Seeking Legal Help for Denied Sleep Apnea VA Claims

Veterans can receive disability compensation for sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea, but the claim requires medical documentation. Many Veterans struggle to gather the necessary evidence, and some have their claims wrongly denied.


Generally, for a Veteran to be awarded service connection for sleep apnea, they must show three things. First, they must have a current diagnosis of the condition.

Request a Review

If you seek legal help if your sleep apnea VA claim was denied, there are many steps you can take to get it approved. The first step is to request a higher-level review, which is a new look at your case by a senior reviewer. This is appropriate when there are clear errors in the original decision.

A veteran can also pursue a reopening of a rating decision by showing new evidence. It can include a private “nexus” statement that connects the current sleep apnea with symptoms/complaints in service or evidence establishing that environmental hazards of military service caused your PTSD and sleep apnea.

A rating decision can only be reopened if the new evidence meets three requirements under 38 C.F.R. SS 3.156(b). Our firm has extensive experience preparing and filing all necessary evidence for a successful appeal. We can remove the stress and help you compile the evidence your claim needs.

File a Supplemental Claim

If you disagree with a V.A. decision, filing a supplemental claims is an alternative avenue to present new evidence. It means that you’re providing additional evidence to support your case, which can help establish a medical nexus and overturn the unfair denial of your sleep apnea disability claims.

To be considered new and relevant, the information you submit must not have been part of the actual record, which was before your rater when making the last decision. This type of evidence can include service records and treatment, statements from friends and family, medical test results, independent medical opinions, and any other information that supports your claim.

Often, obstructive and central sleep apnea are tied to other health conditions. It makes proving the connection to your military service easier, and getting a presumptive rating for the condition may be possible. For this reason, it’s essential to file a supplemental claim and to provide as much documentation as possible to support your claim.

Submit a Notice of Disagreement (NOD)

If you are dissatisfied with your decision, the next step is to submit a notice of disagreement (NOD). It can be done up to one year from the date of the denial letter. In the NOD, you must state why you disagree with the decision. You will also be required to include a list of all the specific issues you are appealing.

This is your chance to get specific on what areas you need clarification on or believe the V.A. got wrong. It’s essential to ensure your NOD is clear and covers all the bases – if you leave anything out, the V.A. could use it to dismiss your appeal.

The NOD will be reviewed by a Decision Review Officer (D.R.O.). They will review your evidence and arguments, statements from your representative, and any other information in your claims folder. They will also check if additional evidence was submitted but not included in the original decision.

Hire an Attorney

Sleep disorders are pervasive among Veterans. They can range from Narcolepsy to Excessive Daytime Sleepiness to Sleep Apnea and other breathing-related problems. They can be caused by blunt force trauma to the head, mental disorders like PTSD, or other physical disabilities. No matter the cause, if they are linked to military service and you can make a compelling claim for the disability, the V.A. should award you compensation.

Many veterans have to fight for their claims because the evidence in their files is often inadequate or nonexistent. They may have lay statements from friends or family that say, “Hey, you snored a lot in the service,” but that’s not enough to establish an etiology of their apnea disorder.

However, a new policy change allows you to presumptively service-connect your snoring issues if you served in certain theaters during specific periods. Working with a Veteran’s attorney who understands the new rules and can help you get the evidence you need to win your claim is essential.

Comments are closed.