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January 13, 2024

How to Win Sleep Apnea VA Claim: 3 Expert Tips to Prove Service Connection for Sleep Apnea!

Last updated on January 17, 2024

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

In this post, VA disability expert Brian Reese reveals and explains how to win sleep apnea VA claim, regardless of past denials.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s difficult to get sleep apnea service connected.

The main reason why is because the VA often cites “weight gain” or “obesity” as the underlying cause or origin behind a veteran’s Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), rather than their military service.

But stay tuned because I’m going to share how to service connect sleep apnea along with 3 expert tips to win your VA claim for sleep apnea.

Okay, let’s begin.

Tip #1: You Must Have a Medical Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea Confirmed by a Sleep Study

how to service connect sleep apnea

In this section, we’re going to explain the basic elements of service connection for sleep apnea: (1) Medical diagnosis via a sleep study, (2) “Nexus” for service connection, and (3) Severity of symptoms documented in medical records.

Medical Diagnosis of Sleep Apnea

A medical diagnosis of sleep apnea must come from a qualified healthcare provider, usually a sleep specialist or pulmonologist, after conducting a sleep study.

The diagnosis should be based on the results of the sleep study, which typically measures the frequency, severity, and duration of apneic events during sleep.

Sleep Study Results

Your sleep study results are mission critical evidence for your VA claim for sleep apnea.  

They should indicate the number of apnea events, their duration, and their impact on your overall sleep quality and health.

Severity of Symptoms

Make sure the severity of your sleep apnea symptoms is clearly documented in medical records and your sleep study results.

This is important for your VA rating for sleep apnea because your final rating is based on the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms.

If you require the use of a breathing device, such as a CPAP machine, ensure your medical records are clearly documented.

Tip #2: How to Win Sleep Apnea VA Claim with Secondary Service Connection

how to connect sleep apnea to military service

In this section, we’re going to explain how to connect sleep apnea to military service as well as a decision tree to determine whether you should pursue direct service connection or secondary service connection.

Direct Service Connection for Sleep Apnea

If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea during active-duty military service via a sleep study, you have a shot at proving direct service connection for sleep apnea.

If you weren’t diagnosed with sleep apnea during your military service, it’s almost impossible to prove direct service connection for sleep apnea.

Secondary Service Connection for Sleep Apnea

Most veterans are better off trying to service connect Sleep Apnea as a secondary claim, especially if they weren’t diagnosed with sleep apnea until after leaving the military.

According to medical research and the 25,000+ veterans we’ve helped since 2016, here’s a list of the top 10 sleep apnea secondary conditions, listed alphabetically:

  • Sleep Apnea secondary to Asthma
  • Sleep Apnea secondary to Deviated Septum
  • Sleep Apnea secondary to Medications
  • Sleep Apnea secondary to Rhinitis
  • Sleep Apnea secondary to Sinusitis

Tip #3: Consider Using Both a DBQ and Nexus Letter for Sleep Apnea

service connect sleep apnea

In this section, we’re going to explain the importance of the “DBQ Nexus Combo” for your VA sleep apnea claim.

Should I Get a Nexus Letter for Sleep Apnea?

Yes, we highly recommend you get a Nexus Letter to connect sleep apnea secondary.

A Nexus Letter for sleep apnea will help you prove service connection, even if a prior sleep apnea claim was denied.

Should I Get a DBQ for Sleep Apnea?

Yes, you should get a DBQ for sleep apnea to help you prove a current medical diagnosis and severity of symptoms.

The DBQ Nexus Combo for Sleep Apnea

This Pro Tip encompasses two critical pieces of medical evidence (used in tandem) to help you service connect sleep apnea.

We recommend you have a private healthcare provider complete a DBQ for sleep apnea and submit it and your Nexus Letter with your VA Fully Developed Claim (FDC) online.

Why?

By using both at the time of claim submission, a VA Rater has all the information he/she needs to review and rate the claim.

Your claim is “Decision Ready,” and you might even be awarded VA disability benefits for sleep apnea without the need for a C&P exam.

Want a Nexus Letter for Sleep Apnea?

Are you trying to get a high-quality Nexus Letter to service connect sleep apnea?

Do you want a DBQ for sleep apnea to go along with your VA Fully Developed Claim (FDC)?

WE GOT YOUR SIX!

Veterans who become members of the VA Claims Insider Elite program get access to a network of independent medical providers who can write a Nexus Letter for Sleep Apnea as a secondary VA claim at reduced rates.

Why pay $1,500 to $2,000 for a Nexus Letter when you can get one for $595?

Click HERE to speak with an expert now for FREE (no risk, no obligation, no high pressure sales tactics).

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About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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