Sleep Apnoea: Understanding Benefits and Support Available
Sleep apnoea, a condition that affects an estimated 4 per cent of middle-aged men and 2 per cent of middle-aged women in the UK, causes breathing interruptions during sleep. However, the majority of cases remain undiagnosed, and many individuals with a diagnosis are unaware of potential benefits available to help manage the condition.
Who is eligible for benefits related to sleep apnoea?
Individuals with sleep apnoea may be eligible for Personal Independence Payments (PIP). To qualify for PIP, several criteria must be met, including being 16 years or older and experiencing a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability. The condition should result in difficulties performing daily tasks or moving around, expected to last for at least 12 months.
PIP consists of two parts, focusing on daily living and mobility support. Eligibility and the amount of benefits received are determined by the level of difficulty in performing everyday tasks and getting around.
If sleep apnoea interferes with tasks such as managing medications, bathing, dressing, socializing, or physically moving around, individuals may be eligible for PIP.
Residents of Scotland should apply for the Adult Disability Payment (ADP) instead of PIP. It’s also important to note that PIP can be claimed alongside other benefits, regardless of employment status or savings.
Assessments are conducted to determine the appropriate level of support, beginning with a phone call to the PIP new claims lines. Subsequent steps may include completing forms and undergoing assessments to provide additional information about the condition and its impact on daily life.
Understanding Sleep Apnoea Symptoms and Diagnosis
Sleep apnoea symptoms primarily occur during sleep, including breathing interruptions, gasping, snorting, and frequent awakenings. During the day, individuals may experience fatigue, difficulty focusing, mood swings, and morning headaches. If a GP suspects sleep apnoea, they may refer you to a specialist sleep clinic for diagnostic tests.
Diagnostics tests, conducted at a sleep clinic, may involve wearing devices to monitor breathing and heartbeat while sleeping. Lifestyle adjustments or the use of a CPAP machine may help manage sleep apnoea, and the NHS provides CPAP devices to those who need them.
Support Available and Benefit Rates
Regarding PIP, there are various rates available for the daily living and mobility parts, with adjustments in the rates from April 2024. The payment is tax-free and distributed every four weeks. The specific amount individuals receive for each part of PIP depends on their needs and the severity of their condition.