Get ahead of the crowd with Premium
Register Forgot password

Disability benefits: get what’s rightfully yours

Penny Batchelor 9th Feb 2020 52 Comments

Reading Time: 8 minutes

In the past few years there have been substantial changes to disability benefits and support available. Below is a helpful bank of information, where you can find out what you may be entitled to claim, the amounts you can receive and how to apply for each.


Working Age 18+

Woman in wheelchair at home

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) launched in 2008 to replace Incapacity Benefit. The allowance is for people who are unable to work due to sickness or disability, temporarily or otherwise. How to apply depends on whether you live in an area running Universal Credit (UC).

Universal Credit is intended to be an allowance that will replace all current working-age means tested benefits in the UK, and since it’s inception, that’s exactly what it’s done. The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) aims for UC to be rolled out across the entire UK in full by March 2022, but at the time of writing (2020) it’s already in most areas around the UK.

New applicants of UC can apply here: visit the government web page.

You can also call them on 0843 903 3754.

ESA is split into two groups:

The first is the Work-Related Activity group. This is for disabled people who are assessed as being able to work at some point in the future, at least in some capacity.

The second is the Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity Group, which is for those who will always have a much more limited capacity for work due to their disability, therefore they may require additional support and don’t have to undertake jobseeking activities to receive their benefits.

You can claim online using the earlier above link, or call to speak to an operator about your eligibility.

During your application you’ll need to provide the following information:

  1. National Insurance number.
  2. Medical certificate from your GP or doctor.
  3. Your GP’s office address and telephone number.
  4. A own contact telephone number.
  5. Up to date mortgage or landlord details if applicable.
  6. A recent council tax bill.
  7. Your last employer’s address and telephone number, with your start and end dates of employment there.
  8. Bank or building society account number and sort code.
  9. Details of any other income you currently receive.

Once you have officially registered your claim, you’ll then be asked to complete a short claim form so that it can be properly assessed. You may also be invited to a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment.

The decision maker will then write to you to confirm if application is successful and, if so, whether you have been placed in the Work-Related Activity or Support Group. There is also an appeal process in place. This is if your application is rejected and you’d like to challenge that decision.

How much?

For the 2019/20 tax year, which is now until April 2020, the weekly rates are:

  • Work-Related Activity Group: £73.10
  • Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity Group: £111.65

 Disabled men high fiving

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

PIP replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all new applicants aged 16 to 64. PIP recognises that disabled people incur extra costs in their daily lives. This can influence how much you may recieve.

To make a new claim telephone 0800 917 2222.

You’ll need to provide the following details in order to make your claim:

  1. Contact telephone number
  2. Date of birth
  3. National Insurance number
  4. Bank or building society account number and sort code
  5. Your GP’s name and contact details, plus those of any other doctor or health worker whose care you are under
  6. If applicable, dates and addresses of any time you’ve spent in hospital, in a care home or abroad.

The DWP will then post a long ‘How your disability affects you’ form to fill in. The questions take the following into account: your mental health, learning disabilities and physical impairments. If you need help filling out the form, ask your carer, friend, or contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Once the DWP has received your form, an independent health professional may invite you to a face-to-face meeting, either at an assessment centre or your home. You’ll be asked about your ability to carry out daily activities and how your condition affects your life in general.

The representative will then write to you to inform you if you have been successful or not. They will also confirm the level of benefit you are entitled to receive. However, if you are rejected do not agree with the decision: you can enter the appeal process.

How much?

For the 2018/19 tax year the weekly rates are anything between £23.20 and £148.85 a week. It’s split into two parts: mobility and daily living. You might get one of these but not the other, or you can get both.


Man in a wheelchair using a tablet

Television licence discount

People in the UK who suffer from a visual impairment or blindness can apply for a 50% discount on their television licence. This usually costs £157.50 as of 2020, however with the discount applied, the cost is £78.75.

Remember, this is for the whole household to benefit from. Therefore if you live with someone who is blind and they are not aware of this, then they should consider applying.

Full details are here.

This podcast explains the process in audio.


University Students

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is available for full and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. It’s designed to cover some of the additional costs that students who suffer from mental health problems, long term illnesses and other disabilities may incur.

Examples include covering the cost of specialist equipment, and non-specialist equipment, non-medical helpers and travel costs. What it doesn’t cover is day-to-day costs every student has, such as groceries and rent.

The rate you receive will depend upon an assessment of your needs. Your university will have their own way of doing things, however it never hurts to inquire and find out for certain.

To apply:


Retirement age 65 +

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance allowance is a benefit for people over the age of 65 which is intended for those who suffer from severe health problems. They may require someone to stop by regularly and help them with their daily tasks, helping to look after them in any way that may be beneficial.

There are two rates, lower and higher, depending on the level of help needed. AA is not means tested.

To claim telephone 0800 731 0122.

How much?

For the 2020/21 tax year the weekly rates are:

  • lower rate: £58.70
  • higher rate: £87.65


Benefits for Carers

Elderly woman being read to in hospital

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

People over 16 living in England, Wales or Scotland who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. This is if the person they care for also receives:

  • A daily living component of PIP
  • The middle or highest care rate of DLA
  • Attendance Allowance.

To claim, fill in the online form. You’ll need the date of birth, name and address, national insurance number (if they’re over 16) and DLA reference number (if they’re under 16) of the person you’re caring for.

You’ll also need your own NI number, bank or building society account number and sort code, P45 or current employment details.

In Northern Ireland the rules are slightly different.

If you are not eligible for CA, then you may be entitled to Carer’s Credit instead. This is a national insurance credit for those caring for someone for at least 20 hours per week. For information, read here.

How much?

For the 2020/21 tax year the weekly rate for Carer’s Allowance is £66.15.

young male carer

Carer’s Assessment

It’s important that the needs of the carer are not overlooked. After all, they need to be fit and healthy in order to function effectively as a carer. Carers are entitled to a free Carer’s Assessment from their local authority.

This assessment will review your situation and ascertain what practical support you may be entitled to. It’s important that you are honest about the impact that your role as a carer has on your life, health and ability to work.

To arrange a carer’s assessment, contact your local council’s adult social services department. Carer’s UK has useful factsheet on how the process differs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Other sources of financial help

Disabled woman in wheelchair at kitchen table

Council tax discount

If you have a disability, your local council will tell you if you are eligible for a council tax discount. People who are severely mentally impaired; who have a live-in carer who isn’t their partner, spouse or child, aren’t included when working out a council tax payment.

Those who live in a larger property because to their disability needs, and require the extra space for use of a wheelchair or an extra bathroom/kitchen, may also be eligible for a discount.

You are responsible for applying to your council for the discount. To find your local council’s website type in your postcode on this Government web page.


Housing Benefit

People who are on a low income can apply for Housing Benefit to help with their housing costs. Couples of working age living in social housing who cannot share a bedroom for health reasons, and disabled people who require an extra bedroom for overnight care, may not have to pay the spare room subsidy. This is commonly known as the bedroom tax.

To see if you’re eligible and to apply go here.


Disabled Facilities Grants

Local councils can grant money for disabled people who need make changes in their home. This can help to make their living arrangements easier for them. Services such as widening doors for wheelchair access, installing a stair lift and ramps are all things that are included.

Contact your local council for eligibility information and how to apply.


Blue Badges

Blue parking badges are available for qualifying disabled people. They allow holders to park in marked disabled spaces without charge (or at a reduced fee) in most pay-and-display car parks. They also allow holders to park on single and double yellow lines for up to three hours.

Historically, only people with difficulty walking have been eligible for a blue badges. However, the government recently extended this to people with mental health conditions too. Conditions such as dementia and autism may also be covered.

England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have different ways to apply. See here.

Wheelchair in front of car


Disabled people who receive the highest level of PIP’s mobility component are automatically entitled to apply to Motability. This is a scheme which enables customers to lease cars, scooters, powered wheelchairs and wheelchair accessible vehicles at a lower cost.

For further information and how to apply visit their site.

Water Sure

If you have a condition that requires a heavy use of water, such as a serious skin condition or extra laundry due to incontinence, you could apply to your water supplier through the Water Sure scheme for a discount. If you live with a large number of school age children, you could also be eligible even if your medical conditions don’t use extra water.

Find out more here.

Warm Home Discount

People on a low income or certain disability benefits qualify for the Warm Home Discount. This is an extra payment on your energy bill of £140 during winter, to make sure you can afford your heating and energy bills.

Each supplier has their own criteria; however all suppliers must accept certain people onto their scheme. Find out more about how to get the warm home discount here.

Useful links

UK Government Carers and Disability Benefits

 Citizens Advice

TV Licensing

If you have questions or thoughts about disability benefits, comment below or leave a question on our Facebook page.


Sign Up – Newsletter
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
14 years ago

my son lost his sight in his right eye when he was a baby. Over the years he has had terrible pain from glaucoma and he has a white eye through cataract. He gets stared at when he goes out and sometimes teased and called names. This has affected his confidence greatly. He doesnt go out and apart from a few friends he will not socialize. He applied for DLA and got turned down and yet a relative of mine got DLA for her son when he went blind in one eye because she couldnt be bothered to get him… Read more »

Olen Lundberg
Olen Lundberg
14 years ago

I think I did this a while ago. It brings back bad memories. Nothing good seems to happen the first time. How long did it take you? I look forward to your next post.

colin lyne
colin lyne
14 years ago

There are many totally deaf and blind people who continue to work. Try working like them instead of making excuses for laziness, and sponging off the state!

11 years ago
Reply to  colin lyne

lol yes if your just deaf or just blind yeh you can work if you have just lost a leg or an arm yes you can work but some of the people on here have disability’s that you wouldnt wish on your worst enemy and would give anything to trade places and do a days work without being in so much pain they feel like stabbing a knife in there eye and ripping a tooth out with plyers becsause its less pain than what there feeling or tired to finish the day they end up wastig there life sleeping. yes… Read more »

James Howard
James Howard
11 years ago
Reply to  nick

Thankyou so much for that nick, espically from me, i ahve a spinal disorder cant remember what it is but i know it begins with a s thought it was stinosisis been bornw ithi t and the doctor is insisting it isn’t considering it looks liek they’ve lost my records,applied for esa think i have got it, i suffer with extreme back and leg pain chest pain stomach pain half the day i have to go to bed or lay down due to the pain and i suffer with depression due to the pain as well as the job centre… Read more »

14 years ago

I’m on incapacity benefit and i have a disabled badge and i was wondering if I’m entitled for free car tax any help would be great

11 years ago
Reply to  julie

you can get free tax if you are on the motability scheme and you can only get on that if you receive the mobility rate of dla

14 years ago

I ment I can’t return to my job as it affecting my general health & metal health well being, I suffering the 1st sings of a nervous breakdown. Can I get any benefits if I have to leave me job due to the stress it causing, I would rather be dead than face me work again.

14 years ago
Reply to  Gail

gail as for your unfiar discrimination at work this is what is known as bullying and discrimination due to your ‘ different ‘ personality. i dont mean to be rude there easiest way of describing it. you can take them to the industrial tribunal for discrimination etc however i wiil warn you to gather evidence as this will help ie a tape recording of the behaviour etc. janet i agree with sarah why the hostility i have an autistic son and a wife who has aspergers but i am not relishing on the amount of money they get. it was… Read more »

14 years ago

Hi I’ve just completed my DLA form on the internet. I have sever Dyslexia scotpic sensativity M Irlens Dissorder. My Job makes me fell suascidal, it causing deppression I can return to my work cause their treating me un fairly & suffering from discrimination at work as they wont premoto me cause as their making up a load of lies about me. & when my doctor gave my work a medical note to my work stating that I can go out side as they alway give the worst jobs to like dealing with torso deep amount of rubbish to compact… Read more »

14 years ago

hi can you help i have just been awarded disability living alowence for mobility is there any think else i might be entitled to many thanks ken

11 years ago
Reply to  ken

You should be able to get free bus travel from you local council you can get onto the motability scheme which will give you a free car (your dla money is taken for this) which you can change every 3 years which is also taxed and serviced for you

14 years ago

In response to the post asking for help with a hearing problem. I would speak with the practice nurse at your surgery as she could advise if there is any help you could receive.

If that doesn’t solve things then try citizens advice bureau they are very clued up on what help you are entitled too. And they wont condemm you for asking what you may be entitled too.

14 years ago

Janet I am amazed at how rude you are. The poster at the top wasn’t saying he was entitled to the same amount of money as you. He just stated that he has a hearing problem and has come on here to ask for some advice. Why are you so aggressive.

My son recieves disability living allownace but I wouldn’t leave such a nasty post to someone who is just asking for help.

Janet Nicholls
Janet Nicholls
14 years ago

My daughter has 2 severly autistic children to care for 24 hours a day and I have severe spinal nerve damage and can hardly walk do you still think you should get the same money as usI think you should have been turned down have you checked out for an hearing aid

11 years ago
Reply to  Janet Nicholls

Don’t wine so much just be luck you get help at all there are lots of people in this world who would give there left arm for what people get in this contry.

9 years ago
Reply to  ceedog

What a disgusting low life. It’s all relative and that’s why people kill themselves in all societies, rich[financially] and poor.

James Howard
James Howard
11 years ago
Reply to  Janet Nicholls

I feel for you Janet, as i ahve a similiar problem, but it also affects my leg, which as no nerve orm sucle in it as it wastes away, so dont start moaning and shouting at tohers when they are people worse than you out there, me being one of them, dont start having a go im just saying,be nice.

1 2 3 4

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

Send this to a friend