Sleep Apnea Connected to Military Service
After a nearly 10 year battle to relate his sleep apnea to his service, the VA has finally granted service connection to one Veteran. The Veteran was on Active Duty from 1990 until 1997, although he developed the tell-tale signs of a sleep apnea disability while in service, he was not formally diagnosed until 2010. The VA denied his claims multiple times, despite the Veteran’s submission of buddy statements and other evidence indicating sleep apnea while in service.
How the Law Office of Andrew P. Gross Helped Secure a Successful Outcome
The Law Office of Andrew P. Gross, LLC got involved in early 2021, and quickly discovered that the VA failed to conduct an analysis of all theories of service connection reasonably raised by the record. Qualified sleep medicine specialists know that sleep apnea can be caused by many things, such as physiological changes to the airways, weight gain, and even as the side effect to certain medications. There is even recent evidence that PTSD can cause sleep apnea.
In the present case, a request for Higher Level Review seemed appropriate because the client had a recent rating decision. Andy Gross recommended that he file a request for Higher Level Review, and after having a phone call with the Decision Review Officer, the VA agreed that it had failed to analyze service connection under more than one theory. The VA ordered a broader claim and pension exam, and the examiner concluded that the sleep apnea was “as likely as it was not” related to another in-service condition discovered in the records, thereby entitling the Veteran to service connection on a secondary basis.