What disability and sickness benefits can I claim?

If you can’t work, or work reduced hours, because of sickness or disability – financial support is available. You might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), paid by your employer. If this has run out, or you can’t claim it, you might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit, and other benefits.

If you can’t work because of coronavirus

If you can’t work for any of the reasons listed below, the help you might qualify for depends on whether you’re an employee or self-employed:

  • If you’re sick
  • Shielding because you’re in a high-risk group
  • Self-isolating because you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, or you or someone you live with have been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery.

For employees and self-employed people, you’ll be entitled to a Test and Trace Support payment of £500 if:

  • you’re told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace system
  • you can’t work from home and are claiming certain benefits.

If you’re an employee, you might also be able to get Statutory Sick Pay.

If you’re self-employed, you might qualify for new style Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

Statutory Sick Pay

You might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay of £96.35 a week (2021/22) for up to 28 weeks if:

  • you’re employed, but not able to work
  • your average earnings for the two months before you stopped working were at least £120 a week.

New-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out, or you don’t qualify for it, (for example, because you're self-employed) you might be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). 

This is paid if you can’t work or can only work a few hours a week because of sickness or disability. To qualify, you need to have been paying National Insurance contributions for the past two to three years.

Universal Credit

If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay or New Style Employment and Support Allowance, you might be able to claim Universal Credit.

You can also claim Universal Credit alongside Statutory Sick Pay or New Style Employment and Support Allowance. You might end up getting more money if you claim both, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support.

Universal Credit is replacing other benefits, including income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and tax credits. You can no longer make a new claim for them

If you're already getting any of these benefits and need to claim Universal Credit because of sickness or disability, these benefits will stop and any support you need for extra costs, such as housing or bringing up children will be paid as part of Universal Credit instead.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and other disability benefit

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is paid if you find it difficult to carry out daily tasks or get about.

It’s not means-tested, which means you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

To qualify for it you must:

  • be aged between 16 and state pension age
  • have had these difficulties for three months and expect them to last for at least another nine months (unless you’re terminally ill).

PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults. If you’re making a new claim, you’ll be asked to claim PIP.

How much is PIP?

You could get between £23.70 and £152.15 a week (2021/22), depending on how severely your condition affects you.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You can only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children under 16.

It’s not means-tested, which means you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

How much is DLA?

Your child could get between £23.70 and £152.15 a week (2021/22), depending on how severely their condition affects them.

Attendance Allowance

You might qualify for Attendance Allowance if:

  • you need help with personal care
  • you need supervision to keep you safe
  • you’re at State Pension age or over and haven’t previously claimed DLA/PIP.

Help with housing costs

If you’re renting

Most people can no longer make a new claim for Housing Benefit, and will have to claim the housing costs element of Universal Credit instead.

If you’ve reached State Pension age, or you’re getting the severe disability premium, you might still be able to put in a new clam for Housing Benefit.

If you’re a homeowner

You might get help towards interest payments on your mortgage. This is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

SMI is usually paid directly to the lender 39 weeks after you first apply for this benefit. If you're claiming Pension Credit you can qualify for SMI straightaway.

It’s paid as a loan. You’ll have to pay this back either when you sell your house, or voluntarily when you’re able to – for example, when you return to work.

Help with Council Tax

If you’re on a low income, you might be able to get help with Council Tax or Rates payments.

Each local council has their own Council Tax Reduction scheme, so the help you get depends on where you live.

England and Wales

Contact your local council to find out more about their Council Tax Reduction scheme.

Scotland

Contact your local authority to find out about their Council Tax Reduction scheme.

Northern Ireland

You’ll need to claim Rate Relief instead.

Other benefits you might be entitled to

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

If your disability or illness was caused at work, you might be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

You must have been working for an employer or taking part in approved training. You won’t be able to claim it if you were self-employed.

The amount you can get depends on how severely your condition affects you.

It isn’t means-tested, so you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

State Pension and Pension Credit

If you’ve reached State Pension age, you’ll be able to claim the State Pension.

If you’re on a low income, you might be able to top it up with Pension Credit.

However, if you’re in a couple and only one of you is over State Pension age, you’ll have to claim Universal Credit instead of Pension Credit until you both reach State Pension age.

If you’ve got income or savings

Benefits that help you with the extra care needs of being sick or disabled aren’t means-tested. These include Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Attendance Allowance This means they’re not affected by your income and savings.

Other benefits, such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit, are affected by your income and savings – and your partner or spouse’s too.

Even if you have income and/or savings, it’s worth getting a benefits check to find out what you might be entitled to.

Benefits for carers

If a friend or family member cares for you, there’s also support available for them.

Help with getting about – Motability and Blue Badge Schemes

Motability Scheme

Who is it for?

People who get the higher rate mobility element of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment. The scheme can provide a car, motorised wheelchair or scooter.

How to claim

Call Motability on 0300 456 4566

Blue Badge Scheme

Who is it for?

The Blue Badge scheme helps people with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport to park close to where they need to go. Charges and entitlement rules for the Blue Badge scheme vary across the UK.

How to claim

Apply online on the GOV.UK website or contact your local council.

Help and advice with sickness and disability benefits

There’s plenty of free help available if you’re unsure about what benefits you’re entitled to, or need help with making a claim.

If you claim benefits, you must explain your condition. Otherwise you might not get all the help you’re entitled to.

Appointing someone to deal with your sickness and disability benefit claim for you

If you can’t manage your benefits yourself, an individual or organisation can do this on your behalf.

This is called being an appointee. They become responsible for dealing with your Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits.

If you have a learning disability, you can ask Dosh Financial Advocacy to help you with your benefits as your advocate and appointee.

They’re a non-profit organisation, and also offer a series of fact sheets for family carers on managing money.

Help with NHS health costs

Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whatever your age and circumstances.

If you live in England and you’re getting certain benefits or you’re on a low income, you might be able to get help with health costs.

These include:

  • dental costs
  • eyecare costs
  • NHS prescriptions
  • help with travel costs to hospital appointments.
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impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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