I left the military in October 2000. I submitted several claims and was only approved for 10% hearing and 20% knees; tantamount to 30% total disability. I was denied my sleep disorder claim because at the time of my sleep study I was working night shift. Admittedly, I do not have anything in my file stating I had sleep apnea. I have 11 registered events complaining of the symptoms of sleep apnea (i.e. insomnia, tiredness, lightheaded, exhausted).The local VA did not have a day time sleep study place I could attend. 9 plus years go by and I was finally able to get off that twilight shift and get affordable medical benefits so I can get a sleep study completed. July 5 2011, I completed my sleep study and was told I had severe sleep apnea with 63 AHI, 11.5 cm titration, and 71% oxygen desaturation. I was immediately given a cpap machine with humidifier. I took that information, as well as a nexus letter from my doctor stipulating that in his opinion, after reviewing my medical records, that I indeed have sleep apnea while I was in the military. My question to you all is several...
1. Having been out of the military over 10 plus years, how likely is my claim being overturned in my favor given that VA has a nexus letter, my sleep study results, information of my sleep disorder from my wife?
2. I know VA has "fuzzy math", but how would my disability percentage be if I'm already at 30%? I hear cpap machine is automatic 50%, so will that actually be 80% awarded to me or VA will come up with something lower?
3. From my understanding, sometime in 2005 it was determined that 50% disability would be automatically given if you are issued a cpap. Since my claim originated in 2000, what will the going rate be for OSA prior to 2005?
4. If awarded for sleep apnea, would they retroactively pay me since November 2000? Lump sum?
5. What is the process that VA conducts when viewing a persons claim after being denied? Do they have medical personnel to review such claims to decide the validity? how long does it take for them to process such claims after it's been opened?