Medical conditions that make it impossible for you to do your job properly may qualify you for benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a financial payment for those who are unable to work due to certain conditions. One such condition is sleep apnea. This disorder causes problems that go beyond just being sleepy at work, so read on to learn more.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Many people mistakenly believe that sleep apnea is a sort of sleeping disease that makes you fall asleep during the day and while driving (which might more accurately describe narcolepsy). Actually, the main problem begins at night while the victim is attempting to sleep. The airflow into and out of the lungs can temporarily stop, and this can cause a dangerous rise in carbon dioxide levels. Waking constantly during the night can create problems staying awake while at work. Other common effects of sleep apnea include mood disorders and cognitive problems. If sleep apnea progresses, you could be at risk of heart-related problems like hypertension, strokes, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks.
How the SSA Views Sleep Apnea
You must able to first prove that you have sleep apnea and then you should be able to prove that it affects your ability to work at your job before you can be approved for benefits. Medical proof of your disorder should come from your doctor. Be ready to provide medical records and the results of diagnostic tests to show that a doctor has diagnosed you with sleep apnea. Be sure to seek medical attention before you apply for benefits and stay in treatment while your benefits are being approved (at the very least).
Additionally, the SSA evaluates your work tasks and compares them to what you are still able to do at this time. In other words, they want to see how the sleep apnea affects you as you carry out the tasks of your job. For example, if you must drive a forklift during the course of your job, a diagnosis of sleep apnea and orders from your doctor prohibiting driving would call for a ruling that you can no longer do your most recent job.
Since the effects of sleep apnea can spread to other body functions, you should be sure to list any and all medical conditions that are connected to the disorder. The more conditions you qualify under, the greater your chances of being approved for benefits. Check the SSA listing of conditions for issues like heart disease, cognitive impairments, etc.
Dealing With a Denial
Unfortunately, many SSA recipients are denied their benefits. Fortunately, you are entitled to plead your case at an appeal hearing. Don't go to the hearing without legal help, however – speak to your local law firm services about your case right away.