Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. A person with this condition becomes temporarily unable to move his or her respiratory muscles while sleeping. As a result, the person may experience pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing. These breathing interruptions can occur as often as several hundred times over the course of a single night and lead to long-term negative effects on one’s health.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you may be eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits in Ohio. You should try to learn as much as you can about your condition as well as the steps which you will need to go through in order to pursue the benefits that you deserve. You should also seek immediate help from our dynamic team of skilled and experienced disability benefits attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., L.P.A.
Types of Sleep Apnea
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from this disorder. Sleep apnea can manifest slightly differently symptoms in different people. The three major types of sleep apnea that people suffer from are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea – This is the most common type of sleep apnea. It encompasses the symptoms typically associated with sleep apnea such as snoring. This type of sleep apnea happens when your throat muscles relax and obstruct your airway.
- Central sleep apnea – This is a less common form of sleep apnea. It typically results from an illness such as heart failure or brain damage. It occurs when your brain stops sending the correct signals to the parts of your body that help you to breathe.
- Complex sleep apnea – This type of sleep apnea occurs whenever obstructive and central sleep apneas combine into one condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, in addition to snoring, common symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up with a dry mouth, morning headaches, insomnia, daytime fatigue, concentration difficulties and irritability.
Complications from Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea can cause many complications in the day-to-day lives of those who suffer from it. These complications are often the first signs that a larger health problem is at hand and medical attention is needed right away.
One of the biggest complications with this sleep disorder is the ongoing struggle with fatigue. Sleep apnea sufferers often wake up from a night’s rest feeling as tired as if they had never gone to sleep at all. Chronic sleep interruptions at night can also cause daytime disruptions of the ability to focus, memory loss, impaired thinking and mood swings. Additionally, the loud snoring typically associated with sleep apnea can be a complication not just for the person suffering from this condition but also for loved ones who are unable to sleep.
Complications do not end with fatigue and snoring. The complications of sleep apnea can include more serious health implications such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and heart enlargement.
Medically Qualifying for Sleep Apnea
The Social Security Administration (SSA) no longer has a disability listing for sleep apnea in its Bluebook, the document which lists and explains the many different types of disabilities that qualify for Social Security Disability benefits. However, even though sleep apnea is not listed in the Bluebook, it does not necessarily mean that a person with this condition cannot receive benefits.
You may suffer from a sleep apnea complication which is listed in the Bluebook. For example, you may qualify for disability benefits if you meet the criteria for a SSA Bluebook listed condition such as heart failure, specified breathing disorders or cognitive defects that have resulted from your sleep apnea.
Proving You Lack the Capacity to Work
Even if you don’t qualify for SSD benefits under a Bluebook listing, your sleep apnea may still manifest so severely that it impacts your capacity to work. In order to determine whether you qualify for benefits, the Ohio Division of Disability Determination (DDD) will consider an assessment of your “residual functional capacity.”
In making this RFC assessment, a DDD reviewer will take a look at how your sleep apnea impairs your ability to perform your current job. If you cannot perform the job because of your condition, DDD will then consider whether you can do any other type of job given factors such as your age, health, education, training and skills. If DDD finds that you are in fact capable of performing one of these positions, then your claim will likely be denied. However, if DDD determines that your restrictions are so limiting that you are completely unable to do any type of work, you may qualify for disability benefits.
Contact Our Ohio Disability Benefits Lawyers Today
Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea can be highly expensive. It can also be costly in terms of losing the ability to work and earn a living. For this reason, you should seek help from an experienced disability benefits attorney as early as possible if you suffer from this condition and need help with your claim for SSD benefits.
If you or a loved one has been struggling to obtain SSD benefits while battling sleep apnea, we are here to help at Heller, Maas, Moro & Magill, Co., L.P.A. With five offices conveniently located throughout northeastern Ohio, we can meet with you immediately to discuss your case.
Our goal is to make sure all of our clients receive compassionate and skilled legal representation when they need it the most. We can bring more than 200 years of combined legal experience to your case and a determination to do everything we can to help you, whether it involves assisting with your initial application for SSD benefits or with your appeal of a denied claim.
The last thing we want to do is to add to your stress. That is why our law firm will never charge you costs or legal fees unless we are successful in helping you to obtain benefits. Every case starts with a free consultation. Call or reach us online today to discuss your case today.
Robert L. Heller has practiced law in Ohio for nearly 40 years, devoting his entire career to helping disabled people in the Mahoning Valley to pursue needed benefits. A native of Warren, Ohio, Robert earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio and his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. He also studied public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. He is admitted to practice in Ohio state courts, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio and Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals as well as a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives (NOSSCR).