Q12: I am a Vietnam vet at 80 percent disabled. PTSD and prostate cancer, plus was shot twice over there. Now I have sleep apnea, can I file on disability on that too?
A1: To support your claim for service-connection, the evidence must show:
1. You had an injury in military service, or a disease that began in or was made permanently worse during military service, or there was an event in service that caused an injury or disease; AND
2. You have a current physical or mental disability. This may be shown by medical evidence or by lay evidence of persistent and recurrent symptoms of disability that are visible or observable; AND
3. A relationship exists between your current disability and an injury, disease, or event in military service. Medical records or medical opinions are generally required to establish this relationship. (AP) 4/6/2016
A2: I have filed several claims for veterans with PTSD and sleep apnea. Unfortunately, non of them have been approved. The denial always comes back with the following statment. "The VA medical opinion found no link between your diagnosised medical condition and military service. Your service records do not contain complaint, treatment, or diagnosis for this condition." So, basically, you have to have the diagnosis while on active duty or within one year of discharge. (RJ) 4/6/2016
A3: RJ has given you a correct reading of why sleep apnea is denied. But, if your counselor has made an expert opinion that it is more likely than not that your sleep apnea/disturbances are related to your PTSD and/or as a residual of your service connected disabilities then you have a chance. The other thing I would explore with my continuing care physician, my PTSD Counselor, and the sleep apnea specialist is whether or not the gunshot wounds have anything to do with the sleep disturbances. As you know sleep apnea is usually caused by a physical disorder (and when it is it is called Obstructive Apnea). I am not an expert on Sleep Apnea, but please check to see if one or all of your specialist can say that it is more likely than not that the sleep apnea is related to your condition. The other thing I would look at in my service medical records is to see if I had ever been treated for insomnia or other sleep disorder while on active duty. (CP) 4/11/2016
A4: If you are waking up with night sweats and night mares you could be considered for it or PTSD which may be the cause of it. Do you have any other conditions that you have not considered such as Agent Orange conditions for the list the VA has is not the full list. Kidney problems, cataracts, degenerative bone or joint disease, neuropathy and I am sure there are many more the VA does not recognize as related but are. Make a list of all your conditions than do some research or see a VSO or write to your congressman to get a response by the VA of the main reason the VA does not accept it when it could be secondary to PTSD as well. (JRM) 4/30/2016