Skip to content

August 11, 2020

VA Rating for Sleep Apnea Explained – The Experts Guide

Last updated on December 20, 2022

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, we will be exploring how to get a VA Rating for Sleep Apnea.

A veterans final VA disability rating for Sleep Apnea depends upon the frequency, severity, and duration of symptoms, meaning, the more severe your symptoms, the higher the VA rating for Sleep Apnea.

In 2020, Sleep Apnea VA ratings range from 0% to 100% with breaks at 30% and 50%.

The highest possible scheduler VA disability rating for Sleep Apnea is 100%, which includes symptoms such as, chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy.

Okay veterans – let’s take a minute to explore the law regarding the symptoms and level of impairment required to warrant a VA disability rating for Sleep Apnea.

You might also like the following Blog posts about Sleep Apnea:

#1. Sleep Apnea Secondary Conditions

#2. How to Service Connect Sleep Apnea secondary to PTSD

#3. Do I Need a Spousal Letter to Support My Sleep Apnea VA Claim?

Sleep Apnea in Veterans

Many veterans suffer from various sleep conditions due to their military service, to include Sleep Apnea—a sleep disorder whereby breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep (apneic episodes).

In fact, did you know U.S. military veterans are nearly four times (4x) as likely to have or develop sleep apnea when compared to those who didn’t serve in the military?

Veterans, do you think you might have Sleep Apnea?

Here’s a quick litmus test: If you snore during sleep, are tired during the day (maybe you take frequent naps), and stop/start breathing while sleeping (gasping for air), chances are you might have Sleep Apnea.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts.”

The 3 main types of Sleep Apnea are:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the most common form of Sleep Apnea, which occurs when throat muscles relax and block the upper airway.
  • Central Sleep Apnea, which occurs when your brain doesn’t send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Complex / Mixed Sleep Apnea, also known as treatment-emergent central sleep apnea, which occurs when someone has both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

VA Rating for Sleep Apnea – Common Symptoms in Veterans

Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Veterans
Sleep Apnea Symptoms in Veterans

Many veterans have or develop Sleep Apnea and common signs and symptoms include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep (usually observed by your spouse or partner)
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime tiredness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anger and irritability

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, it’s highly recommended to see a doctor right away.

You may need to undergo a Sleep Study to determine if you have Sleep Apnea.

Is Sleep Apnea a VA Disability?

CPAP machine for Sleep Apnea
CPAP machine used to treat Sleep Apnea

Yes, Sleep Apnea is a VA disability and it’s rated under diagnostic code 6847, Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed).

The most common VA rating for Sleep Apnea is 50%, which requires the use of a breathing assistance device such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine.

VA Rating for Sleep Apnea

VA Rating for Sleep Apnea
VA Rating for Sleep Apnea

Pursuant to Diagnostic Code 6847, VA disability ratings for Sleep Apnea are as follows:

  • The 0 percent VA rating for Sleep Apnea is warranted if you’re asymptomatic (no symptoms), but with documented sleep disorder breathing.
  • A 30 percent VA disability rating for Sleep Apnea is warranted if you have persistent daytime hypersomnolence, but do not require the use of a breathing device.
  • The 50% VA rating for Sleep Apnea is warranted if you require the use of breathing assistance device such as a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP)
  • A 100 percent VA rating for Sleep Apnea is warranted for chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale or requires tracheostomy.

Sleep Apnea is rated under diagnostic code 6847, Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):

6847, Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):

Sleep Apnea VA Rating (%)

— Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or requires tracheostomy


— Requires use of breathing assistance device such as a CPAP machine


— Persistent daytime hypersomnolence


— Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing


VA Rating Scale for Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea and Secondary Service Connection

Many veterans with Sleep Apnea, especially those who were diagnosed long after leaving the military, might still be eligible if medical evidence shows your Sleep Apnea is proximately due to or aggravated by another service-connected disability such as musculoskeletal conditions and/or mental health conditions.

Service connection on a secondary basis requires a showing of causation.

A showing of causation requires that the secondary disability be shown to be “proximately due to,” or the result of, a service-connected disability.

By law, there are three elements that must be satisfied for Sleep Apnea Secondary VA Claims:

  1. A medical diagnosis of Sleep Apnea confirmed by a sleep study in VA medical records or private records (unless you did this already on active duty and it’s in your service treatment records)
  2. Evidence of a service-connected primary disability, such as musculoskeletal conditions or mental health conditions, AND
  3. Medical Nexus evidence establishing a connection between the service-connected disability and the current disability

The first part can be satisfied with any existing medical evidence in service treatment records, VA medical records, or any private medical records.

The second part can be satisfied with a veteran’s existing service-connected disability rated at 0 percent or higher.

The third part can be satisfied with a Medical Nexus Letter, aka, Independent Medical Opinion (IMO) from a qualified medical professional.

Did you know there are more than 50 conditions that can be medically linked to cause or aggravate sleep apnea?

>> Click HERE now to get your FREE copy of my eBook: “The Insider’s Guide to VA Claims for Sleep Apnea.” <<

C&P Exam for Sleep Apnea

A C&P exam for Sleep Apnea might involve a physical examination and review of your medical history and severity of symptoms over time.

However, sometimes a VA C&P examiner (such as a Nurse Practitioner) will call you on the telephone and conduct an Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) exam review of your Sleep Apnea claim.

You’ll want to explain to the C&P examiner HOW your Sleep Apnea condition is limiting or affecting your work, life, and social functioning.

For example, maybe your Sleep Apnea so severe, that you have difficulty working and lose productivity throughout the day due to frequent napping.

Maybe you’ve gained a significant amount of weight due to your other service connected disabilities, which has limited your ability to walk, run, or workout, and this is the “interim link” to secondary service connection due to weight gain (obesity).

It’s also important to document whether you have a breathing machine, such as a CPAP or BiPAP, as this is the most common difference between the 30% and 50% VA rating for Sleep Apnea.

Sleep Apnea VA Claim SECRETS *LIVE* with VA Claims Insider

WATCH: Sleep Apnea SECRETS Revealed and Explained!

Deserve a HIGHER VA Rating? WE CAN HELP.

Join our premier education-based membership program, VA Claims Insider Elite, connect with an expert-level Veteran Coach (VC) within minutes, and finally get the rating you deserve. Click the button below to start for FREE.

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).

Related Articles

Sleep Apnea VA Ratings

Sleep Apnea VA Ratings Explained

December 2, 2023

There are currently four sleep apnea VA ratings: 0%, 30%, 50%, and 100%. The most common VA rating for sleep apnea is 50%, which means you have moderate to severe symptoms and require the use of... continue reading

Follow us on Instagram

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Ambassadors having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call