Free Consultation 24 Hour Response
Call Today Local (480) 498-8998
free consultation
no fee unless we win
F(480) 546-5262
Request Free Consultation
veteran family with American flag

Sleep Apnea VA Rating: 2024 Disability Ratings

Today’s military works in a 24-hour-a-day training and battlefield environment. 

When you served, you probably got used to sleep deprivation. 

But what happens if, once you leave the service, you still have trouble getting decent sleep at night? 

You might have a condition known as sleep apnea, and if it came as a result of your service then the VA can help with a monthly disability benefit for service-connected sleep apnea.

What Are the 2024 VA Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea?

Unlike some other service-connected disabilities that can have disability ratings in 10-percent increments from 0 to 100 percent, VA disability ratings for sleep apnea come in one of four ratings schedules: 0, 30, 50, and 100 percent.

Examples of each sleep apnea rating include:

  • 0 Percent Disability Rating: Although a sleep study diagnoses you with sleep apnea, medically you are considered to have no symptoms of sleep apnea.
  • 30 Percent Disability Rating: An example of this disability level is when you are subject to chronic daytime fatigue, regardless of hours devoted to sleep.
  • 50 Percent Disability Rating: If your sleep apnea condition requires treatment with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine or other breathing assistance, then this disability rating applies.
  • 100 Percent Disability Rating: At this level, your sleep apnea is severe enough that surgery is likely needed to treat you for chronic respiratory failure (tracheostomy), or for heart failure conditions that are connected with it.

To determine how much you may receive for your sleep apnea VA rating, check out our VA Disability Calculator.

Total Disability based on Individual Unemployability (TDIU)

Whether you are bagging groceries or re-coring a nuclear reactor, if you are employed then your employer expects you to do your job diligently and safely throughout your work day. 

But what if – through no fault of your own – the focus, concentration, and sustained energy you need to hold down a steady job just are not there because your sleep apnea condition is holding you back or worse, holding you down?

In some cases, your sleep apnea VA disability claim can combine with another disability to qualify you for 100 percent disability through TDIU eligibility.

Most TDIU disability claims come from a combination of at least two service-connected disabilities. If one VA disability rating is at least 60 percent, or your combined VA disability rating is 70 percent and one of your disability ratings is at least 40 percent, then you may be eligible for TDIU benefits. 

The calculation-based formula above to qualify for TDIU is not the only way. 

The VA understands that sometimes a one-size-fits-all approach to calculating your VA rating for sleep apnea does not accurately or completely account for how a disability affects your ability to work. 

In these circumstances, you might be eligible for TDIU even if you do not meet the criteria above. Contact us to learn more.

How Do You Know You Have Sleep Apnea?

Because sleep apnea is a condition that happens when you are either fully asleep or maybe only half-awake, chances are good that you will be unaware of it when it occurs. 

Many people learn they have sleep apnea indirectly, either through someone else who witnesses it or from experiencing its lingering symptoms upon awakening. For example, your spouse may complain of having to endure bouts of loud snoring from you, or you may wake up still feeling tired even though you devoted plenty of hours to sleep and don’t recall waking up during the night.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Snoring at night is not by itself proof that you have sleep apnea, but it is a common sign of it. Other indications that you might have a sleep apnea condition include:

  • Dry mouth when you wake up, because you have trouble breathing through your nose.
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness. Feeling fatigued or groggy during your waking hours, even though you think you are getting enough sleep. In some cases, you might even fall asleep involuntarily during the day.
  • Trouble concentrating on conversations, remembering what you read, or focusing on tasks; feeling like you are in a “mental fog.” 
  • Frequent or persistent headaches.
  • Becoming seemingly more “accident-prone.” This can come from a lack of mental alertness that comes from chronic lack of sufficient sleep, and is especially dangerous when driving or operating machinery and equipment.
  • Mood swings. Irritability and feeling like one is in a funk mentally and emotionally are frequent byproducts of chronic sleep deprivation. In more severe cases, diagnosable emotional depression can also result from untreated sleep apnea and its effects on your sleep.

How Do You Prove You Have Sleep Apnea?

Because it is a medical condition, you must have medical evidence of a sleep apnea condition to qualify for disability benefits.

The VA will require you to undergo a sleep study to see if you have a sleep apnea condition. This can be either at a medical facility, or in some cases you can do it at home. 

During a sleep study at a medical facility, you will sleep while under a combination of trained medical observation and electronic monitoring of several indicators like heart rate, breathing rate, blood oxygen levels, and more.

A home-based sleep study uses remote monitoring equipment that record or transmit data from their sensors to a medical facility for evaluation.

If the results of your sleep study conclude that you suffer from sleep apnea, then the next thing you must do is to prove that this is a service-connected condition.

How Your Sleep Apnea Can Be Service-Connected

The way you trace a sleep apnea connection to your military service is like with other disabilities: the connection can be directly caused by your service, or it can arise as a secondary condition, or it can be an aggravation of a pre-existing condition. 

Direct Service Connection

For sleep apnea to be directly connected to your military service, the cause of the condition must be traceable to something that you experienced while in service. 

For example, if you developed an asthma condition while serving, and that condition contributed to sleep apnea later on, that can be a direct service connection. 

Another example can be if you experience a physical injury like a broken nose (deviated septum) that led to having sleep apnea when you did not have it before.

Secondary Service Connection

Sleep apnea often does not manifest itself right away, or during your time in service. 

Sleep apnea can also happen to you indirectly as the result of another service-connected disability. 

For example, if you experience a service-connected disability that restricts your mobility or contributes to the onset of a condition like diabetes or weight gain that in turn led to sleep apnea, such a connection might support the service connection requirement.

Aggravation of an Existing Condition

In some cases you may already have a sleep disorder that you had when you entered the service or developed during service that worsened during that time. 

For example, you may have had a pre-asthmatic condition that became asthma while you were serving, or you may be undergoing therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder that includes drugs that contribute to weight gain, that in turn leads to the development of sleep apnea.

Learn More About Your Sleep Apnea VA Disability Eligibility

Sleep apnea is a condition that can seriously and negatively affect your health, your quality of life, and your relationships with your loved ones. If you have sleep apnea as a result of serving in America’s armed forces, then you deserve the monthly VA disability compensation that is available to you.

We know that sleep apnea claims and VA rates can be frustrating, confusing, and, at times, scary to navigate. 

However, the expert VA disability attorneys at Stone Rose Law are ready and willing to assist you in obtaining all the benefits you qualify for. 

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to give us a call for a free consultation.