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Sleep Apnea Question

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I am getting ready to submit a claim for Sleep Apnea. I was diagnosed about 9 months ago (retired 14 years ago) and given a CPAP machine. First off, dam, if you even think you have sleep apnea, get tested. The CPAP machine has changed my life (and my wife's). Anyways, I have the sleep study and I have a DBQ completed by a pulmonologist who wrote - "Service records are not available to me to review; however, it is as likely as not that he had Obstructive Sleep Apnea while listed as Active Duty". I also have a Buddy letter from my wife explaining how I never used to snore until after an incident where I suffered a head, shoulder and knee injury. I'm currently rated 30% for that knee, 10% for Post Concussive Syndrome, 10% tinnitus, 30% heart condition, 10% neck and 20% right shoulder. I'm waiting results of my back claim (was originally denied then upon appeal was determined the VA made an error. I just completed a C&P exam for that). I also have a C&P in 2 weeks for migraines and General medicine - Gulf War. 


Question is, 1) Should I wait for results of the back, migraine, and Gulf war issues or go ahead and submit the Sleep Apnea claim now? 2) Besides what I listed above, any recommendations on what I should add?  3) Should I submit a claim for obesity first, secondary to the knee, back, neck and shoulder conditions to strengthen the secondary for Sleep Apnea? 4) Originally, I was going to claim Sleep Apnea secondary to the TBI and Tinnitus, but with the pulmonologist stating I am as likely as not have had it in service, should I claim it as primary? 5) In the same claim can I say it is either primary service connected or secondary. Or do I have to pick just one? 



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I would personally put everything in and let them sort it out.  The longer you sit on it the more money you do not get.  I know what you are saying as I love to have all of my things ready and then put in.

What I have learned is this does not matter.  You could have it rock solid and get denied.  

Put in all that you have and let them sort it out.  If you need more after you can add more later.  

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1.  No, dont wait.  The sooner you apply, the sooner you can get paid.  This assumes you do not have more money than you need.  If you have so much money, you have to use it to light your cigars with, then wait.  

2.  Review your records.  If you have a chronic condition, that is ratable, and you think it may have been caused by military service, go for it.  

      You mentioned "post concussive syndrome".  Im not sure if this is just a matter of "degree" but this is what I refer to as TBI (Traumatic brain injury).  You may need another doctor to diagnose TBI, if one has not done so already.  

3.  As far as "obesity", as in all other claims, you need the Caluza elements of current diagnosis, in service event, and nexus.  If you have all those, then, again, go for it.  What is your combined rating?  

4.  Dont get caught up in the "is this secondary, primary, presumptive, etc.?"  Just apply for it both "direct" and/or secondary to already service connected conditions.  You need not "burn down any bridges" just because you think its (primary, secondary, etc).  Let the VA do their job, and decide if its primary ,secondary, presumptive.  You do your job, and mine is spoiling grandchildren.  

5.  No.  Dont pick one.  Go for them all.  Its not your job to determine primary, secondary, presumptive or something else.  Let the rater do his job..some people are offended by Veterans who either:

a). Try to make them selves appear smarter and more knowledgeable than the person who has been trained at this job.  

b)  This is especially true if you get it wrong, or, if the offended person works at it to make you look wrong, because they are offended at you trying to tell him/her how to do your job "as if" you knew more.  We dont tell a doctor how to practice medicine, and the doctor may well be offended if you do.  So dont do that with a rater either.  

       Instead, I try to make myself appear "just a little dumber" than I really am..and let them be smarter and more correct..of course, in your favor.  Few people respond well to "know it all's", especially those who pretend to know more about a subject which is out of their area of expertise.  

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Based upon my successful experiences with the BVA and VARO in past 5 years I agree completely with the wise one Broncovet.  I have filed at least 3 claims at the same time and eventually all 3 were granted by BVA and one by VARO.

After that I filed additional claims for other issues that were approved with SMC-S backpay of at least 3 years.  If you have medical evidence to support your claims then go for it and do not wait.  Often the VARO and BVA will combine the claims/appeals.  Here is an example of my real claims.

1. About 4 years ago I filed 3 claims at same time on same 526 form with attachments and evidence for (A) VN AO Ischemic Heart Disease, (B) HTN High Blood Pressure and (C) Increase for my VN PTSD.

The VARO granted me immediately 30% for the VN AO Heart Disease and denied my HTN claim that they later approved under the PACT ACT at 0%.  Later on appeal the BVA approved my increase from 30 to 60% for the heart disease after VARO denied my request for increase.  I withdrew my claim for PTSD increase as it was not needed.

2. About 3 years ago I filed a single claim for OSA Sleep Apnea with CPAP due to VN PTSD that was denied by VARO but then was later granted on appeal to the BVA at 50% with 2 years SMC-S back pay.

Very recently I filed at same time on form 526 claims for (A) GERD due to PTSD, (B) Tinnitus, (C) HTN High Blood pressure and the VARO approved immediately all 3 claims at 60% for GERD, 10% for Tinnitus and 0% for HTN due to the PACT ACT.   In all my claims and appeals I did have strong Army, VA and private medical evidence to support these claims.  I have never used a VSO since 1985 and never requested a BVA or VARO hearing in person or on the phone or Zoom.  Simply no need for that BS.

I tell VA raters, former DRO raters and present and former VSOs on the forums they cannot argue with my success when they try to poo poo my methods.  They can go suck air or pound sand.

My comment/opinion is not legal advice as I am not a lawyer, paralegal or VSO.


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