I should appeal, or am I just out of luck because there is no medical diagnosis during active duty? Any opinions are welcome.

Fred

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2 answers to this question

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When was your official diagnosis and how long was it since separation.

You may also want to check into tha aggravation factor. OSA aggravates HTN.

J

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First question is: when were you denied SC for sleep apnea? If it is within the past year, you can ask for a reconsideration. BUT, if you don't have an answer on a reconsideration before the end of the year, then file a NOD to protect your appeal rights. If you are close to the year expiring, just file the NOD.

You'll probably need statement from doctor(s)--your PCP and the sleep doctor would be good--stating that "it is at least as likely as not" that your sleep apnea is related to your military service (i.e., "occured in" or "caused by"). You'll also want to review you C File to see what the C&P examiner said.

Did your buddies use the VA Form 21-4138-Statement in Support of Claim? If not, did each add the certification? (I certify that the statements on this form are true and correct to the best of my knowledge). If not, they RO may have discounted them. If that is the case, I'd ask for new letters, adding the certification.

Lets see, you were diagnosed 4 months after discharge, and no less that 5 guys wrote letters describing a key indicator of sleep apnea--stopping breathing. Yeah, I'd appeal. Lots of things get SC'd without evidence in SMRs...

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