Health and disability welfare benefits
People with disabilities or certain health conditions may be able to claim financial help in the form of welfare benefits.
The main ones are:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) which is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults. It's tax-free, and for those aged 16-64 with long-term ill health or a disability.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) still exists for children under 16.
Both PIP and DLA for children are designed to help people with the extra costs associated with their condition.
Attendance Allowance. Tax-free payments for people who are 65 and older with a disability and who need someone to help care for them.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Financial support for people who are unable to work because of their condition. A Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is arranged to check the extent to which the condition affects a person's ability to work. Following the assessment, successful applicants will be put in one of two groups:
- Work-related activity group, - for people not currently well enough to work but able to be helped to improve their chances of getting work in the future. This benefit results in regular interviews with an adviser, including discussing possible work opportunities.
- Support group, where there are no regular interviews because it's decided a person is not well enough to work and not well enough to be helped to improve their chances of getting work in the future.
This benefit is taxable and depends on a person’s circumstances, including their income.
The process for assessing benefits has been criticised by health charities. Interviews should always be carried out by a health professional, but that doesn't mean the health professional will be familiar with individual conditions. Fluctuating diseases like MS, where symptoms may be better or worse at different times, may cause issues with the assessment process. It may help to seek advice from groups like Citizens Advice or Disability Rights UK before attending interviews, and taking someone along with you if you have concerns.
Depending on individual circumstances, people with disabilities may also be eligible for:
- Free car tax
- A Blue Badge Parking permit
- Disabled persons railcard or bus pass
- Vehicle leasing through The Motability Scheme
- Reduction in council tax