What is Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that involves cessation or significant decrease in airflow in the presence of breathing effort. It is the most common type of sleep-disordered breathing and is characterized by recurrent episodes of upper airway collapse during sleep. These episodes are associated with recurrent oxyhemoglobin desaturations and arousals from sleep. Generally, symptoms of OSA begin insidiously and are often present for years before the patient is referred for evaluation.
Nocturnal symptoms may include the following: Snoring, usually loud, habitual, and bothersome to others Witnessed apneas, which often interrupt the snoring and end with a snort Insomnia; restless sleep, with patients often experiencing frequent arousals and tossing or turning during the night
What are the symptoms of Sleep Apnea
Knee injury is very common among servicemen. The injury may be slight, but years later, many veterans develop severe knee arthritis attributed to their initial service injury. Many veterans are so disabled by their knee arthritis that they are unable to work. Regrettably, the rating for knee disability are outdated and have not been updated for many years. As a result, regional offices around the country provide rating of only 10% to 20%. Many veterans with knee disability are unable to maintain gainful employment, and yet they cannot apply for unemployability because their disabling condition is rated as only 20%.
Understand the new rating for back and neck spinal disability
Degenerative joint disease of the spine is one of the most common claims made by Veterans for service-connected disability. That is because back injury is so common during military service. Contrast this with other conditions, such as cardiac conditions, which rarely affect young soldiers. This severe condition causes many Veterans to be unable to work. It is thus surprising that Veterans receive disability ratings of 10 to 20% for back injury, but receive much higher ratings and unemployability for conditions like depression or cardiac disease. The reason for this low rating is based on the history of disability rating. The rating dictionary was created before World War I and was based on medical science existing at that time. The VA was very resistant to updates and upgrades of its rating index. Recently, the VA added new and modern rating classifications for mental disease and cardiac diseases which conform with the newest accepted classifications by the American Medical Association, but progress in updating the ratings of common musculoskeletal ailments is slow. More recently, the VA did allow some modifications to its rating of degenerative joint disease of the back and neck. Knowledge of these subtleties involved in the rating of this condition are important for a successful and fair rating of your service-connected disability.
Why are Veterans who file for PTSD Disability Benefits frequently denied?
The three main reasons PTSD claims used to be denied are:
1. (1) The rating officer provided a lower rating than was justified by the clinical presentation.
2. (2) The VA concluded that the stressor the veteran experienced was not “an event that is outside the range of usual human experience and would have been markedly distressing to almost anyone.”
3. (3) There was no evidence that the veteran was actually in combat.
These conclusions by the VA are no longer acceptable reasons for denial of benefits!
Recent VA rulings, Court rulings, and the replacement of the DSM-III-R with the DSM-IV as the basis for determination of disability, have dramatically changed the way the VA rates, or should rate, veterans applying for disability benefits. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has recently published a new manual, “Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Compensation and Pension Examinations.” With the publication of this manual, the VA has declared: “The Veterans’ Benefits Administration (VBA) and Veterans’ Health Administration (VHA) are committed to improving these services to veterans, and improving the quality of compensation and pension examinations for PTSD.” The manual changes many of the assumptions that led to denial of PTSD claims in the past. Review of this manual is thus critical to claimants and their attorneys.