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      The following is on my About page, but some have been asking how this all happened. So here is my little story. Tbird US Navy 1983 – 1990 E-6 HadIt.com the website domain registered Jan 20, 1997 the domain is registered and paid for through Jan 21, 2023 at which time I plan to register it for another 15 years Lord willing and the creek don't rise. I guess the best place to start is Jan 1991; I had gotten out of the navy Dec 1990. At my separation seminar, there was a DAV rep Jim Milton he told us to bring our medical records in and he would look through them for us and let us know if we should file a claim with the VA. Well, bless his heart, he opened my medical file, reads the first insert, looks me straight in the eye, and says you will be 50% for the rest of your life and he would file the claim for me. 50% was for surgery I had in the service. True to his word he met with me and talked with me for a long time filled out my paper work and urged me to file for PTSD. I would not file the PTSD claim, nor even discuss it. By Feb 1991 I had moved to the San Francisco bay area and was staying at a friends apartment and pretty much I was just a puddle. In desperation one night I called suicide hot line, I had no job, no idea about going to the VA. They talked with me for a long time and explained to me that I could go to the local VA hospital even if I did not have insurance. Now, I know what you are thinking if I was 50% why didn't I just go to the VA in the first place, two reasons 1, this was Feb 1991 and the 50% didn't come till May and 2, even if it had come through it is unlikely that I would have had the mental acuity at the time to put the two together. I relate this here because it is where so many of our brothers and sisters are coming from, perhaps where you started. Fuzzy and unsure, in pain and sometimes homeless they come to the VA hospital for help. And that is where I ended up. Up to the pysch ward I went, blah, blah, blah, a few days later I was released with a promise of a call from the out patient program, which I would soon be entering. Blah, blah, blah, after many missed communications, and no call backs I was at the Day Hospital everyday M-F. And this brothers and sisters is where I began to learn and formulate my plan for HadIt.com. Veterans, veterans everywhere…I spent a year in the day hospital and about another year at a sheltered workshop before I got back on my feet. So I just talked to veterans everyday waiting for appointments, waiting for prescriptions, waiting for a vet rep and I started to learn the system. While in the navy I was data analyst and had to learn a 5 volume manual and just about anything you were suppose to do was in that manual. So I figured there must be a manual on how to do a VA claim or at the very least regulations. 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So taking my lesson from the squirrels earlier I started to gather, gather, gather…and learn HTML and work as a marketing systems analyst and work my claim. 1996/1997 major PTSD cork blows and unemployed. Working my claim, working the website. 20 Jan 1997 register HadIt.com domain name right after getting off the phone with the VA and saying I've had it with this. As fate would have it the old DAV board goes down just as mine opens up and folks start to wander in. So HadIt.com has two main components the website which supports the discussion board with links, articles, research resources etc. The website starts to grow, I can't tell you how many times I had to switch servers for space and features. I continue on a downward trend and in 1998 ended up back home in St Louis living in my sisters basement in therapy and working it, I swear I would have swung a dead chicken around my head at midnight naked if I thought it would have helped. The website continued to do great during this time, I just stayed in the basement bought new software, new books, and learned how to make things work and I continued to use this knowledge to make HadIt.com better. My 100% finally came through from the VA and I had a friend who is an advocate who helped me thru my SSDI claim, he was literally at my side thru the entire process and that came through for me. My therapist and sister continued to try and get me to leave the basement, but to no avail. At some point in 1998 or 1999 I put a counter on the website and was shocked to discover how many visitors we were getting. Time goes by my sister gets married and I move from the basement to the upstairs, there is much celebration that Aunt T is living in the light again. More time goes by and I settle into my life in St Louis and spend more time on the site trying new things, finding more information. 2003 I buy my own home VA loan. For years now I have just considered HadIt.com my job and I get up every morning go to the office and work for several hours, take an afternoon break and see where the rest of day takes me. I have a place in the office to use the computer and a comfortable to place to read journals and articles and take notes. Blah, blah, blah so that is my story and HadIt.com's intertwined.
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      VA Training and Fast Letter Forum Index The following is the index with links to the various Training and Fast Letters plus a few miscellaneous. These letters are not necessarily in the original formatting. I have tried to present them in an easy-to-read form instead of some forms as originally presented. Some of the paragraphs were WAAAAYYY too long. lol - HadIt.com Member fanaticbooks Something to be aware.... Some of these letters may be rescinded, outdated, or otherwise no longer viable. I have still included them because sometimes they provide additional insight or just plain more information than the newest version. Use them wisely. The oldest letters will display at the bottom with the latest letters displayed at the top, all in sequential numbers. Coding of the letters... 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  • 0

Sleep Apnea Disability Denial

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Posted · Report post

:lol: I recently retired from the USA after 21 years. I was diagnosed with Servere Sleep Apnea (74 occurances an hour) four years ago and perscriped a CPAP. I have been using it religiously since. I was suprised to get my VA disability rating of 0% saying the Apnea was service connected, but because it didn't effect my ability to work a full time job, I was denied. I was shocked! Based on other friends I know, I was expecting 50%. What should I do now? intend to appeal, but don't know if I should contact the DAV for support. The majority of the issues I read about talk to proving the diagnosis and service connection. I have both documented. Can anyone help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

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10 answers to this question

Posted · Report post

:lol: I recently retired from the USA after 21 years. I was diagnosed with Servere Sleep Apnea (74 occurances an hour) four years ago and perscriped a CPAP. I have been using it religiously since. I was suprised to get my VA disability rating of 0% saying the Apnea was service connected, but because it didn't effect my ability to work a full time job, I was denied. I was shocked! Based on other friends I know, I was expecting 50%. What should I do now? intend to appeal, but don't know if I should contact the DAV for support. The majority of the issues I read about talk to proving the diagnosis and service connection. I have both documented. Can anyone help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Because you're the guy who will bear the consequences if your Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) case fails, my strong advice to you is to research this thoroughly on your own BEFORE sitting down with a DAV or other service organization representative.

Read the VASRD requirements for sleep apnea and its various ratings.

Read the BVA decisions concerning

1. Award of service connection for sleep apnea, and

2. Award of the 50% rating you seek.

Know the standards like you know any of the important stuff from your MOS.

Why? You can't evaluate the performance of your "subordinate" (the rep) unless you know what he's supposed to know.

PM me if you want to go over stuff...I am a retired USAF paralegal. I can't give you legal advice, but I can give you some insights.

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Posted · Report post

Because you're the guy who will bear the consequences if your Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) case fails, my strong advice to you is to research this thoroughly on your own BEFORE sitting down with a DAV or other service organization representative.

Read the VASRD requirements for sleep apnea and its various ratings.

Read the BVA decisions concerning

1. Award of service connection for sleep apnea, and

2. Award of the 50% rating you seek.

Know the standards like you know any of the important stuff from your MOS.

Why? You can't evaluate the performance of your "subordinate" (the rep) unless you know what he's supposed to know.

PM me if you want to go over stuff...I am a retired USAF paralegal. I can't give you legal advice, but I can give you some insights.

NOD that TODAY retired AF also get 50% for sleep apena with CPAP machine

Jim

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Posted · Report post

xman what did the VA say in the decision letter. They should have stated why it was denied. That is the best place to start. Post it here the decision and why and others will come along and help, that has to be a big mistake.

stillhere

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Posted · Report post

xman52,

It sure sounds to me like you have a valid claim......here's some advice based on my experience finally getting 50% SC for SA.

Get "buddy letters" from co-workers and anyone else who witnessed your daytime sleepiness and night time snoring AND get a strong letter from your pulmonolgist concerning your current condition.

This dr. letter should reference the state of your condition (how long did it take to get this bad?). It should also specifically state the drs. opinion is based on his examination of you, your sleep study results, a careful review of your SMR, your statements about your symptoms since they began, and the official statements (buddy letters) of your co-workers, spouse, etc. If I understand correctly, you were diagnosed while on AD, so that should help...a lot!

My SMR was completely silent about any sleep issues whatsoever. I did have SC for GERD, since it was in the SMR. I was not diagnosed with SA until Dec 04, after retiring from the AF in Aug 03. So it was an uphill battle for me, but is achievable.....at least it was for my AMVETS VSO at St Pete RO.

We were denied SC for SA three times! We never appealed, only requesting "re-open my claim" with a new IMO letter and/or sleep study, and "reconsideration" at the local VARO. My pulmonologist wrote three IMO letters, each more specific and stronger than the last. He was not familiar with the VA process at all, and really got annoyed at my request for the third letter.....but he wrote it, and did it well.

After that third letter, My VSO was finally able to get the VARO review person to request a C&P exam at the St Pete VAMC. I went to that exam fully prepared to talk about my sleep apnea problems for the last decade. I even brought the CPAP! The examiner was quick, friendly, and to the point. It must have gone well, because less than two weeks later, my VSO calls with the good news.

I also included in my mailings to my VSO four printouts of BVA decisions that included approvals of SC for SA that had been denied the VARO level. All of them dealt with the fact that the vet had SA for years, but it was not diagnosed while on active duty, mostly because the AD docs didn't know what the hell it was, and vets don't either. I don't have document numbers of these decisions handy, but I'll look them up later and send them to you. Also, you can look them up here : BVA Decisions Try searching for "apnea is granted".

Last thing, I haven't received my latest decision in the mail yet. Once I do, I can read it to see what their reasoning was to grant approval. I'll let you know what I find out. Good Luck, and remember, every time one of us wins, it should make it easier for the next vet. So don't give up if you know you have a valid claim.

dwilli12

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Posted · Report post

:lol: I recently retired from the USA after 21 years. I was diagnosed with Servere Sleep Apnea (74 occurances an hour) four years ago and perscriped a CPAP. I have been using it religiously since. I was suprised to get my VA disability rating of 0% saying the Apnea was service connected, but because it didn't effect my ability to work a full time job, I was denied. I was shocked! Based on other friends I know, I was expecting 50%. What should I do now? intend to appeal, but don't know if I should contact the DAV for support. The majority of the issues I read about talk to proving the diagnosis and service connection. I have both documented. Can anyone help point me in the right direction? Thanks!

Ok just a couple or three questions:

1.First you state that it was SC'ed at 0 percent and service connected - they you state that it was denied. I understand that you are upset but you must provide the facts as provided in the rating decision. Was it service connected at zero percent or was it denied? Can you scan the appropriate portion (the reason and basis) of the rating decision so we can see what is going on?

2. You provided that you recently retired. When did you retire and how long was it before you were diagnosised and submitted the claim?

If the rating decision only provided you with a zero percent rating based upon the fact that you can still perform work then it is wrong for this type of disability. If you can post it then you will allow us to see the route they took to deny or improperly rate the claim which will allow us to assist you. Thanks

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Posted · Report post

xman what did the VA say in the decision letter. They should have stated why it was denied. That is the best place to start. Post it here the decision and why and others will come along and help, that has to be a big mistake.

stillhere

The decision said

" Service connection for sleep apnea has been established as directly related to military service.A noncompensable evaluation is assigned from September 1, 2007. A noncompensable evaluation is assigned for an asymptomatic condition. A higher evaluation of 30 percent is not warranted unless there is persistent day-time hypersomnolence.

The evidence of record indicates that you underwent a sleep study in service at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 2003. Diagnosis was sleep apnea. Current findings show that you use a CPAP machine. You have no problems with breathing and you have no signs of of hypersomnolence (need excessive amounts of sleep). The examiner states that your sleep apnea does not affect your occumaption or activities of daily living.

The evidence of record shows that you were initially diagnosed with sleep apnea in service, service connection is granted effective the date after your discharge from service.

This condition is rated at 0 percent disabling because evidence does not show any problems with breathing or any effect on your occupation or activities of daily living. A high evelauation of 30 percent of 30 percent would be warrented if persistent day-time hypersomnolence were shown"

The bottom line is I can's sleep without my CPAP. My problem is probally worse than when diagnosed with 74 instances an hour... What should I do?

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Posted · Report post

The decision said

" Service connection for sleep apnea has been established as directly related to military service.A noncompensable evaluation is assigned from September 1, 2007. A noncompensable evaluation is assigned for an asymptomatic condition. A higher evaluation of 30 percent is not warranted unless there is persistent day-time hypersomnolence.

The evidence of record indicates that you underwent a sleep study in service at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 2003. Diagnosis was sleep apnea. Current findings show that you use a CPAP machine. You have no problems with breathing and you have no signs of of hypersomnolence (need excessive amounts of sleep). The examiner states that your sleep apnea does not affect your occumaption or activities of daily living.

The evidence of record shows that you were initially diagnosed with sleep apnea in service, service connection is granted effective the date after your discharge from service.

This condition is rated at 0 percent disabling because evidence does not show any problems with breathing or any effect on your occupation or activities of daily living. A high evelauation of 30 percent of 30 percent would be warrented if persistent day-time hypersomnolence were shown"

The bottom line is I can's sleep without my CPAP. My problem is probally worse than when diagnosed with 74 instances an hour... What should I do?

This type of CRAP from the VA is really troubling! I have inserted the VASRD section on Sleep Apnea. File A NOD (notice of disagreement) which can be a simple letter stating you disagree with the decision and state why. In your why, indicate that the VASRD clearly states: Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a 50% rating. I would also include a sentence or two about how this disrupts your sleep and effects your relationships (snuggling up to a person wearing a Darth Vader mask). Point out what things you can no longer do because of the required treatment. for example, I can't backpack anymore (70 pound trolling battery is a bit much to heft in a pack).

6847 Sleep Apnea Syndromes (Obstructive, Central, Mixed):Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale, or; requires tracheostomy100Requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine50Persistent day-time hypersomnolence30Asymptomatic but with documented sleep disorder breathing0

If this is your only problem with the rating it should be a slam dunk for you. The only thing that could complicate this further is if the medical diagnosis on your sleep apnea doesn't "require" your use of CPAP, but with 74 apnea's per hour I doubt that is the case.

I guess the worst thing is that this will delay things.

It kinda makes you wonder if some e-mail is floating around the VARO's about out of control sleep apnea claims..... :lol:

I know my sleep apnea is service related but unfortunately I don't have enough evidence to file for it. :-(

Best regards,

Tyler

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Posted · Report post

I think their decision is absurd.

I suggest you get the DAV to support a Request for Reconsideration of that decision.

This will not stop the NOD clock-if they do not address the Reconsideration Request as the year after the decision starts to end -make sure you file a formal NOD-

This BVA decision shows how wrong that decision is:

http://www.va.gov/vetapp08/files1/0800540.txt

and supports what someone else said here.

It is almost like the VA is saying- if a vet loses their leg in combat from IED-and gets a prothesis for it- then the vet has a 'non compensable' disability.That sure would never fly-

Seems like they are trying to pull that BS with you.

The RO awarded a 50 percent rating for the veteran's sleep

apnea, effective December 13, 2005, because it found that

this was the date on which it became apparent that she needed

a CPAP machine, as evidenced by the date of the receipt for

the rental of a CPAP machine and the purchase of related

equipment. However, a 50 percent rating under DC 6847 does

not require that a CPAP machine be purchased or rented.

Rather, a 50 percent rating is warranted where the sleep

apnea "requires use of breathing assistance device such as

CPAP machine." A March 17, 2004 National Jewish Medical and

Research Center treatment note reflects that the veteran was

assessed with sleep apnea and daytime fatigue/fogginess, and

the plan/treatment indicated a sleep study with evaluation

and "CPAP fitting." As this is the first medical evidence

that reflected that a CPAP machine was required for the

veteran's sleep apnea, the veteran is entitled to a 50

percent rating as of that date. See 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.400 &

3.400(o)(1) (2007) (for original claims and claims for

increase, the effective date is the date of receipt of the

claim or the date entitlement arose, whichever is later)."

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Posted · Report post

It does sound like they are playing a game with the claim. My sleep apnea claim was denied due to the fact that the doctor did not connect it to service. However, on the report that he wrote up he did say that my hypersomnia was affected by GERD, Allergies (both of which I am SC'd for) Chronic pain syndrome and nocturia (both of which I have claimed along withe the hypersomnia), I figure that 30% is better than nothing.

If this is the wording of the rating decision it sounds like a decision issued by the Montgomery VARO !!!!!!

The wording that you provided below says that you are service connected at 0 percent. Then in this post you said I figure that 30 percent is better than nothing. I am a little confused - are you receiving 0 or 30 percent (sorry but I get confused easily hahahahaha). At any rate the rating schedule demands a 50 percent rating for SA requiring the use of a CPAP. Does not matter about anything else. Therefore, this decision is totally flawed and needs to be changed. You could ask for a reconsideration (although a reconsideration normally requires submission of new evidence). Try it. If it does not work then submit a Notice of Disagreement. You will be successful in a 50 percent rating even if it has to go the the BVA level. I am sorry to see such a rating as this for this type of incompetence only clutters an already over burdened system and shows that the backlog problem is self imposed.

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Posted · Report post

I deleted my previous message because it was confused with the original post. I apologize for causing any confusion or anything else I may have done inadvertently.

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