Can You Get Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea?

by Clauson on March 9, 2018



Sleep apnea affects more than 200,000 people in the United States per year. It is a serious sleeping disorder than affects your breathing while you are asleep. You can get disability benefits for sleep apnea, but check with your physician to get medically tested before you try applying for the disability assistance.

Disability Benefits for Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a sleeping disorder that interrupts a person’s breathing during sleep. Usually, they stop breathing multiple times during sleep, meaning the brain and the rest of the body is not getting enough oxygen. There are two types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This sleep apnea is generated by something blocking the airway, usually the soft tissue in the back of the throat. It is the more common of the two types of sleep apnea.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: This sleep apnea occurs when the brain fails to tell the muscles to breathe.

Adults age 40 and over typically have a higher chance of getting sleep apnea. Some symptoms of sleep apnea are disturbed sleep, excessive sleepiness during the day, high blood pressure, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmia, strokes and depression.

A popular treatment for sleep apnea is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. Whether you have a mild or severe case of sleep apnea, you should go to your physician to get a medical diagnosis, which often includes a sleep test (where you will stay overnight at a sleep center) and to find out about other treatments.

Does Sleep Apnea Qualify for Disability Benefits?

According to the Social Security’s Office’s Listing of Impairments, sleep apnea is covered in section 3.10 titled “Sleep Related Breathing Disorders.” They are also covered in section 12.02, which deals with mental illnesses. You can quality for ss benefits if your pulmonary artery pressure is greater than 40 mm Hg. Go to your local physician and have your blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is often affected by sleep apnea. You can also qualify if you have chronic pulmonary disease. Again, your physician can test you for that. Section 12.02 also covers the emotional and psychological effects of sleep apnea, including memory loss, disorientation and changes in personality and mood. You can see the full catalog of impairments the Social Security Office covers on the official Social Security Administration website.

How Do I Qualify?

You have three options to see if you qualify for ss benefits:

  • Call the Social Security Office. Their phone number is 1-800-772 1213.
  • Apply online at https://www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability/.
  • Visit your local Social Security Office and physically fill out the paperwork. An appointment is required. You can visit https://secure.ssa.gov/ICON/main.jsp to find the nearest office.
  • Seek the help of an experienced disability attorney to guide you through the application so that you have the highest possibility of your application being accepted.

You will get a decision to see if you quality for ss benefits within three to five months. If they reject your application, you have a couple options. You can appeal the denial, which can be a lengthy process, but it will be worth it in the end. Do not try to re-apply because there is a good chance that you will be rejected again. You can also seek out legal help. Hiring a Social Security Disability attorney can help your case during both the application and the appeal process.

If you think you have sleep apnea, go to your physician immediately. Sleep apnea is covered by the Social Security Office and you can get benefits. If the application process seems overwhelming and you’re not sure how to prove your sleep apnea, contact us at Clauson Law Office today.

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