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    • Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
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Sleep Apnea as secondary to PTSD Denied

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Hello all I could use some guidance,

I'm OIF and OEF veteran with 70% service connection for PTSD. I recently filed a claim after the VA diagnosed me with severe sleep apnea. The C&P examiner never even called me for my telephone interview. I thought I was good to go. Than I got denied. In the decision letter, the C&P doctor said my sleep apnea was less likely than not proximately due to my service connected disability. Favorable findings: my primary disability is service connected, I have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, and evidence shows that a qualifying event or injury had its onset during service. IE treatment/complaint of snoring.

I didn't use a nexus letter from a private doctor or buddy statements for this claim.  The evidence for this claim was my service medical records, my DD214, and my VA medical records.


What should I do? File a new claim or a supplemental claim

I am also service connected for GERD and Rhinitis, should I resubmit a claim using these two conditions along side that of PTSD? 

Can I add these service connected disabilities as evidence to a supplemental claim?

Should I file for direct Service Connection since my service records show I have a qualifying event in Service?

Thank you in advance for any advice or guidance and thank you for taking the time to read this.

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1. Since you have already received a denial then you would have to submit a supplemental claim with new evidence and new ARGUMENTS.  You can submit a rebuttal Statement In Support of Claim but this will probable result in continued denial. Before filing anything make sure you have all your up-to-date arguments and evidence well organized.

2. You have one year to file an appeal to BVA or supplemental claim or HLR review.

3. If you file an HLR Review ( not recommended) you cannot submit any new evidence or arguments.

4.  Do not file a direct appeal to the BVA (if you choose to do an appeal) as again you cannot submit new evidence or arguments/contentions. Instead file a appeal that allows you submit new evidence and arguments and/or ask for hearing.

5. In December 2021 I received a BVA appeal award of 50% for Obstructive Sleep Apnea due to and aggravated by my long term Nam PTSD and PTSD meds.  I did submit directly to the BVA a doctor's nexus favorable medical opinion saying my OSA was secondary to my PTSD and meds.  I feel I would have won the appeal even without his MO as I submitted other favorable hard medical evidence and arguments.  Even though overweight of 30lbs for many years the BVA did not consider this as a negative factor contrary to what others my tell you.

6. In all my many successful claims and appeals I always ask that my medical condition be service connected on both a direct service connection and also alternatively secondary service connection to my PTSD or other and I submit Army, VA and private doctor records to support my claims/appeals.

7.  I also state my medical conditions is also secondary to more than one VA service connected condition such you mentioned in your post.  For example I claimed by GERD, OSA and TINNITUS was due to my PTSD and meds.  It works for me but you will still need hard medical evidence and/or doctor's MO to support your claim/appeal.

An experienced and motivated VSO is most helpful if you can find one at VARO offices or hospitals.  Ignore the ones at Veterans post bars for obvious reasons as they are BS artist.  Good luck going forward and I am done here.

My comment is not legal advice as I am not a lawyer, paralegal or VSO. Beware of misleading advice from other vet websites or FB pages.

https://www.facebook.com/Veterans-Information-Journal-105893908788750   This is my FB page.




Edited by Dustoff 11 (see edit history)
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First, look through your file, especially medical records.  

Look to see if this doc or another doc contradicted your reason for denial:


 In the decision letter, the C&P doctor said my sleep apnea was less likely than not proximately due to my service connected disability.

Indeed, if this doc so stated, and "if" another doc did not make a favorable opinion, you will need medical evidence that your sleep apnea is at least as likely as not related to PTSD.  

You may get this evidence from a different VA doc, past, present, or future, or you can hire an IMO/IME doc to provide same.  

It will take medical evidence to refute an unfavorable medical exam.  That is, "unless" you can challenge the competency of the examiner.  

Was this c and p examiners medical license revoked?  Did he or she complete school/have experience in sleep medicine?  

If you have not had experience in sleep medicine, then you cant testify as an expert witness on sleep medicine issues.  



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