Whether you care for someone with a disability or you’re disabled yourself, support is available in the form of disability benefits. Here’s our guide to make understanding what you are entitled to a bit easier.
- The main allowances
- Assistance with housing costs
- Vehicles and transport
- Interested in working?
- Still going to school?
- Disability Benefits for parents of disabled children
- Disability Benefits for carers
Several tax breaks are given to help you with the costs of living with, or caring for, disabilities. The three major ones are Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance.
This tax-free disability benefit is provided for people under the age of 65 who require care because of illness or disability. Disability Living Allowance is available to those who are able to work and those who aren’t. Any savings or income doesn’t usually affect your ability to get DLA. From 8 April 2013, DLA will be replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independence payment for disabled people aged 16 to 64.
How much can you expect?
Assessment is based on two separate parts. The first part works out whether you need a carer who helps look after you. The other part assesses your mobility and whether you require help walking and getting around.
The care component and mobility component are paid at different rates depending on how your disability affects you. The care component pays from £20.55–£77.45 weekly depending on your situation and the mobility component pays another £20.55–£54.05 weekly, again depending on your mobility.
Medical examinations are not typically needed and you can make a claim directly online or by post using the DLA claim pack (the forms tell you where to send them). There are different forms for adults and children (under 16) so make sure you fill out the right application form. You can also get your claim pack bu phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line in 0800 88 22 00. The Benefit Enquiry Line is open 8.30 am–6.30 pm Monday to Friday.
If you are asked to attend an assessment to check your eligibility you will receive a letter explaining why and where you must go. If you don’t go your benefits may be stopped.
Your allowance is then paid directly into your account so that you don’t have any more hassles once you’re granted your allowance. Even if you don’t get much money out of the Disability Living Allowance it’s still very much worth applying for it because it can increase the amount you receive from other benefits.
Things like Income Support, Pension Credit, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit, Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit will normally increase once you’re granted Disability Living Allowance. Plus, your Disability Living Allowance isn’t included as part of your income.
This is a tax-free disability benefit for those who are 65 or over and require care because of illness or disability. Again, your income or any savings you may have won’t usually affect how much Attendance Allowance you will get.
How much can you expect?
Each case is individually assessed and normally it isn’t necessary to have any medical examinations. The weekly amount you can expect to receive is around £51.85–£77.45. The amount paid is based on how severely you’re affected by your disability.
It’s simple to claim, you can do so immediately online or by phoning the Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 88 22 00.
You can have increased Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Pension Credit. Your Attendance Allowance payments are not included as part of your income when you are being assessed for increases in your other benefits and credits.
For more information about Attendance allowance and how to apply click here Attendance Allowance.
If you’re ill or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can offer you financial support if you’re unable to work, or personalised help if you are able to work. You can apply for ESA if you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.
How much can you expect?
You will usually receive contribution-based ESA if you’ve got enough National insurance contributions (NICs), or income-based ESA if your on a low income or don’t have enough NICs. You can check how much your entitled to using the benefit adviser.
After 13 weeks of ESA you will be put into either a Work-Related Activity Group or a Support Group. In the Work-Related Activity Group you’ll be expected to go to regular interviews with an adviser. In the Support Group – you don’t have to go to interviews, but you can ask to talk to a personal adviser if you want to. You’re usually in this group if your illness or disability severely limits what you can do. If you don’t take part in these interviews your ESA may be stopped.
Running a home can be so expensive now, and with the added cost of care it can quickly become overwhelming. If you’re running a household and have a disability there are various disability benefits that you could be entitled to. Some of the housing related disability benefits that are in place are:
Council Tax – This can be reduced by one band if you had to add any extensions or features that are essential for you to live there – for example, you’ve added an extension for a downstairs bedroom. The extension may put your property into a higher valuation banding, however you may be eligible for a one-band reduction.
Housing Benefit – This is for those on low income and paying rent and Council Tax. Both your Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit would be paid by your local council.
Disabled facilities grants – This works like energy efficiency grants in that it is a grant paid by your local council to help towards the cost of essential adaptations to your home, enabling you to continue to living there.
Television licence discount – If you are blind and are registered with your local council, you can get a 50% discount on the cost of your TV licence.
For a full guide on housing related disability benefits visit the Gov.uk website.
How you get around is just as important as how you pay for it. Driving and public transport has never been so easily accessible and adaptable to those with additional needs.
Some of the vehicle and travel related disability benefits currently ongoing include:
Blue Badge parking scheme – The Blue Badge scheme provides a range of parking benefits for disabled people with severe walking difficulties who travel either as drivers or as passengers.
Community and public transport – Public transport has never been more accessible for the disabled, with some councils offering free off-peak travel on local buses to disabled people living in their area. A Disabled Person’s Railcard offers discounts for disabled passengers and one other person at a discount of up to a third off.
If you’re capable of working and are interested in finding work then there are ‘Access to Work’ schemes. These government-funded disability benefits provide practical support at work which includes:
- paying towards special equipment, or a support worker
- assisting with the additional costs of travelling to work (on public transport)
There are loads of schemes available to assist in making your work life as accessible and comfortable as possible. You may even be eligible for a Job Grant, a one-off tax-free payment made once you start working again.
In addition to the Job Grant there are many more income supplements to help make ends meet once you’re back at work. However, even if you’re unable to go back to work these supplements are still available for you too. Some of these include:
Working Tax Credit – To help supplement low paying jobs. This is for the disabled or those who earn little and have a disabled person living with them.
Income Support – If you’re between 16 and the age you can get Pension Credit, live on a low income, aren’t working or are working on average less than 16 hours a week you can claim the disability benefit-Income Support. The amount you’re eligible for does depend on your savings.
With Income Support there are three categories that you may fit into: Basic Disability Premium, Severe Disability Premium or the Enhanced Disability Premium.
Once receiving Income Support you automatically qualify for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit and may receive help towards health costs such as prescriptions.
Click here for a full list of schemes and programmes.
If you’re interested in continuing education there’s no reason you can’t. With government schemes offering disability benefits in the form of both money and practical adaptations the only challenge left will be how you’ll get all those final papers handed in.
Among the most important allowances offered are the Disabled Students’ Allowances intended for students attending higher education who are burdened with extra costs due to their disability. These allowances helps cover the additional costs.
These students receive help with things including specialist equipment plus non-medical personal assistance. These allowances are financial support that never need to be repaid and that are paid in addition to a standard student finance package.
There’s a lot of support offered if you want access to them, with up to £20,520 paid annually for a non-medical helper and £5,161 for specialist equipment. Click here for full details of how much you can expect to get.
You can apply online now and start getting the money you need to help complete whatever course you choose.
Disability Benefits for parents of disabled children
Caring for a child with disabilities can be very rewarding, but as with all children it can get expensive. Why not make sure that you’re benefiting from all the additional money that’s put aside out there just for you?
Some of the major disability benefits available for parent carers include:
Child Tax Credit – This is a tax credit that’s available for parents or carers of children who are still in full-time education. There may be extra cash for parents caring for a disabled child.
Disability Living Allowance – It’s the same allowance as above, however parents of children with a severe physical or mental illness or disability can apply for the Disability Living Allowance, in lieu of the child applying directly for it.
Sure Start Maternity Grant – For families on low incomes that are getting financial support including Income Support and/or Working Tax Credit because of a disability element. They’re entitled to a one-off payment to help towards the cost of their first baby (or more if it’s a multiple birth). This payment does not have to be repaid.
You receive £500 per baby and your savings does not affect the grant amount received. The payment is made directly into your account. Apply by completing the form and bringing it into your local Job Centre who are happy to complete the rest of the process for you.
You must apply for this grant in the period from the 29th week of your pregnancy until your child is three months old. You are eligible for this grant if you have adopted or if you’ve been granted a residence order. You must claim the grant within three months of the adoption or date of the residence order with the child being 12 months or younger at the time of your claim.
For babies born on or after 11 April 2011, you can only get a Sure Start Maternity Grant if there are no other children under 16 years old in your family.
The Early Support Programme – Is designed to support parents of young disabled children. It’s a great starting point to find out more about your child’s condition or impairment and how you can help care for them. It offers parents knowledge and support. There are some extra details to consider when planning their care and their education. For a full list of advice read on.
If you’re a carer for a disabled person there’s some very useful financial and practical support available for you. The best place to read in depth all of your benefits is the Gov.uk website.
Some of the disability benefits you may be entitled to include a Carer’s assessment which is when a social worker comes and assesses the impact that caring has on you. Depending on the assessment you may be entitled to support such as a break from caring, help with housework, changes to equipment or adaptations to the home that make caring easier and access to sustained emotional support.
It’s really important to be honest about the effects of caring and not to feel guilty about admitting that you need a break. To apply follow this link and enter your address details. The site will then take you to your local council website where you can apply for a Carer’s assessment and find out more.
Another benefit available is a Carer’s Allowance. This is a taxable benefit to help those looking after a disabled person. In order to be eligible you must be 16 or over, spend a minumum of 35 hours weekly caring for a person receiving Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance or a War Disablement Pension.
You do not need to be a live-in carer or a relative in order to apply for this allowance. The weekly rate paid is £58.45 but you may get less if you receive other benefits. It is paid directly into your account.
You can apply online or by phoning the Carer’s Allowance Unit at 01253 856 123.
The office is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 4.30pm Friday.
It’s very important that you’re aware of all your rights and benefits as a carer. Make sure that you’re informed and are receiving adequate support. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, then there’s no way you can take good care of someone else.
Remember, a great site to check if you have any other questions about what you could be entitled to is Gov.uk. It clearly lists all current government schemes, grants, benefits and tax credits in place to help ease challenges.
- Department for Work and Pensions
- Age UK
- Disability Rights UK
- Also, find lots more articles that are relevant for disabled people in our special section here
If you have questions or thoughts about disability benefits, comment below or leave a question on our Facebook page.