Becoming Disabled


2 Managing extra costs of disability

What benefits can I get if I’m disabled?

The benefits system is complex – there are around 30 benefits that you might be able to claim. We’re covering the main ones here, but to get an overview of all your possible entitlements, use our benefits checker.

If you’ve got questions about benefits, you can contact our helpline or ask a benefits specialist in our online community.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
PIP is for adults aged 16 to 64. It is not means-tested or taxable, and exists to help with some of the extra costs associated with disability. PIP often acts as a gateway to other help.

Attendance Allowance (AA)
AA is for disabled people over 65 with care needs. There is a lower rate and a higher rate. AA does not cover mobility needs.

Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
ESA is an income replacement benefit for people of working age who have a limited ability to work because of ill health or disability. Receiving ESA can sometimes qualify you for other help. 

Housing benefit (HB)
HB is a regular payment from your local authority, to help with rent, and in some cases, service charges. It does not help with mortgage costs. You can apply if you rent your home from a council or housing association. If you rent from a private landlord, you can claim Local Housing Allowance.

If you own your home and are not covered by an insurance policy protecting your income and mortgage payments, the help available is very limited. If you’re in receipt of certain means-tested benefits, you could qualify for help with the interest payments on your mortgage. Talk to your lender to see what options are available.

Carer’s Allowance (CA)
CA is for someone who at least 35 hours per week cares for a disabled person on certain benefits. CA isn’t for people who receive a salary for caring (such as someone from a care agency). It’s commonly paid to partners, children, parents, neighbours or friends. 

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) if you became ill or are disabled because of an accident or disease at work.

Working Tax Credit (WTC) if you’re disabled, working more than 16 hours, and have an income below a certain level.

Premiums: there are various premiums, each with their own conditions, which get added on to benefits you already receive, if you meet the conditions of the premium.

Universal Credit (UC) combines six different means-tested benefits together into one monthly payment. 

How do I apply for benefits?

The Government website has information pages on each benefit, the eligibility criteria and how to apply. It’s a good starting place.

If you need help with forms, you could try your local disability advice centre or Citizens Advice.

What if I’m turned down for benefits?

  • For benefits paid by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), there’s a two-stage appeals process. You should use this if you think the wrong decision has been made. 
  • The first is called Mandatory Reconsideration. It’s basically asking the DWP to look at the decision again. You get a month to do this.
  • The second stage is a tribunal appeal. You have a month to ask for an appeal if you are still unhappy.  
Stuck? Contact our helpline or try our online community.

What other financial help is available?

Ask your local council about their Council Tax Support Scheme, Discretionary Housing Payments and Local Welfare Assistance schemes.  

Can I get help with heating costs?

Contact the Energy Saving Trust on 0300 123 1234 for independent, expert advice on energy saving.

More ideas on keeping fuel bills down.

Can I apply for grants?

Check your benefits first before you apply for grants. Charities and grant-giving trusts rarely give money for things you can get from the state. Talk to a disability advice service to make sure you've thought about and tried all statutory sources before you apply for grants

Check our money-saving tips.

Online benefits calculator

Calculate your entitlements online.

Ask Scope’s online community

Get advice and tips, or share your experiences

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