Benefits and financial help if you’re a disabled adult

This page gives a short summary of the main benefits you may be entitled to depending on your age, disabilities and situation.

What’s on this page

Personal Independence Payments (PIP)  

As a child, you may have had disability living allowance (DLA) for children.

Once you reach 16, you’ll be able to claim PIP instead. This is a non-means-tested benefit. It can help with costs linked to disabilities.

You’ll need to fill in a form and may be asked to go for an assessment to find out more about how your disability affects your life. 

There are two parts to PIP:

  • Daily living – this part covers help you may need with everyday life, like washing, dressing and preparing food.
  • Mobility – this part covers support you may need to get around, from planning a route to using public transport.

There’s a lower and higher rate for each part and you’ll be paid every four weeks.

The government’s Disability Service Centre can give you advice about PIP.

Citizens’ Advice can help you prepare for an assessment.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

This is a benefit you can apply for if your disability affects how much you can work.

You might be able to get Universal Credit (UC) as well as, or instead of, new style ESA, depending on your National Insurance record.

You can apply if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

But you need to have been in work in the past, and to have paid enough national insurance contributions. It means it won’t be suitable when you first leave education.

ESA gives you:

  • Help with living costs if you’re unable to work
  • Support to get back into work if you’re able to

Universal Credit (UC)

This helps you with living costs and replaces a lot of older benefits.

As a disabled person, you can claim UC if you’re on a low income or need help with your living costs.

You could be working (including self-employed or part time) or be out of work, you usually need to be 18 or over, and to have less than £16,000 in savings.

You can also claim UC if you’re in full-time education, have limited capability for work and qualify for PIP.

Disabled students’ allowance (DSA)

This can help to covers the costs that may be involved in supporting you to study at higher education level.

The disability adviser at your college or university should be able to tell you how to apply for it.

Access to Work

Access to Work is a scheme that provides practical support to make work accessible. In turn, this helps people with a disability, health or mental health condition to get into and stay in work.

It can include a grant to help pay for things like:

  • BSL interpreters, lip speakers or note-takers
  • Adaptations to a vehicle you use to get to work
  • Special computer equipment
  • A support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace

A grant through Access to Work doesn’t affect any other benefits you get.

Find out more

You can find out more about the financial help available if you’re disabled from

The Citizens Advice website has lots of information on benefits and how to apply for them.

This content was last reviewed in April 2022. We’ll review it again next year.