How Do I Qualify For Insomnia Va Disability
You dont have to have a history of combat in order to qualify. Its possible that other events away from the battlefield contributed to your insomnia. The incident can even occur when youre not active duty or on the base.
Do you feel that your military service is connected to your insomnia? If so, youll have to present evidence to that effect to qualify for disability.
Its basically a three-step process.
The VA can arrange for your visit to the doctor, officially called a Compensation and Pension examination that will likely take place at the nearest VA clinic. The doctor will investigate your symptoms to determine if you do have insomnia. If so, he or she will also try to discover the cause of your insomnia.
The VA offers the following 11 tips to prepare for your C& P exam.
How Do I Increase My Va Rating For Insomnia
When VA Raters are determining the appropriate disability evaluation to assign for a Mental Health condition such as Insomnia, the primary consideration is a veterans current SYMPTOMS, however, VA Raters must also make findings as to HOW those symptoms impact a veterans Occupational and Social Impairment.
Does the veterans mental health condition limit or affect his/her work, life, and/or social functioning?
The average VA mental health rating for all veterans, across all demographics, is 70%, which is generally:
Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood.
However, VA Raters can award a lower or higher rating depending upon the Severity of Symptoms.
Because the use of the term such as in the Mental Health rating criteria demonstrates that the symptoms after that phrase are NOT intended to be an exhaustive list, VA Raters need not find the presence of all, most, or evensome, of the enumerated symptoms to award a specific rating.
Nevertheless, all ratings in the general rating formula for Mental Health are also associated with observable symptomatology and the plain language of the regulation makes it clear that the veterans impairment must be due to those symptoms, a veteran may only qualify for a given disability rating by demonstrating the particular symptoms associated with that percentage, or others of similar Frequency, Severity, and Duration.
C& p Examinations For Insomnia
If a veteran does not have an official diagnosis of insomnia, then depending on the existing evidence, the VA may order a Compensation and Pension examination. While its usually more beneficial to the claim if the veteran already has a diagnosis on file, a C& P exam can gather medical evidence to support a claim or provide a second opinion.
These exams generally take place at a designated VA clinic or hospital. During the exam, the doctor is not there to treat your condition or provide any type of medication. They will conduct a routine examination, which may include psychological testing. The doctor may ask specific questions to understand more about the connection between your time in the service and your disability. If your insomnia is caused by a physical condition, they may complete a standard physical examination during the exam as well.
After your appointment, the doctor will write a report and send it to the VA Regional Office for further review. If you get an unfavorable exam result in which the doctor disagrees with your assessment, you are allowed to challenge their conclusion either through a private doctor or with the help of a healthcare advisor. You can also submit your own statement.
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How Common Is Insomnia In Veterans
The bottom line is veterans dont sleep well or hardly at all.
Theres a joke in the veteran community that goes like this: I once got 8 hours of sleep it only took me 3 days.
But the truth is, Insomnia is no laughing matter and can lead to all sorts of problems.
Insomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by the inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both.
This may cause you to still feel tired all the time.
Insomnia can drain your energy level, mood, health, work performance, and quality of life.
There are two primary types of insomnia:
- Acute Insomnia, which lasts for days or weeks. Its usually the result of stress or a traumatic event.
- Chronic Insomnia, which lasts for a month or more. Insomnia may be the primary problem, or it may be associated with other medical conditions or medications.
What If I Have More Than One Disability
We use a method called the whole person theory to determine what we call your combined disability rating. We do this to make sure that your total VA disability rating doesnt add up to more than 100%. Thats because a person cant be more than 100% able-bodied.
Read below to find out more about how we calculate your combined disability rating.
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Va Proposes Changing Disability Ratings For Mental Health Other Conditions
The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering changes to its disability rating system for some conditions to bring it in line with modern medicine, the agency announced.
The proposed changes were posted to the Federal Register on Tuesday. They focus on ratings for respiratory conditions, as well as mental health and ear, nose and throat disorders. In some cases, such as with mental health, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the changes would lessen the requirements that veterans need to meet to receive a 100% disability rating.
The changes are part of a larger effort, started in 2017, to make the entire disability rating system more up to date, the department said. VA Secretary Denis McDonough said Wednesday during a news conference that the system was first developed in 1945 and has hardly changed since.
Were in the process of modernizing the schedule to account for todays understanding of diseases and treatments to ensure that veterans getting the ratings, and therefore the care and benefits, deserved, he said.
The amendments, if approved, will not lead to any reductions in disability ratings for veterans who are already receiving compensation. However, those veterans can apply for an increase if they think the changes mean they could secure higher ratings, the agency said.
Aggravated Service Connection For Insomnia
You are also eligible to file a disability claim for insomnia if you already had it before you joined the military. To qualify for this type of claim, you will need to prove that the condition was aggravated, or made worse, by your time in military service. The VA regards the inability to sleep worsening after enrollment in active duty as service connection by aggravation.
This must be differentiated from the natural progress of a condition. If you are injured playing sports before joining the military and your doctor specifies that your injury will naturally worsen over time, the aggravation may not be caused by the service but by the general passage of time. One way to figure out whether or not insomnia is aggravated by service or service-connected in the first place is through a VA-ordered C& P exam.
Types Of Sleeping Disorders For Va Rating
There are many types of sleep disorders the VA rates for possible disability benefits. They fit into these general categories:
- Sleep-related breathing disorders. These disorders include OSA, central sleep apnea, and snoring. The VA doesnt recognize all of these as service-connected disabilities, and you must show that they are as likely as not linked to an event, injury, or illness that occurred during military duty. OSA is the most common breathing disorder that can be connected to service because its often linked to exposure to burn pits, sand and dust, and oil fires.
- Hypersomnolence. Sometimes referred to as hypersomnia, this condition is characterized by recurring episodes of excessive sleepiness in the daytime such as narcolepsy, or extended sleep at night. The VA doesnt recognize most hypersomnolence conditions as service-connected except those secondary to medication use or medical or psychiatric disorders.
- Insomnia. This occurs when there’s ongoing difficulty getting to sleep and problems resting through the night, causing some type of impairment
- Parasomnias. These disorders include night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep-related hallucinations, and teeth grinding. While these conditions are often associated with PTSD, OSA can trigger them as well.
- Sleep-Related Movement Disorders. These include sleep-related leg cramps, restless leg syndrome , and periodic limb movement syndrome.
Total Disability For Sleep Disorders
Depending on how impactful your condition is, you may be eligible for total disability based on individual unemployability benefits. Even people with debilitating conditions may not meet the VAs 100% rating criteria for TDIU. However, if your sleep disorder is so severe that you cannot work at all, you might qualify for the same compensation as a 100% rating. If you have at least a 60% rating for a single condition or a combined rating of at least 70% including one single disability rated at least 40%.
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Va Disability Rating For Insomnia Secondary To Ptsd
It is, in fact, classified as a VA disability, with a disability rating ranging from 0% to 100%. There is a Schedule of Ratings for Mental Disorders that summarizes this. The VA rating you receive will be determined by the severity of your symptoms and how well you can demonstrate that they are service-connected.
According to a 2014 study, nearly one in every four active military members had some form of mental health issue. Approximately 20% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have or are suffering from PTSD or depression. Women veterans commit suicide at a rate that is more than 250 times that of civilians. There is no single cause of Narcolepsy, but it is characterized by overwhelming daytime sleepiness and sudden bursts of sleep. People who have sleep disorders may feel dissatisfied with their sleep and may experience negative outcomes such as decreased energy, mood, health, work performance, and quality of life. Although depression does not always cause narcoleptonia, many people who suffer from it do. A sleep disorder rating can be obtained from the VA.
Veterans Crisis Line is a confidential and anonymous program that assists veterans in finding mental health care and treatment for sleep disorders, which are secondary to depression. You can reach a qualified VA responder by dialing 1-800-273-8255 or texting 838255. Veterans who do not have VA health care or who have not previously received any VA benefits can still use the service.
Va Insomnia Secondary To Tinnitus: What Is A Va Secondary Va Claim
In accordance with 38 CFR § 3.310 disabilities that are proximately due to, or aggravated by, service-connected disease or injury, a current disability condition, which is proximately due to or the result of a service-connected disease or injury shall be service connected.
VA secondary conditions require a showing of causation.
A showing of causation requires that the secondary VA claim is proximately due to or aggravated by another service-connected disability.
There are three evidentiary elements that must be satisfied to prove VA secondary service connection under the law:
- A medical diagnosis of the secondary VA disability youre attempting to link to the current service connected disability AND
- A current service-connected primary disability AND
- Medical nexus evidence establishing a connection between the service-connected primary condition AND the current disability, which in this example is Insomnia secondary to Tinnitus
VA secondary conditions include any of the 900+ disabilities listed in CFR Title 38, Part 4, the Schedule for Rating Disabilities that can be service connected SECONDARY to a current VA disability youre already rated for at 0% or higher.
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Whats A Disability Rating
We assign you a disability rating based on the severity of your disability. We express this rating as a percentage, representing how much your disability decreases your overall health and ability to function.
We then use your disability rating to determine your disability compensation rate, so we can calculate how much money youll receive from us each month. We also use your disability rating to help determine your eligibility for other benefits, like VA health care.
How Is Va Disability Rated For Insomnia
The VA rates insomnia under 38 CFR 4.130, Schedule of ratings, diagnostic code 6847, or under the general rating formula for mental disorders found in 38 CFR 4.126 .
The VA can also rate insomnia under other applicable diagnostic codes resulting from another service-connected disability, like sleep disturbance and sleep apnea .
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Presumptive Service Connection For Sleep Disorders
Veterans who served in the Gulf War between August 2, 1990 and the present day may qualify for presumptive service connection under 38 CFR § 3.317. This presumption allows veterans to link their current sleep condition to their service despite the fact that they may not actually have medical evidence connecting the two. In other words, it provides a short cut to getting service connection.
VA established this presumption in response to a large number of soldiers coming back from the Gulf War with mysterious illnesses that doctors could not diagnose. The Gulf War presumption eliminates the nexus component of service connection. Here, if a veterans sleep disturbance falls under one of the two following categories, they may be afforded the presumption of service connection: medically unexplained chronic multisymptom illness or an undiagnosed illness.
Many Types Of Service
Many people experience interrupted sleep and nights with ongoing wake-ups, but others suffer from sleep disorders that require medical attention, especially veterans.
According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs , many veterans experience sleep problems after deployment, and also after returning from military duty. Both veterans and military personnel on active duty are at a greater risk for sleep disorders than the general public and have the potential for a wide range of medical conditions associated with poor sleep, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
A 2010 study by Madigan Army Medical Center of military personnel on active duty referred for sleep testing found that over 85 percent had a clinical sleep disorder. Over half suffered from obstructive sleep apnea , and one quarter had insomnia. Additionally, nearly 60 percent had other service-related conditions, including PTSD, brain injuries, and depression.
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Supporting Evidence For Sleep Disorder Claims
A former servicemember would need to show that they have a current diagnosis of a sleeping disorder, whether sleep apnea, insomnia, or some other sleep disturbance diagnosis, in order to qualify for disability benefits. They should include medical records and doctors notes with any sleep disorder claims to establish the severity of their condition.
It is also necessary to prove entitlement to service connection, which means establishing a relationship between a veterans sleep disorder and his or her active duty service. Service records from an applicants time on active duty may indicate an incident which caused or contributed to their disorder or any documented symptoms of sleep irregularity.
Lay statements from a veteran, spouse, or anyone else who can attest to nighttime symptoms which began on active duty can be very helpful in proving entitlement to service connection for sleep disorder claims. It is better for veterans to be over-prepared when it comes to gathering evidence, which can be made easier with the advice of an attorney from our firm.
Why Do My Ears Ring When I Lay Down At Night
Most often, it is caused by damage to or the loss of sensory hair cells in the cochlea, or the inner ear. Tinnitus can present in many different ways, including sounds related to the ocean, ringing, buzzing, clicking, hissing or whooshing. The sound can be in one or both ears, constant or occasional, loud or soft.
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How Is Back Pain Related To Insomnia
Many Veterans know that they can get a disability rating for a service-connected disability. However, Veterans with a service-connected disability may also suffer from secondary conditions caused or aggravated by their service-connected disability.
For example, Veterans who suffer from back injuries are at risk of also suffering from insomnia. The intense pain caused by back conditions can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Insomnia is one of the most frequent secondary conditions, as it often develops due to another condition.
A Veteran should seek benefits from the VA for their insomnia, even if it is a secondary condition. If they can get a service connection, they can significantly increase their disability rating, leading to more benefits.
Many Veterans cannot cover the costs of their disabilities, even if they have a high disability rating for their primary disability. Getting a service connection for a secondary condition can help make their lives easier.
Sleep Apnea And Military Service Connections
The key in getting a VA disability rating for sleep apnea involves establishing military service caused the problem.
But in cases where you may not be able to establish a direct link between military service and the condition, it may be possible it is due to effects of a different service-connected medical issue.
For example, PTSD is said to aggravate sleep disorders or introduce them veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome or other Gulf War-related conditions may also suffer from sleep apnea as a result.
How do you establish that sleep apnea is service-connected? If the first appearance of the problem occurs in your military medical records as opposed to being a preexisting condition, that may be a step toward a VA disability rating.
Any military member experiencing sleep disorders should, in anticipation of needing this data at a later date, request a sleep study to be done in a military medical facility where possible to establish whether there is a service connection to the sleep issues.
You can also see a civilian medical provider to get supporting documentation of a service-connection for sleep apnea. The key will be having as much of the issue medically documented while still continuing to serve, as possible, and getting supporting medical opinions in addition to whatever treatment or study of your sleep issues happens while you are still serving.
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