What’s My VA Sleep Apnea Disability Rating?

If you are one of the many veterans seeking VA disability compensation for sleep apnea, you have two main aspects to your claim: winning service connection for sleep apnea and obtaining the highest possible sleep apnea disability rating.  On the first point, you can read our earlier article with some basic information on sleep apnea and this other article on the basic elements needed to win service connection for sleep apnea.

sleep apnea disability rating
Your sleep apnea disability rating can range from 0-100%. Do you know what rating should apply to you?

In this article, our focus will be on how VA assigns a sleep apnea disability rating.  Once you understand the criteria VA uses, you will be better able to decide whether VA has awarded you the highest possible VA sleep apnea disability rating that you deserve under the law.

Sleep Apnea Disability Rating Criteria Are the Same for All Types of Sleep Apnea

VA uses the same sleep apnea disability rating criteria for all types of sleep apnea.  So, regardless whether you have obstructive, central, or mixed sleep apnea, your symptoms or treatment will determine your sleep apnea disability rating.  This makes sense because the symptoms associated with sleep apnea are basically the same even though the underlying causes can be different in different cases.

Your Sleep Apnea Disability Rating Can Range From 0% to 100%

Like many other disabilities in VA law, the lowest possible sleep apnea disability rating is a noncompensable evaluation of 0%.  This is the appropriate rating only those veterans who have had a sleep study that documents episodes of stopped breathing during sleep but who do not experience any symptoms as a result of those episodes.   This is not a very common rating since most people who experience these breathing stoppages suffer from other symptoms.

The next highest rating is 30%, which is based on evidence of “persistent day-time hypersomnolence.”  That is simply the medical term for ongoing sleepiness during the day.

Next, you have a 50% sleep apnea disability rating.  This is probably the most common sleep apnea disability rating since most doctors treat this sleep disturbance with CPAP machines or another breathing assistance device.  Remember, although the 50% sleep apnea disability rating mentions CPAP machines, you can use another treatment and still qualify at this rating level.  For more information on that, check out our earlier article.

Finally, you have the 100% sleep apnea disability rating.  These are much less common since they are reserved for the most severe cases of sleep apnea.  This level is warranted when certain physiological criteria are met (i.e., chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale) OR when certain radical treatment is undertaken (i.e., tracheostomy).

Where to Find the Criteria for a Sleep Apnea Disability Rating

38 C.F.R § 4.97 provides the schedule of ratings for all respiratory related diseases and disabilities.  In the subsection for Restrictive Lung Disease, you will find the sleep apnea disability rating schedule.  Here it is:

6847   Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):
Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy 100
Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine 50
Persistent day-time hypersomnolence 30
Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing 0

As you can see, some of the levels are based on symptoms (0% and 30%) while the common 50% is based on treatment.  The 100% level can be symptoms or treatment.  Make sure the VA does not require you to prove symptoms AND treatment at the 100% level.  If you are seeking one of the treatment based ratings, you need to be aware of the VA’s new emphasis on the medical necessity of that treatment.  They have rewritten their instructions for their employees when deciding rating increases.

Getting Your Correct Sleep Apnea Disability Rating May Not Be as Simple as It Looks

You may see the above chart and want to pursue your claim on your own.  That works for some veterans and not for others.  To win, you need to know exactly what must be proven and what you need to prove it.  The VA historically has been very loathe to award service connection and high ratings for sleep apnea.  If you do decide you need some legal help with your VA disability compensation claim, you can always contact our firm for a free consultation.

Travis Studdard is an attorney who focuses on representing veterans in VA disability compensation claims.  He regularly writes about issues that are important to veterans and their families.

You can subscribe to his Veterans Disability channel on YouTube.

Thank you Jason and Tina for everything you've done. Much appreciated. Great law firm! Great results!! Thank you!!! (Austin and Valerie)Valerie Mellinger
Travis and the team working on my VA claim are awesome. I’m happy with their integrity and diligence on working on my claim.Chris “Greybeard” Mullennix
I can't express enough how great it was to work with Perkins Studdard. They are extremely knowledgeable, professional and keep you aware of everything happening with your case. Very friendly from the front office to Mr. Perkins. I would HIGHLY recommend Perkins Studdard!James Strickland
I recommend Travis for an Veteran that has been dealing with constant denial with claims. He also , cover cost for my nexus letter when I ran into financial troubles , that helped me win my case.edwin Cook
I highly recommend Travis Studdard to represent anyone looking to help with VA claims. The VA is very difficult to deal with when attempting to get benefits from service connected injuries, at least that's my experience. Travis and his team knows the VA system and the legal procedures to help you get what you deserve. Travis was kind and passionate with me throughout this process and therefore, I highly recommend this law firm to represent DAV's.Terry Hembree
Such an awesome team. They spoke to me like a person and helped me through every decision with knowledge.Kevin Collett
Highly recommend this firm. Did exactly what they said they were going to and fairly timely. The VA is sometimes extremely difficult to navigate but this took all the leg work away from me and got me the result I thought was fair.Andrew Boone
Amazing staff, very informed along with excellent communication. Within just a few weeks of work, Mr Studdard was able to make things happen that normally take years! Highly recommendJacob Sylvester
Perkins Studdard LLC is the place you need to be if you have a Workers Comp case going on! Mr. Jason Perkins and his staff get the results that you need. They work with you and fight for you.Coming from another lawyer my husband and I were really surprised and appreciated the communication and honesty and understanding throughout the entire process. My husband loves the videos because they held so much information and helped him understand what what was going on. Thank you so much for representing us!!!Deborah Tompkins
I highly recommend Jason Perkins and the Team at Perkins and Studdard. Jason did a wonderful job on my case and actually got me better results than what I was hoping for. He was always so patient with me and made sure I was understanding every process in my case. He never seemed to mind me asking questions and always gave me straightforward answers. My phone calls to him or his staff were promptly answered or returned and everyone was always so helpful, personable, and respectful. He kept me updated on all the details of my case and sent helpful videos for me to review that were very informative.Dru Vaughn

Related Posts

Contrast:

Font Size: