Social Security Disability Definitions
Social Security Disability and SSI Overview
The Requirements for Disability
Social Security Disability and SSI Applications
Tips and Advice for Disability Claims
How long does Disability take?
Common Mistakes after Receiving a Disability Denial
Disability Denials and Filing Appeals
Social Security Mental Disability Benefits
Disability Benefits offered through Social Security
Benefits through SSI disability
Disability Benefits for Children
Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify
Social Security Disability and Working
Winning your Disability Benefits
Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice
Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney
Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions
What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?
Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence
Filing for Disability Benefits
Eligibility for Disability Benefits
SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Facts about Sleep Apnea and Filing for Disability
How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits
1) It is estimated that nearly 20 million Americans are affected by sleep apnea, with 85-90 percent left undiagnosed and untreated. Men and the elderly are more likely to have sleep apnea than younger people, children, and women.
2) There are three different types of sleep apnea – obstructive, central, and complex. Complex sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type, characterized by daytime sleepiness and loud snoring.
3) In one single hour of sleep a sufferer of sleep apnea can have up to 30 or more breathing pauses, otherwise known as "apneic events".
4) Many people go years before they are diagnosed with the condition. If no one is there to see sufferers struggling for breath and having pauses in breathing, it can be very challenging to know the disorder is present.
5) The most prominent signs of sleep apnea are daytime fatigue, early morning headaches, lack of concentration, irritability, and daytime sleepiness. It can also cause memory issues.
6) One of the biggest death risks for those with sleep apnea is falling asleep while driving and having a motor accident. Also, heart disease, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, arrhythmias, and congestive heart failure are all at an increased risk for sufferers of sleep apnea.
7) Losing weight, quitting smoking, avoiding alcohol and muscle relaxants, can all benefit those with sleep apnea. Sleeping at a 30 degree or more elevation, breathing machines such as the continuous positive airway appliances, and oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep can help.
Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?
Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).
It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).
Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?
Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:
1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;
2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;
3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions
Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews