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Are you a veteran who can’t keep your eyes open? If so, you might be suffering from a serious medical condition called narcolepsy. This illness causes excessive daytime sleepiness, nighttime sleep problems, and other circadian rhythm issues that make everyday life a challenge.

Veteran sufferers may be surprised to find that there is a narcolepsy VA rating for this disability. If your narcolepsy began or was aggravated by your military service, you may be eligible for narcolepsy VA disability benefits.

At Gerling Law Injury Attorneys, we know how much a good night’s sleep can affect your life.

In this post, we’ll help you understand the VA disability rating for narcolepsy. We will also explain how to assess whether you might be eligible for benefits, and we’ll offer some resources for where and how to obtain those benefits.

What Is Narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder. Sleep problems—including constant drowsiness and falling asleep at inappropriate times—can persist no matter how much sleep a narcolepsy sufferer gets each night.

Because narcolepsy can be so life-altering and encompass so many areas of function, sufferers will want to understand the narcolepsy VA disability rating.

Narcolepsy Disability Rating

When you file for VA disability benefits, you can request benefits for all conditions caused by your time in the military. You’ll receive disability ratings (i.e., a percentage rating of how disabled you are) for each diagnostic code.

After your file and evidence have been reviewed, your disability compensation package will take into account your disability ratings.

Types of Narcolepsy

There are two types of narcolepsy. Type 1 narcolepsy includes loss of muscle tone and can occur due to a strong show of emotion. Type 2 narcolepsy is not associated with emotion and does not include loss of muscle tone. 

As with all VA ratings for disability benefits, the narcolepsy VA rating is not dependent upon whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 narcolepsy. As we’ll discuss later in this post, your rating and benefits have more to do with how you are personally affected by your disability.

Symptoms of Narcolepsy

The most common symptoms of narcolepsy include the following:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness;
  • Sudden loss of muscle tone (i.e., cataplexy);
  • Sleep paralysis;
  • Changes in REM sleep;
  • Hallucinations; and
  • Other sleep disorders, like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea.  

While the exact cause of narcolepsy has not yet been discovered, we know that different brain chemicals and genetics play a role in the disease. 

You will need to have a formal diagnosis of narcolepsy before you can get VA disability for narcolepsy benefits. This diagnosis requires a sleep evaluation by a specialist.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for narcolepsy, and this fact may impact the narcolepsy VA rating. The disorder can sometimes be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

Is There a Service Connection to Narcolepsy?

To qualify for VA disability for narcolepsy benefits, you typically have to show a connection between your disability and your military service.

Direct Service 

To demonstrate a direct service connection between your narcolepsy and your time in the service, you need to show all of the following:

  • a current narcolepsy diagnosis;
  • an event, injury, or illness caused during your time in the service; and 
  • a medical link between your narcolepsy and the service-related event, injury, or illness.

If you’re concerned about whether you can demonstrate a direct service link, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.  

Secondary Service

You may also be able to get narcolepsy VA disability benefits if you can demonstrate a secondary service-related condition. Narcolepsy qualifies as a secondary service-connected condition when it aggravates an existing condition.

For instance, if you are diagnosed with service-related narcolepsy and later develop depression, speak with a healthcare provider. If there’s a link between the two, you may qualify for additional VA disability for narcolepsy benefits.

What Is the Narcolepsy VA Rating?

The VA rating for narcolepsy classifies it as being similar to epilepsy or other seizure disorders. Narcolepsy can cause sudden disruptions to your work. It can endanger your safety and the safety of others.

Because of this, the VA gives sufferers a disability rating of 80%. A rating of 100% would mean that a veteran is disqualified from working. Speak to a lawyer today if you think you need help getting the benefits you deserve.

How Gerling Law Injury Attorneys Can Help

We’re experienced personal injury attorneys helping veterans across the nation and in Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky get the benefits they deserve. We’ve helped thousands of veterans like you navigate the complex world of VA disability claims. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Go with Experience. Go with Gerling. ®

Author Photo

Gayle Gerling Pettinga

Born and raised in Evansville, Gayle is a respected, experienced lawyer and a valued community leader. She graduated near the top of her class at Indiana University’s prestigious Maurer School of Law. She’s practiced law with one of the largest firms in Indianapolis as well as one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. And that means she knows how big law firms and big companies think and how they operate – and she will put that knowledge to work for you.

Gayle has received numerous awards and honors including Martindale-Hubbell — Peer Review Rated: AV®, American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorneys in Indiana for Exceptional and Outstanding Client Service, and YWCA Evansville 100 Years, 100 Women Honoree, 2011.

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