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Sleep Disturbances and Sleep Apnea in Veterans

I’ll be honest, if I found a magical lamp randomly on one of my many misadventures to my local flea market, I would wish for the three following items: First, money, because I am human. Second, I would request that the Kardashians be allowed to keep their show, but it’s now a crossover with “Deadliest Catch,” and third, I’d wish for a guaranteed eight hours of sleep every night for the rest of my life. In fact if the genie was a new age hipster genie and only granted me one wish, I’d take the sleep over the money. It would be a tough call between sleep and the Kardashian show though.

In all honesty though, I am awful at sleeping. If I sleep a full eight hours in one night I feel if I have won the lottery the next day. Recently I looked into this a little more with a medical professional. I was thinking that I had sleep apnea as I am a larger person, and I have other things that would put me at risk for this condition. However, I don’t actually have sleep apnea. My issue is that I can’t fall asleep because of anxiety, and a bad case of the Netflix Blues. The Netflix Blues occurs when a new TV show is released and the subscriber feels that he or she must watch all episodes in two nights or the world might end. “Orange is the New Black” may be ruining my life, but it is some great television.

Why did I spend two paragraphs in my VA Disability Blog talking about my own sleeping issues? Well, I thought it would be entertaining, and sleeping issues are affecting a lot of people, especially Veterans. This morning, after a few hours of sleep, I was checking the Google monster for news on Veterans Disability, and I came across an article from New Jersey regarding sleep apnea in Veterans. New Jersey, I thought, how exotic. However, the tone of the article is what really made me look into this topic more so. According to the article, 13% of all Veterans who served post 9/11 are getting service connected for Sleep Apnea. The article then looks into how the VA is attempting to reevaluate the process by which Sleep Apnea claims are service connected.

Before I go too much further, I want to differentiate between Sleep Disturbances and Sleep Apnea. Sleep Disturbances fall under Gulf War Illness, and are undiagnosed. Sleep Apnea is a condition that is diagnosed, and thus would have to be affecting you while you were serving…or within a year of discharge, in order to get service connected. When it comes to Sleep Disturbances, those don’t have to be diagnosed while you were serving, as long as you served in Iraq, or one of the other countries listed. Also, you have to have some record of sleep disturbances. You can’t just walk into the VA Regional Office and say: “I have sleep disturbances,” and expect to get service connection. Just keep in mind that Sleep Apnea and Sleep Disturbances are different.

Wait, you have to be diagnosed while serving for sleep apnea? Well, the answer is a little convoluted. Technically the answer is yes. However, it is possible to get service connection for sleep apnea if you have buddy statements from those you served with that witnessed your sleeping patterns or if you sought treatment for trouble sleeping while serving and were diagnosed after you were discharged. Speaking of convoluted, some Veterans may have claims that read: “Sleep disturbances to include Sleep Apnea,” but that is really complicated, and really evaluated on a case by case basis.

Wow, this is really complicated. It’s important to file for the proper disability when it comes to the VA. Trust me; they are sticklers for the rules. When we represent a client, we have trained professionals evaluate their claims based on the evidence provided, and set best course of action in order to get a Veteran service connected. If you are reading this at 3:00 A.M. because you can’t sleep, it’s worth your time to give me a call. Our consultation is free, and can usually be completed in fewer than 8 minutes. Just call 1-877-526-3457, or fill out this form, and I’ll call you. 

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