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View Full Version : VA Sleep Apnea and FAA


MarineHarrier
12-23-2017, 06:20 PM
Very recently retired USAF.

I had mild OSA 4 years ago. I took another sleep study 3.5 hours ago and then I magically was below the theshold for OSA. Based on guidance from a VA counselor we listed OSA as one of my service conditions and he said they would schedule me for a sleep study. Well, the VA rated me for OSA without another sleep study.

I am scheduled for my FAA medical in a couple of weeks. I am thinking I need to go get another sleep study before my FAA medical appointment or could I just let things ride and if questioned and just produce my most recent sleep study from 3.5 years ago?

Please PM if you have any insight. I am not sure how quick the FAA pulls VA records. I am going to get another sleep study either way (sleep doctor can't get me in for 8 more weeks, late February to be exact) to cover my bases.

I am worried about the timing issue. Pre appointment or post appointment sleep study. I don't want to get in trouble with the FAA.


Flyinlynn
12-23-2017, 08:39 PM
I don’t think the FAA pulls anyone’s medical records it is up to the applicant to be honest under risk of $25,000 fine I believe is what is listed on the application that you sign to acknowledge. If the FAA should find out you have a diagnosis of apnea that you failed to disclose that would not be a good thing.

Here is an FAA info sheet on OSA
https://www.faa.gov/news/fact_sheets/news_story.cfm?newsId=18156

MarineHarrier
12-24-2017, 03:43 AM
After no sleeping all night thinking about this I decided to move my FAA medical appointment to after meeting with the sleep doctor. I will disclose then. I am pretty sure the FAA doesn't actually pull from VA records but honesty is the best policy.


tomgoodman
12-24-2017, 07:24 AM
After no sleeping all night thinking about this I decided to move my FAA medical appointment to after meeting with the sleep doctor. I will disclose then. I am pretty sure the FAA doesn't actually pull from VA records but honesty is the best policy.

You have made a very wise decision. 👍

rickair7777
12-26-2017, 04:22 AM
DO NOT lie to the FAA. For deliberate falsification of a serious disqualifying condition you will go to jail. You'd have to lie twice, because there's a checkbox for VA disability on the FAA form.

The FAA has previously cross-checked federal social security disability benefit records, those pilots went to jail.

The FAA has access to all federal records. I have not heard of them checking VA records probably because of the optics of witch-hunting veterans during a war. But that doesn't mean they'll never do it.1

You're in a tough spot, now that you're getting VA bennies for OSA you'll have a very uphill battle with the FAA. There are many things you can have a VA rating for and still hold an FAA 1C but OSA is not one of them.

You may need to resolve the OSA, or you may be able to fly using one of those portable forced-air contraptions to sleep at night.

Cujo665
12-26-2017, 05:15 AM
I recently heard that a few guys have been having great success using one of those sleep tracking apps for the smartphones. It uses the microphone to establish a baseline on your snoring, the motion sensors for wrestlessnes, and one of the versions even has a small finger pulse monitor.
I know one guy who the MD told him that had he not provided the data and explained the app, he would have been sent for the sleep study.

MarineHarrier
12-26-2017, 05:40 AM
DO NOT lie to the FAA. For deliberate falsification of a serious disqualifying condition you will go to jail. You'd have to lie twice, because there's a checkbox for VA disability on the FAA form.

The FAA has previously cross-checked federal social security disability benefit records, those pilots went to jail.

The FAA has access to all federal records. I have not heard of them checking VA records probably because of the optics of witch-hunting veterans during a war. But that doesn't mean they'll never do it.1

You're in a tough spot, now that you're getting VA bennies for OSA you'll have a very uphill battle with the FAA. There are many things you can have a VA rating for and still hold an FAA 1C but OSA is not one of them.

You may need to resolve the OSA, or you may be able to fly using one of those portable forced-air contraptions to sleep at night.

I talked with my AME. It didn't seem that difficult. Do you have some kind of insight into this "very uphill battle"?

rickair7777
12-26-2017, 01:31 PM
I talked with my AME. It didn't seem that difficult. Do you have some kind of insight into this "very uphill battle"?

If you tell the FAA you don't have OSA, you'll have to give up the VA pay. You can't have OSA for one federal agency, but not have it for another.

If you want to have OSA for VA purposes, you'll need to show that you can mitigate the condition to the FAAs satisfaction. If your AME has it under control, great. But the FAA has upped their scrutiny of OSA for some reason. Lots of guys getting benched right now. A high BMI can get you a presumptive diagnosis from the FAA, which you then have to disprove.

Probably more of a time and money issue than an uphill issue.

sherpster
12-28-2017, 07:49 AM
https://www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/cma.aspx

Rick,

Have you heard of even 1 case where the FAA knew something that was in a veterans va records? Just one. Could they get that information if they had a court order? Sure. Do they pull from VA records for every medical? No.

Honestly is the best policy because it is the people closest to you that will turn you in, not some phantom computer scan at the FAA.

If I am wrong then show me an example, just 1.

rickair7777
12-28-2017, 08:36 AM
https://www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/cma.aspx

Rick,

Have you heard of even 1 case where the FAA knew something that was in a veterans va records? Just one. Could they get that information if they had a court order? Sure. Do they pull from VA records for every medical? No.

Honestly is the best policy because it is the people closest to you that will turn you in, not some phantom computer scan at the FAA.

If I am wrong then show me an example, just 1.

As I said, it is known and public knowledge that the FAA has accessed a limited sample of federal social security disability records and cross-referenced them to pilot medical apps. This was not targeted at a pilot based on any sort of suspicion, it was dragnet. A number of pilots went to prison. My understanding is that this was a "trial run" of bigger things to come in the future.

I know of no cases where VA records have been accessed. I suspect the FAA does not want to go there, and appear to be picking on war-time vets... no good publicity or politics would come of that.

But times change, they might do it in the future. Can they do it without your consent? I suspect they can, because it's all federal records, and the FAA can make a case that they have a need to review medical records of pilots.

But whether they can do it unilaterally is beside the point... they can easily get your consent. The medical form has changed at least a couple times recently, and not for the better. All they need to do is add language to the effect that by signing this form you athorize the FAA to access your records from other federal agencies? Don't like it? Afraid of what they'll find? No worries, don't sign the 8500 form.

The main thing to be concerned about is the fact that your federal records never go away. And there's no guarantee that they won't be accessed at some point in the future. You probably don't want that hanging over your head. I assume there's a statute of limitations for criminal charges, but the FAA can shred all your pilot certs any time they want.

There's already a checkbox for disability benefits (that came about after the aforementioned dragnet).

sherpster
12-28-2017, 09:22 AM
Just to be clear-even if I believe the FAA doesnt access VA records doesn't mean you shouldn't be honest because your ex-wife, neighbor, co-worker, ex-friend will turn you in.

"The FAA has access to all federal records"

Rick, to clarify: what you said above is false. Would you agree?

For the NDR check you see the following BUT you don't see this for the disability block:
20 Applicant's National Driver Register and Certifying Declarations:
I hereby authorize the National Driver Register (NDR), through a designated State Department of Motor Vehicles, to furnish to the FAA information pertaining to my driving record. This consent constitutes authorization for a single access to the information contained in the NDR to verify information provided in this application. Upon my request, the FAA shall make the information received from the NDR, if any, available for my review and written comment. Authority: 23 U.S. Code 401.

ugleeual
12-28-2017, 10:42 AM
Just to be clear-even if I believe the FAA doesnt access VA records doesn't mean you shouldn't be honest because your ex-wife, neighbor, co-worker, ex-friend will turn you in.

"The FAA has access to all federal records"

Rick, to clarify: what you said above is false. Would you agree?

For the NDR check you see the following BUT you don't see this for the disability block:
20 Applicant's National Driver Register and Certifying Declarations:
I hereby authorize the National Driver Register (NDR), through a designated State Department of Motor Vehicles, to furnish to the FAA information pertaining to my driving record. This consent constitutes authorization for a single access to the information contained in the NDR to verify information provided in this application. Upon my request, the FAA shall make the information received from the NDR, if any, available for my review and written comment. Authority: 23 U.S. Code 401.

I remember about 4 years ago a couple SWA pilots were charged (not sure of the outcome) on filing for VA disability (100%) and then not disclosing this on the FAA medicals. I'm not sure how they figured this out... but they must be able to crosscheck VA disability with FAA medical data...

742Dash
12-28-2017, 05:45 PM
https://www.oprm.va.gov/privacy/cma.aspx

Rick,

Have you heard of even 1 case where the FAA knew something that was in a veterans va records? Just one. Could they get that information if they had a court order? Sure. Do they pull from VA records for every medical? No.

Honestly is the best policy because it is the people closest to you that will turn you in, not some phantom computer scan at the FAA.

If I am wrong then show me an example, just 1.

To jump into the middle of this --

I think everyone on this thread is missing the point. It is not about the VA and FAA, it is about a national drive to have all of your medical history accessible. The goal is honorable, from helping the person who shows up unconscious in the ER to protecting from drug interactions. And since it will also save a lot of organizations a lot of money this is coming sooner rather than later. It is a major, major push in the medical field.

Before I retire I fully expect the FAA to be accessing my medical history just like they access the National Drivers Register. And I am about to turn 59. The technology is almost here, and all it will then take is one sensational incident.

Your medical history and your FAA MedXpress inputs had better line up. And by "line up" I don't mean by pilot pretzel logic, but line up in the eyes of an FAA lawyer.

rickair7777
12-28-2017, 06:20 PM
To jump into the middle of this --

I think everyone on this thread is missing the point. It is not about the VA and FAA, it is about a national drive to have all of your medical history accessible. The goal is honorable, from helping the person who shows up unconscious in the ER to protecting from drug interactions. And since it will also save a lot of organizations a lot of money this is coming sooner rather than later. It is a major, major push in the medical field.

Before I retire I fully expect the FAA to be accessing my medical history just like they access the National Drivers Register. And I am about to turn 59. The technology is almost here, and all it will then take is one sensational incident.

Your medical history and your FAA MedXpress inputs had better line up. And by "line up" I don't mean by pilot pretzel logic, but line up in the eyes of an FAA lawyer.

This is the issue. The only barrier is your permission, and the FAA setting up the software. Eventually you will grant permission when you sign the 8500. I suspect the FAA will ultimately setup automated software screening of your digital records. Who knows how far back they will go? Maybe they'll be nice and give fair warning, and only search after that point. Or maybe they'll just let their software go fishing.

sherpster
12-31-2017, 04:15 PM
I had hours to kill at the airport today.

I did find numerous cases of “dot oig” busting pilots for lying on faa medical/not reporting conditions they were receiving va benefits for.

Sorry for implying otherwise



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