If you suffer from sleep apnea and were denied long term disability benefits by your insurance company, Social Security or the Department of Veterans Affairs, Marc Whitehead & Associates can help you win the benefits you deserve.
When you live with sleep apnea, you experience repeated, significant interruptions in breathing while sleeping. Some individuals stop breathing for up to two minutes. This stop/start cycle of breathing–not breathing may occur hundreds of time each night.
Besides a terrible lack of sleep, fatigue, anxiety and other side effects of sleep disorders, chronic sleep apnea can result in hypoxemia, which is the lack of oxygen in the arterial blood. This is a serious condition where the brain and body do not get enough oxygen.
Is Sleep Apnea Considered a Long Term Disability?
Our law firm receives many questions from clients about whether sleep apnea is observed as a long term disability. The answer is that for many, sleep apnea is a serious and disabling medical condition, where being gainfully employed is no longer feasible. Disability insurance, Social Security Disability and the Veterans Compensation programs all handle claims for sleep apnea.
Chronic cases often lead to critical oxygen deprivation. Left untreated, severe sleep apnea can set the stage for increased risk of lung damage, heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, liver problems and other complications indicative of permanent disability.
The effects of the disorder can tremendously impact your daily living, your productivity, and your ability to work and carry out the duties of your profession.
Types of Sleep Apnea
There are three main forms of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea – Throat muscles relaxing during sleep obstruct the air passage. This is the most common form.
- Central sleep apnea – The brain does not transmit the signals that tell the muscles to breathe. This type may be caused by heart disorders, stroke and age.
- Complex sleep apnea syndrome – A person has both types, obstructive and central.
Sleep studies will measure and document your sleep disturbances. Psychological testing can measure any decline in cognitive functions due to lack of sleep and oxygen deprivation. Depending on the case, your doctor may prescribe CPAP therapy or other breathing treatment.
Did Your Insurance Company Deny Your LTD Claim for Sleep Apnea?
Insurance companies are almost always reluctant to pay long term benefits in these cases. They generally take the view that sleep apnea is a self-reported or subjective condition. Insurers argue that while you may be fatigued from the disorder, you are not disabled from working.
Proving to the insurance company otherwise can be a real challenge. Our disability lawyers can provide representation that can make the difference in your case.
Whether you have purchased a policy directly on your own, or you are under a long term disability insurance plan with your employer – please contact us quickly, because time limits set by the policy must be followed.
Sleep Apnea Disability Rating for Veterans Claims
Veterans may qualify for disability compensation for sleep apnea. However in the past year, VA has changed a few rules.
As of April 18, 2016, a veteran must now show that a qualifying breathing assistance device is medially required. This is to show the severity of the sleep apnea, and documentation must be given by a qualified medical professional. Previously, all you needed to submit was medical proof of a diagnosis of sleep apnea.
You will need to have a diagnosis of sleep apnea for compensation rating purposes. Your rating is based on the severity of the condition. The scale goes from 0 to 100% and is awarded in 10% increments.
To meet a 50-percent rating criteria, the main consideration is whether use of a qualifying breathing assistance device is required by the severity of the sleep apnea.
- 100 percent:chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale; or requires tracheostomy
- 50 percent:requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine
- 30 percent: persistent daytime hypersomnolence
- 0 percent:asymptomatic, but with documented sleep disorder breathing
If your veterans claim for disability compensation has been denied, or you are not satisfied with your rating, please get in touch with our law firm. It is critical that you have qualified legal counsel who is committed to fight for you.
Find out more about our accredited veterans claim attorneys.
Sleep Apnea Social Security Disability Insurance Claim
If you struggle with severe sleep apnea and can no longer take part in gainful employment, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
If your initial SSDI claim was denied, don’t be alarmed. The claim process is difficult and frustrating. Most SSDI claims are denied at the first two stages of the appeal process.
Many times, an initial claim is lacking important information. In a sleep apnea disability claim, you will need to show the SSDI reviewers and administrative law judges that you have followed your doctors’ advice to the letter. You must prove that you have done all recommended and ordered treatments – including CPAP – and still your condition has not improved, or has worsened.
It is also important to show that you have tried alternative remedies (beyond conventional therapies, surgeries or CPAP) such as losing weight, using sleep apnea pillows, wearing dental appliances and other recommendations.
We can help you with all of this. In short, our attorneys will set out to prove your sleep apnea disability claim by demonstrating:
- your condition is severe and does not respond to conventional treatment
- you must live with the disabling impairment.
Allow a Board Certified Social Security Disability attorney help you win the benefits you deserve.
Questions about Your Sleep Apnea Disability Claim?
You can count on us for answers. Our law firm is dedicated to fighting for each client aggressively and professionally with all our might. Please learn more about us here.