Welfare benefits can help you to live more independently, feel connected with your community or find work.
There are a range of welfare benefits available for people with complex disabilities and we can help you find out what you are entitled to.
You can find out more about the full range of welfare benefits available by visiting the GOV.UK website for more information.
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
The Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit designed to meet the extra costs of having long-term ill-health or a disability, including daily living and mobility needs.
PIP replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in England and Wales in 2013. This change affects everyone with a disability between the ages of 16 and 64 who currently claim DLA.
Children under 16 will continue to receive DLA until their 16th birthday.
Employment and Support Allowance
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a welfare benefit for people of working age (16 to 64) who are unable to be in employment due to illness or disability. People who receive ESA will be placed in one of two groups – the work-related activity group, where they will be expected to seek employment, and the support group, where there is no such requirement.
ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit (IB), Income Support (claimed because of a disability) and Severe Disability Allowance. If you still receive these welfare benefits you will be reassessed for ESA.
Attendance Allowance is a tax free, non-means tested benefit for disabled people aged over 65 years old. The allowance is designed to meet the everyday cost of living with a disability. Attendance Allowance is paid at two different rates with the amount allocated depending on the level of support needed.
Carer’s Allowance is a welfare benefit for people who care for somebody with a disability for at least 35 hours a week. In order to qualify for Carer’s Allowance, the person who is being cared for must be receiving a disability related benefit (Disability Living Allowance middle or higher rate care component, Personal Independence Payment daily living component at either rate, Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or Armed Forces Independence Payment).
Claimants must be aged 16 years or over, must not be in full-time education and cannot be earning more than £110 a week after deductions such as tax and national insurance.
Housing Benefit can help individuals, including disabled people, to meet the costs of rent if they are on a low income. Housing Benefit will soon become payable as part of Universal Credit (see below).
The under-occupancy charge (bedroom tax)
The bedroom tax applies to council and housing association tenants in receipt of housing benefit.
Since April 2013, tenants can have the rate of housing benefit cut where their local council has deemed that their property has more rooms than are needed.
People of a pension age are not be affected by the bedroom tax and there are also special rules that may allow an extra bedroom for the following people:
- Disabled children who, because of their disability, are unable to share a bedroom with their siblings in cases where the rules would normally expect them to share a bedroom.
- People who need an overnight carer, are allowed to allocate one bedroom for them. An overnight carer does not need to be a professional carer, for example from an agency, but can be anybody including family or friends who don’t normally live with the person.
Disabled facilities grants
Disabled facilities grants are provided by local councils. The grants help towards the cost of essential adaptations, to enable disabled people to continue to living at home.
Universal Credit (UC) is a single monthly payment for people in or out of work and under State Pension Age. Universal Credit will eventually replace a range of other welfare benefits including Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support.
From January 2019, everyone making a new claim for means-tested welfare benefits, including Employment and Support Allowance, will have to make a claim to Universal Credit instead. If you are currently claiming an old welfare benefit, you do not need to do anything until the Department for Work and Pensions contacts you to ask you to claim Universal Credit, unless something about your current claim changes. If it does, you then may be asked to make a claim for Universal Credit.
The welfare benefits cap
The welfare benefits cap is a cap on the total amount of certain welfare benefits that people aged 16 to 64 can claim.
The cap will not affect disabled people in receipt of Attendance Allowance, DLA, PIP or people in the support group for ESA, who are exempt. It will also not affect people claiming Housing Benefit, who live in supported housing.