Sleep Apnea Disability Claim

by Willro

Is sleep apnea considered a disability and if so can a person file a claim?


Many veterans and people from military service ask if sleep apnea is a disability or a disorder, and it's not easy to answer. There is a fine line between the terminology and how it's meant.

A disorder can be interpreted as a disability if it affects the patient in a way that causes he or she to not be employed, or if the patient is treated unequal to others due to the side effects of his disorder.

The ADA (American with Disabilities Act) describe an individual with a disability a person who:

  • has a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,

  • is regarded as having such an impairment,

  • has a record of such an impairment.

A qualified employee or applicant with a disability is an individual who, with or without reasonable accommodation, such as:

  • Making existing facilities used by employees readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities,

  • modifying work schedules,

  • Job restructuring,

  • reassignment to a vacant position,

  • Acquiring or modifying equipment or devices, adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials, or policies,

  • providing qualified readers or interpreters.

You may find that ADA considers obstructive sleep apnea a disability as it affects the basic life process of sleeping. However, every case is different and you may need to work with someone with more legal background.

If you want more information about how to determine whether you have a disability under the ADA, please visit this link.

I hope you understand that the question of whether an employee has a disability, including the patients for sleep apnea, is answered on a case by case basis, considering how the specific employee is affected by his or her medical condition.

So, you will need an attorney for this complicated task. But you can claim sleep apnea to be a disability, mostly if sleep apnea was developed during your active service or employment. need proof for this claim:

  • you must have a diagnosis of sleep apnea in your records, from the sleep study. If all you have in your records is symptoms, you cannot claim sleep apnea.

  • In general, a prescription for the CPAP machine qualifies for the claim. I'm not sure if a prescription for dental appliance can help you, but that's why you need an attorney, right?

  • if you were diagnosed with sleep apnea before starting the service or employment, I don't think you have any chance. Again, ask your attorney.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

Comments for Sleep Apnea Disability Claim

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Apr 12, 2011
I'm not disable!
by: Jenny

I think I speak for most OSA people when I say we don't consider ourselves sufferers from a disease. We are healthy people who need mechanical assistance breathing at night.

Thanks to being diagnosed and treated, we will live longer happier healthier lives than if we hadn't been diagnosed. the sickness is undiagnosed OSA which ruins lives in many ways.

Apr 12, 2011
It depends of your treatment effectiveness
by: Virgo

No, SA will not qualify you for disability...unless, you have disabling side effects from it that have interfered with your ability to do daily functions and your ability to be gainfully employed, in even the most mundane entry-level occupations...such as stuffing envelopes.

I have SA, Primary CNS Hypersomnia, BiPolar II, Several herniated Discs with nerve root damage and pressing on my dura, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Sciatica, Vestibular Nerve Damage, Scoliosis, Possible MS, RLS/PLMD, Mild COPD and I am heading towards my 3rd year anniversary from filing for SSDI. I have had the Final Appeals Adjudication Hearing on March 7th...The judge ordered one additional test...SSDI lost the test results and the Judge has had a major illness or surgery...and not due back for another 2 weeks. The wait has been miserable...both financially and emotionally.

As Jenny said...if that is the only thing you have and the treatment works for you...keep on your machine and live your life. You can compare this to a person with diabetes...they have it but take the meds, control their diet and keep on working.

Jan 24, 2017
central apnea
by: Anonymous

I have been officially diagnosed with central apnea. that mental muzziness causes me to overlook a few details from time to time. No one is harmed. I just need my employer to understand that I need a little more time to make sure I haven't overlooked details.

However, my sleep dr actually told my employer that I do not need accommodations. I am amazed that despite needing an ASV to function, that my dr thinks I'm fine.

I was diagnosed with central apnea last summer and in the fall, I was starting to fall apart from the lack of sleep, until I got my ASV machine. I am starting to do a little better.

However, I will probably be put on a performance improvement plan tomorrow.

Is my central apnea a disability, considering I need a $10,000 ASV machine to effectively function?

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