Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Clockwise

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Has anyone here gone through the MEB process within or been declared non-deployable for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS) by the Army?

I would be most interested in knowing about your experiences and considering any advice you may have to offer.

Thanks!
 

xeno

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There are probably many posts. Click the search button above or the one in my signature and type in:

Sleep Apnea

You will get many hits. Check those out.
 

ICBMGuy

PEB Forum Regular Member
I just went through the process and they found me fit for duty with an assignment limitation code of C-1. I use a CPAP machine nightly. I have 20 years of service and am hoping to stay for 4 more years and then....adios!! Good Luck!!!
 

maparker

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Sleep Apnea has a long and storied history. By law, PEBs are required to rate unfitting conditions per the criteria of the VASRD. Over the years, DoD and the Services began adding their own modifications to the VASRD criteria to keep ratings below 30%; the level required to qualify for disability retirement.

What DoD did to the VASRD rating criteria for sleep apnea is one of the most egregious examples of this tactic. DoD threw out the VASRD criteria for sleep apnea and replaced it with criteria for mental conditions centered on industrial impairment. Sleep apnea requiring a CPAP machine rates 50% per the VASRD. Under the DoD criteria, the same condition rates 0%.

In the 2008 NDAA, Congress passed a law that shut the door on DoD/Service modifications of the VASRD and made it clear they are required to rate per the VASRD. When PEBs could rate with the modified criteria, they had no problem finding service members unfit for sleep apnea and rating them at 0%. Now that they have to rate per the VASRD which often leads to retirement level ratings, they rarely find the condition unfitting.

One of you biggest risks is being evaluated for multiple conditions where they can deem a low rating condition unfitting and your sleep apnea fitting. This could lead to separation without disability retirement.

Mike
 

maparker

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Staff Member
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Sleep Apnea has a long and storied history. By law, PEBs are required to rate unfitting conditions per the criteria of the VASRD. Over the years, DoD and the Services began adding their own modifications to the VASRD criteria to keep ratings below 30%; the level required to qualify for disability retirement.

What DoD did to the VASRD rating criteria for sleep apnea is one of the most egregious examples of this tactic. DoD threw out the VASRD criteria for sleep apnea and replaced it with criteria for mental conditions centered on industrial impairment. Sleep apnea requiring a CPAP machine rates 50% per the VASRD. Under the DoD criteria, the same condition rates 0%.

In the 2008 NDAA, Congress passed a law that shut the door on DoD/Service modifications of the VASRD and made it clear they are required to rate per the VASRD. When PEBs could rate with the modified criteria, they had no problem finding service members unfit for sleep apnea and rating them at 0%. Now that they have to rate per the VASRD which often leads to retirement level ratings, they rarely find the condition unfitting.

One of you biggest risks is being evaluated for multiple conditions where they can deem a low rating condition unfitting and your sleep apnea fitting. This could lead to separation without disability retirement.

Mike
 

Clockwise

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
One of you biggest risks is being evaluated for multiple conditions where they can deem a low rating condition unfitting and your sleep apnea fitting. This could lead to separation without disability retirement.
How could they do that? VASRD says you have OSA with CPAP use rates 50%. My understanding was that regardless of what they found you to be "fit" or "unfit" for, they have to acknowledge all of your medical conditions and award you a total rating based upon all of them. Hence, whether they "pick" OSA as the primary reason for "fit" or "unfit" they simply cannot deny an obvious service-connected medical condition. That is like saying if you have terminal cancer they can simply find you "unfit" for a hangnail and discharge you for that reason and ignore your cancer and not rate you for it.

Am I right?

Besides, I now have another question...

I am now starting to understand that sleep apnea is merely only one symptom of a much larger medical condition that was being masked by the existence of OSA: Low Testosterone - at least that is my firm belief. I will be going to sick call this week to begin bringing this to the attention to medical authorities.

Any thoughts?
 

Jason Perry

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How could they do that? VASRD says you have OSA with CPAP use rates 50%. My understanding was that regardless of what they found you to be "fit" or "unfit" for, they have to acknowledge all of your medical conditions and award you a total rating based upon all of them. Hence, whether they "pick" OSA as the primary reason for "fit" or "unfit" they simply cannot deny an obvious service-connected medical condition. That is like saying if you have terminal cancer they can simply find you "unfit" for a hangnail and discharge you for that reason and ignore your cancer and not rate you for it.

Am I right?
No, they look at whether each condition is unfitting, and if it is they rate that condition. They ignore the other conditions for rating purposes. There is an exception (which I have seen maybe once in several years) where conditions that by themselves would not be unfitting combine to be unfitting. But, if you have a condition that is not unfitting, it will not be rated.

Besides, I now have another question...

I am now starting to understand that sleep apnea is merely only one symptom of a much larger medical condition that was being masked by the existence of OSA: Low Testosterone - at least that is my firm belief. I will be going to sick call this week to begin bringing this to the attention to medical authorities.

Any thoughts?
Hormonal conditions can be rated. Again, consider the fitness question first. However, if identified, and they treat with testosterone patches, for example, and your condition is no longer disabling, then you will only be rated on residuals if unfitting.
 

Clockwise

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Thanks for the info...

Fact of the matter is I am not trying to get out and it appears that my unit is not trying to force the issue in any way. I am just trying to educate myself in case down the road someone decides to get a “wild hair” and decides that “this dead weight has to go”, if you know what I mean…

Additionally, I am being told by some PEBLOs that as an SSG (E-6) soon to have 15 years active duty service that there is a high probability that a MEB would not find me "unfit" unless I had something that was damn near debilitating, as they would feel that "the Army was trying to get off cheap" but not letting me just make it to 20 years and retire for service.

Your thoughts?
 

mkew77j

PEB Forum Regular Member


I am currently not on MEB status although I have been before and hope to be soon again. Just so everyone knows, if you have a CPAP and have S/A you will be found fit and returned to duty. The reason I hope so soon is if they wouldve listened to me I wouldnt have had to have surgury.
That was told to me this week. I went in to get the copies of my medical records (mention that later). I called my doctor to ask when I could start running as I need to start getting in shape and he said you will never run. I am active duty and I am sure that is not going to fly. I had a 360 fusion with hardware and he said if you run you will wear down the disk above it since it is at the top of the lumbar. He said the impact of running will wear it down fairly quickly.I was also told I would have permanent lifting and bending restrictions. I found it in the regs that if you are permanently exempted from any component of the fitness test you should be MEB'd. I have been out of work since my surgury Aug 31 2009. I was also told I was not on a profile as I dont need one as I am still on Conv leave. Anyone want to take a shot at what I could be looking at when I am returned to work by my surgeon. In other words once the Air Force gets wind of these restrictions what do you think their response is going to be. I cannot believe that they are just going to except this lying down.

Now for my med record copies. It is funny as I am C coded for sleep apnea. I have been boarded for that. But yet my medical record had nothing in it about even going to the sleep study. It is ok cause I kept my own. But why is my sleep study results and MEB results and such not in there. Did they do as I have heard before and mysteriously lost them. Like I said for the past 2 yrs everything on me medically I have kept record or official copies so if they did "lose" it I have my own. Do I smell a shaft job in the works. Or are they just waiting till The end of my enlistment to kick me out because as of right now it say i am medicaly not eligible to reenlist.

If youve seen me post something simular else where I am just trying to find out what the wait is about.
 

fdhall

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Sleep Apnea has a long and storied history. By law, PEBs are required to rate unfitting conditions per the criteria of the VASRD. Over the years, DoD and the Services began adding their own modifications to the VASRD criteria to keep ratings below 30%; the level required to qualify for disability retirement.

What DoD did to the VASRD rating criteria for sleep apnea is one of the most egregious examples of this tactic. DoD threw out the VASRD criteria for sleep apnea and replaced it with criteria for mental conditions centered on industrial impairment. Sleep apnea requiring a CPAP machine rates 50% per the VASRD. Under the DoD criteria, the same condition rates 0%.

In the 2008 NDAA, Congress passed a law that shut the door on DoD/Service modifications of the VASRD and made it clear they are required to rate per the VASRD. When PEBs could rate with the modified criteria, they had no problem finding service members unfit for sleep apnea and rating them at 0%. Now that they have to rate per the VASRD which often leads to retirement level ratings, they rarely find the condition unfitting.

One of you biggest risks is being evaluated for multiple conditions where they can deem a low rating condition unfitting and your sleep apnea fitting. This could lead to separation without disability retirement.

Mike
This is EXACTLY what happen to me in 2003! I just sent my PDBR appeal yesterday explaining this scenario. I also noticed that there would appear to be some fraud on their part since they "added" my sleep apnea to my initial MEB proceedings that happened a few months earlier. The only problem for them was, the MEB was actually about 3 months prior to me actually being diagnosed with sleep apnea...despite the fact it had totally different fonts and size too.

I'll definitely report back here on my progess. This site has help my understanding tremendously so I definitely want to give back.
 

fdhall

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PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Still awaiting final decision. I was informed via email on 4/21/16: "Your case was adjudicated and our recommendation was recently sent to the Army for their final action. The Army will contact you via letter with their final decision. Unfortunately, we cannot discuss your case."

Just realized that it's been 2+ years
 
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