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OSA and Mental Health

Old 04-27-2022, 12:49 PM
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Question OSA and Mental Health

Does anyone know how long it may take to be cleared for Depression, Anxiety, and Sleep Apnea? I never received an official diagnoses for the depression or anxiety but I have done counseling in the past and haven't taken any medication for either. I've been using a CPaP machine for a little over a year now with no other sleep related issues and was cleared by my Flight Surgeon for flight duties before I left the military. I have a current 1st Class Medical from the FAA, and I'm waiting for the VA to assign me my disability rating which is why I held off on reporting these 3 things specifically. I assume once I hear back from the VA on everything I will need to redo my medical or can I wait until my next required exam next year?
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Old 04-28-2022, 07:26 AM
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OSA is a separate issue, there are threads on that here that you can look at.

Anxiety/depression could take a while. Have you ever been diagnosed or talked about it with any health care provider? Sounds like you probably did, so you'll have to report those visits to the FAA on the medical form. That includes non-MD counselors (exception for marriage/family counseling IIRC).

With depression/anxiety, any suspicion of that will probably require that you get an evolution from a Psychiatrist. If that's currently clean and the history is straightforward the AME can probably issue a 1C if it's a one-time episode. Otherwise it would have to go to OKC, and that might take a while.

Look at the dispositions for the conditions in these links:

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...ess/exam_tech/


Also do you already hold an FAA medical? Did any of these issues exist before you got the medical? If yes, you need to talk to an aviation lawyer before doing any FAA paperwork or exercising FAA airmen privileges. If you forgot to disclose a doc visit for a head cold, they probably won't care. But OSA and mental health are hot-button issues which are associated with real-world accidents and incidents so they will go hard-over on those if they find out you didn't report it, or flew with such a condition.

Also, regarding VA disability... that's ok for bad knees, back pain, and hearing loss. But holding a rating for OSA or mental health will likely complicate your FAA medical clearance. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT try to play the FAA and VA hands differently, they cross-check those records and they sent a Delta pilot to jail recently for doing that. If it's in your mil records or you even discussed it with the VA, better disclose it. Personally I would try to get medically cleared (legit) for those conditions and not worry about the rating. Major airline career earnings are orders of magnitude better than VA bennies. If you've already been diagnosed or documented, then just disclose it all and ride it out.
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Old 04-28-2022, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rickair7777 View Post
OSA is a separate issue, there are threads on that here that you can look at.

Anxiety/depression could take a while. Have you ever been diagnosed or talked about it with any health care provider? Sounds like you probably did, so you'll have to report those visits to the FAA on the medical form. That includes non-MD counselors (exception for marriage/family counseling IIRC).

With depression/anxiety, any suspicion of that will probably require that you get an evolution from a Psychiatrist. If that's currently clean and the history is straightforward the AME can probably issue a 1C if it's a one-time episode. Otherwise it would have to go to OKC, and that might take a while.

Look at the dispositions for the conditions in these links:

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...ess/exam_tech/


Also do you already hold an FAA medical? Did any of these issues exist before you got the medical? If yes, you need to talk to an aviation lawyer before doing any FAA paperwork or exercising FAA airmen privileges. If you forgot to disclose a doc visit for a head cold, they probably won't care. But OSA and mental health are hot-button issues which are associated with real-world accidents and incidents so they will go hard-over on those if they find out you didn't report it, or flew with such a condition.

Also, regarding VA disability... that's ok for bad knees, back pain, and hearing loss. But holding a rating for OSA or mental health will likely complicate your FAA medical clearance. DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT try to play the FAA and VA hands differently, they cross-check those records and they sent a Delta pilot to jail recently for doing that. If it's in your mil records or you even discussed it with the VA, better disclose it. Personally I would try to get medically cleared (legit) for those conditions and not worry about the rating. Major airline career earnings are orders of magnitude better than VA bennies. If you've already been diagnosed or documented, then just disclose it all and ride it out.

Thank you for the info and all the help. The only Psychiatrist I ever talked with was the VA examiner when I was transitioning out of the military, which is why I was waiting to hear back from the VA before I declared those issues. Thanks for the help and advice, hopefully it all works out in the end.
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Old 04-28-2022, 10:33 AM
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Look, I know every veterans group in the country advises you to get every dime you possibly can from the VA at separation/retirement, but people need to realize that if you are a pilot you are playing “I’m gonna bet my future career against a possible VA disability payment. First of all, the first 20% disability is not a huge amount:



And if you are a retiree, rather than just separating, it’s often offset dollar for dollar by deduction from your retirement pay. You substitute non-taxable income for taxable interest, which I grant is nice, but it doesn’t save you all that much. Sometimes the juice simply isn’t worth the squeeze.

If your combined disability rating is 40% or lower and you do not have a combat-related disability, then your military retirement pay will be offset, or deducted, by the amount of VA service-connected disability compensation you receive.





And when you start tossing around diagnoses like OSA, Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, etc., you rather dramatically increase the risk of a prolonged go-around with the FAA at OKC. That can not only lead to a prolonged period of non-flying after retirement or separation, but a lifetime of special testing for a special issuance.



Choose wisely.


https://youtu.be/qIitjokEJwg

Last edited by Excargodog; 04-28-2022 at 10:50 AM.
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