To apply for Social Security disability benefits for sleep apnea, determine if you have cor pulmonale or cognitive impairment, which are disorders that automatically qualify applicants for disability benefits, states Nolo. The Social Security Administration may evaluate your residual functional capacity if you do not meet the listing criteria.
Cor pulmonale, or an enlarged right heart ventricle, is a heart disease that occurs due to severe pulmonary vascular hypertension, which results from obstructive sleep apnea, explains Nolo. You may receive disability benefits if you are diagnosed with cor pulmonale and if your medical test results indicate a pulmonary artery blood pressure above 40 millimeters of mercury or arterial hypoxemia accompanied by low oxygen and carbon dioxide pressure.
The Social Security Administration also assesses the presence of a disability based on its criteria for organic mental disorders, which refer to brain-related behavioral or psychological abnormalities, according to Nolo. The criteria include an intellectual ability reduced by 15 or more intellectual quotient points, thought disturbances or memory issues; personality changes; or at least two years of suffering a severe organic mental disorder that considerably affects basic work abilities. If you do not have either cor pulmonale or cognitive impairment, the Social Security Administration may consider your residual functional capacity to evaluate how your condition restricts your activities and determine if you qualify for disability benefits.