Is sleep Apnoea a disability? — Scope | Disability forum
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Is sleep Apnoea a disability?

RSISolutions
RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
Is sleep Apnoea a disability if it is so bad the person who has it has to use a machine to sleep? 
If it is classified as disability then how would this affect the person in terms of benefits?

Comments

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,346 Disability Gamechanger
    Any condition that prevents you from leading a "full and normal" life is a disability.
    As for benefits there's PIP based on how you condition affects your care needs and or mobility issues, also ESA which is based on your ability to work or not to work. Many conditions have their own charity that can often help with benefits.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi,


    To be eligible for any other benefits besides PIP will totally depend on the persons circumstances.

    It's no longer possible to claim the old Income Related ESA as it's now all Universal Credit. Whether they're entitled to any UC will totally depend on their circumstances because it's a means tested benefit.

    New style ESA maybe possible but to claim this they must have paid the correct amount of NI contributions from working in tax years April 2017 to April 2019.

  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    If the persons sleeping patterns are irregular and they feel sleepy during the day. Or if their energy levels on a particular day cannot be depended upon. And all this is because of Apnoea, then surley this must qualify for New Style ESA? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    They can't claim New style ESA unless they have worked and paid the correct amount of NI contributions in tax years stated in my previous comment.

    If they haven't they can look at claiming universal credit by using a benefits calculator that i posted a link for in my previous comment. To start the limited capability for work process of they will need fit notes from their GP.

    Also if they have savings/capital of more than £16,000 they'll be excluded from claiming. If they have £6,000 and over they'll see a deduction of £4.35 per month for every £250 over that amount.

    They may want to speak to an advice agency near them because without knowing all of their circumstances it's impossible to give any benefits advice.
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    This person stopped working a few weeks before lockdown. Before that the person held a professional well paid job paying lots of NI contributions. This person has less than 6,000 pounds in savings. 
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous

    During the day this person who has sleep Apnoea

    • feels very tired
    • finds it hard to concentrate
    • has mood swings
    • has a headache when they wake up. 
    Since the have paid plenty of NI contributions, surley this must make them qualify for new Style ESA? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    It's the 2 previous tax years that count. They can certainly apply and wait for the decision to made on their claim. It can take between 3-4 weeks. New style ESA pays £74,35 per week (over 25's) They'll need a fit note from their GP to be able to claim this.

    What have they been doing for money since they quit working? Lockdown was in March and we are now past the middle of September.
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    Claiming Universal Credit and being unemployed. 
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    But they need to show they have been looking for work for 35 hours per week and this is not possible due to the effects of the sleep Apnoea 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    As i previously adsvised, UC is a means tested benefit and claiming it will totally depend on their circumstances. You haven't given any information about this persons circumstances so it's impossible to give any advice.

    They should use a benefits calculator to check entitlement, as advised previously.

    If they claim New style ESA and UC at the same time then they NS/ESA payments will be deducted in full from any UC entitlement. If they live with a partner they will need to claim UC as a couple. A claim for UC will end any tax credits they may already be claiming.
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    This person is single and doesnt need to claim tax benefits. They do not have any children. 

    I think my question is more directed towards the fact that because they feel very tired during the day, find it hard to concentrate, have mood swinds, have a headache when they wake up - does this qualify as a disability? They are unable to function properly during the day. Does anyone one here have experience of claiming a disability benefit with Apnoea? 

  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    Your question has already been answered, here and on your other thread. PIP isn't about a diagnosis, it's how those conditions affect your ability to carry out daily activity based on the PIP descriptors. You can't compare 2 people because we are all affected differently by these conditions.

    If they think they qualify then they will need to start a claim by ring DWP/PIP.
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    Thank You @poppy123456. This person will not qualify for PIP. They can do all the PIP descriptos. 
    Before rining the DWP to see if they qualify I want to check out a few things on here and other forums. My my previous experience showed me that of doing a bit or research first and then claiming ESA  was a good approach. My claim was succesfull. 
    I am looking for people with lived experience of claiming a disability benefit with this condition or a trained Scope benefit advisor who can help. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.

    Please remember that PIP isn't about your ability to work. You keep mentioning a disability benefit, PIP is the only disability benefit that's possible to claim if the person is between 16 and state pension age. You also said that they wouldn't qualify for PIP so i'm confused why a call to DWP is needed to see if they qualify.

    ESA/UC is about your ability to work, so they are totally different benefits. If this person qualifies for UC or ESA then they should claim them. New style ESA isn't means tested. UC is means tested but if they claim UC they will also need a fit note from their GP to start the limited capability for work process off. The work capability assessment for UC is the same process as the one for ESA.

    May i ask if the person is you or someone that you know?
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    A call to the DWP to see if they qualify for PIP is not required. This person wont qualify. 
    The call to DWP will only be required to see if the qualify for another disability benefit. 

    Yes, this is someone I know. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    There's no other disability benefits, it's PIP or nothing for those aged between 16 and state pension age.

    UC and New style ESA are not disability benefits. They are earnings replacement benefits. A call to DWP to ask if they are entitled isn't going to help and they are not the best people to ask for advice over the phone.

    Your friend needs to apply for the benefits to see if they are entitled to them. If they claim both UC and NS/ESA they won't be financially better of because ESA will be deducted in full from any UC entitlement.

    If they need to claim for help with the rent then it's UC they need to claim. They will need a fit note for both benefits, if they are unable to work.

    To claim UC they will need to do this online here. https://www.gov.uk/apply-universal-credit



  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    Thanks @poppy123456. The link you sent above describes new style ESA as

     'If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).'

    Scopes own definition on their website says 'ESA is a benefit for people whose ability to work is limited by disability or poor health.' https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/employment-and-support-allowance/

    So I dont understand why you say PIP is the only disability benefit. it looks from both thesedescriptions, ESA is for people with disabilities. 

    I have always understood that calling the DWP for help over the phone or even in person is not the best approach for asking for help. This is why I use these forums, get legal advice and contact my local disability charity. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    No, not in the way you describe it. It's for people who are unable to work. Not everyone can claim the New style ESA as i previously advised. If they can't claim this then they will need to look at claiming Universal Credit and if they need help with the rent then UC is what they need to claim as well because new claims for housing benefit are no longer possible.

    I've given you all the advice i can give you. If your friend needs a benefit check then they should speak to an advice agency near them for a full benefits check.

    I totally understand you're trying to help this person, which is very nice of you but without more information about their circumstances it's not easy to give advice. I also don't understand why they've waited since before the lockdown to enquire about claiming benefits.
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    edited September 2020
    Thank you for your advice @poppy123456. I'd like to end this conversation with you now. 

    Does anyone else have any comments? 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    You're welcome.
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 4,989

    Scope community team

    Good morning @RSISolutions :) 

    From experience I can say that benefits can be a confusing subject, it can be difficult to know what you're entitled to because there's so many things that can factor into it, like employment status, living situation, finances and what particular impairment you have.

    I think a good place to start is a benefits checker, that will help work out entitlement based on your situation. And then the relevant descriptors for each benefit will help further.

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  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 12,342 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome to the community, I must comment and say you wont get any better benefit advise than you have been given by Poppy she is a true expert in this field

    I would maybe get advice from CAB or Welfare rights if you think this is required and also doing the benefits checker will confirm the advice already given

    I hope you manage to get the required information for your friend
    Here to help with my experience in hunan resources and employment rights 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    @janer1967 thank you for those kind words!
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    The question is about if the person was to satisfy all the other criteria  eg. financial, employment status, living status etc,  putting all that to aside for a minute, focusing on the disability only, has anyone heard of, or know of anyone who has had ESA or the disabiity part of UC because of Aponea?


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    No one can answer that question because it totally depends on the individual person and how their conditions affect their ability to do any type of work because that's what the work capability assessment is all about. It's the work they can do and not the work they can't do.
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 10,600 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @RSISolutions - playing Devil's advocate here, I must note that the symptoms of sleep apnoea that you mention are identical with these on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Sleep-apnoea/
    This surprised me somewhat, as I have sleep apnoea, but don't need to use a CPAP machine. My initial thought was to ask what type of sleep apnoea this person you know has, as either the machine might not be set correctly for them, or perhaps, if overweight, they should look into this.
    My next door neighbour but one uses a CPAP machine nightly following a severe bout of pneumomia & 6 weeks in an induced coma some 2-3 years ago. After a period of recuperation, he is back in full time employment.
    As far as headaches go, there can be many & varied reasons for this; often the simplest being a person isn't hydrated sufficiently. So, this person's comments about how sleep apnoea makes them feel is a bit of a 'red flag' to me.
    As Poppy has been at pains to say, about any problem, no two people may be affected the same. With a somewhat medical background, I agree totally with this. I would be wary about what this person is saying.
    As far as benefits go, you have had Poppy's input. I don't have a fraction of her knowledge, but don't doubt it from even the little I know.
    You have mentioned Scope's benefit advisors, & I would be happy to ask this online community's senior advisors about this should you wish. Please say.


  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    Thanks @chiarieds. The reason i didn't ask any of scope benefits advisers for help here is because i didn't think it was needed, given the level of my knowledge.

    Of course if @RSISolutions would like further advice then it's not a problem. Although, as i have pointed out several times across 2 threads here that a full benefits check from their local advice centre is advised. What does concern me here is what has this person been living off for 6 months, if they're not claiming any benefits.

  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 10,600 Disability Gamechanger
    @poppy123456 - there's no reason to ask for further advice other than the OP wasn't happy with the responses given, & wanted to end any conversation with you. I'm just asking if they want to have your sound opinion confirmed.
    They did mention that the person in question has been claiming UC. However, my other concern is that the person in question has almost word perfect the symptoms mentioned on the NHS website about sleep apnoea. This in itself is a bit unusual.....people rarely present the same, & less likely with a clinical text book example. As I say, this is a 'red flag' to me that there's something questionable about this....
  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    edited September 2020
    @chiarieds Yes - the symptoms were copies from the NHS website, but they are legit. I havent spoke to my friend since starting this thread. Nor does my friend know about the thread. Nor did he think of his Apnoea as a disability. I am trying to help him.

    Many people with disabilities, or impairments, dont think of them as disabled because they dont know about the 2010 Equality Act and the thought of themselves being disabled is a new thing to them. It takes time to get your head around it. Also we all know that getting advice from the unemployment office about what they are entitiled to is, in most cases, a waste of time. But I think it is a disability judging by what he says has been going on in his life. It is just as the NHS website says. 

    There is nothing 'red flag' about this post. Just because I am describing his symptoms word perfect from NHS website. I came to this website for support, not for critisim. 

    I think the reply from @woodbine which states 'Any condition that prevents you from leading a "full and normal" life is a disability' is a good one. My friend is definatley not leading a full and normal life. 

    he has lost his job because of this condition and now is expected to spend 35 hours per week looking for work on UC. This cannot be right. He should have had reasonable adjustments at work. Flexible woring times, working from home, disability confidence training for his manager and colleagues in order to avoid reasonable adjustment envy etc. But he didnt know he was able to ask for reasonable adjustments. He didnt think of himself as disabled. He was too tired and stressed to find out. 

    I would like to have the advice of the Scope advisors if it's possible please. 
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    No one is questioning whether or not it's a disability but i do think you're confusing that with what benefits this person maybe entitled to. As i advised yesterday, ESA and UC are not disability benefits, they are earnings replacement benefits. Although in this case it really doesn't matter what they are. Trying to give "3rd party advice" is never easy. I don't see anyone critising you.

    I'll tag a member of admin for you. @Adrian_Scope I'm really not sure what else you can add here on top of my very detailed explaination and all the advice i've given but @RSISolutions has requested further advice. Thanks in advance.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger

    he has lost his job because of this condition and now is expected to spend 35 hours per week looking for work on UC. This cannot be right. He should have had reasonable adjustments at work. Flexible woring times, working from home, disability confidence training for his manager and colleagues in order to avoid reasonable adjustment envy etc. But he didnt know he was able to ask for reasonable adjustments. He didnt think of himself as disabled. He was too tired and stressed to find out. 

    I would like to have the advice of the Scope advisors if it's possible please. 

    I missed the part where you said that this person is already claiming UC. Although there were 2 different threads at one point and this did confuse me quite a lot, sometimes my brain doesn't work that well when hopping from one thread to another with similar questions.

    If he hasn't sent in fit notes from his GP to start the limited capability for work process off then he needs to do this ASAP.

    Claiming New style ESA as well as UC will not make him financially better off because it's deducted £1 for £1 from any UC entitlement. If he has paid the correct amount of NI contributions in the years i stated then yes he can claim it.
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    There's some information here about LCW for UC. https://www.gov.uk/health-conditions-disability-universal-credit The process is the same as it was for ESA.

    If this person needs further help and advice it maybe a good idea to ask them to join the forum so that they can ask any questions they have for theirself, rather than rely on 3rd party advice.

  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 10,600 Disability Gamechanger
    @RSISolutions -  I totally agree with @woodbine , in fact I often say that anything that dis-ables you is a disability. I was not in fact criticizing you, just wondering as your friend had 'word perfect' symptoms as per the NHS website, & I therefore didn't want you to be mislead; I didn't realize you were in fact describing his symptoms as per the NHS website instead, which again was a little confusing.
    Anyway, I asked if you'd like a senior Scope advisor for help, but see that @poppy123456 has since directly asked, so hope this may help to reassure you about her sound advice.
  • Adrian_Scope
    Adrian_Scope Posts: 8,091

    Scope community team

    Hello @RSISolutions.

    For New Style ESA (and indeed legacy versions of ESA and LCW/LCWRA on Universal Credit) it's important not to be too focused on whether something is classed as a disability or not. ESA isn't awarded on whether you are disabled, but whether you meet a certain set of criteria, in the same way the PIP is (although they have different criteria.)

    Have you read through the criteria at all? To be placed into a group on ESA they have to score at least 15 points from these descriptors here: WRAG descriptors and to be placed into the support group they'll also need to meet one of these: Support group descriptors

    I don't know how much your friend's sleep apnoea impacts them day-to-day but if you read through these it'll help you and your friend better understand the likelihood of being awarded ESA. If there's any of the descriptors you're unsure of please let us know and we can try and explain it a little better for you.

    Has your friend discussed their work search commitments with UC and have they reported their condition under the health section?
    UC are supposed to take into account a person's situation when setting commitments and if 35 hours a week is unreasonable they could ask them to be looked at. If their condition is impacting them to the extent that they're struggling with the work search, a fit note from their GP either signing them off of work or suggesting adjustments may help with this, but they really need to have that conversation with their work coach. 
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  • RSISolutions
    RSISolutions Member Posts: 113 Courageous
    Thank you @Adrian_Scope

    I understand the descriptors. I am claiming ESA myself.

    I understand UC and ESA dont use the Equality Act's definition of disability but a set of criteria. 

    Regarding the descriptors, as an example. the manual dexterity issue asks if you can press a keyboard key or mouse click. One might answer yes if you can do this once. But isnt the question actually asking - can you do this reliably, repeatedly, within a reasonable amount of time, without causing intolerable pain, without making your condition worse? So on having this extra information about the question, one might now answer no. 

    Actually is there not another way of getting ESA? Regulation 29 of the ESA Regulations 2008. If you have some points, but not enough, if you were found capable of work, this would result in a substantial risk to your health.  ESA  would then be awarded. Is this still true?

    Moving forwards into employment. I am guessing that my friend could ask for reasonable adjustments. Examples could be working less hours, working flexible hours, disability confidence training for him, his manager and his immediate colleagues in order to avoid any reasonable adjustment envy, any meeting that requires his prescence should be organised in the afternoon, working from home etc. Can't think of any more at the minute. Would these be reasonable?
  • poppy123456
    poppy123456 Member Posts: 23,872 Disability Gamechanger
    Regulation 29 is WRAG or LCW for UC. Reg35 is Support Group or LCWRA for UC. New Style ESA is only paid for 1 year unless placed into the support group. 

    There’s no extra money if placed into either the WRAG or LCW. Only Support Group or LCWRA pays extra money.

    Regarding working there’s absolutely no reason at all why anyone can’t ask for reasonable adjustments to be made.

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