At Accident Advice Helpline we are often asked questions about Disability allowance – the facts are not easy to explain at present as the system is being overhauled and the dates of planned changes keep moving, but we can at least provide you with a general overview of how the system works.
First of all, there is no benefit called Disability Allowance. There used to be a benefit called Disability Living Allowance, which some people still receive, but it is not possible to start a new claim for that. Instead there is a range of benefits intended to cover different situations. If you’re not sure which are right for you, apply for as many as you think you might get; the worst that will happen is that you’ll get rejected, in which case it is often worth appealing. If you delay starting to claim, it’s unlikely that you will be able to get back payments, even if you hesitated because you were waiting to receive official advice.
In work benefits
If you are of working age and have a disability, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP). This is intended to cover the extra costs of being disabled, so it is available regardless of your income—in fact, many people depend on it to cover the cost of getting to and from their jobs. There are two levels of PIP and you will normally have to go through an assessment before you are assigned to one of them.
Access to Work is a social fund that can, on a discretionary basis, provide support to help you get to work. This could cover special equipment or the employment of an assistant to help you do your job.
Out of work benefits
If you are unable to work due to your disability, you can apply for Employment and Support Allowance. Some people receiving this benefit are required to undertake training in order to improve their employment prospects.
If you are working for under 16 hours a week and are on a low income, you may be able to get Income Support to help you up your wages and pay for day-to-day living costs. You could also be eligible for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.
If you need somebody to care for you because of your disability, that person may be eligible to receive Carer’s Allowance, which isn’t much but can help to top up a low income. If you need somebody there at all times, you can apply for Constant Care Allowance. If you are past retirement age, Attendance Allowance can help to defray your extra costs.
There are a number of other benefits available to disabled people facing different kinds of difficulties. At Accident Advice Helpline we can’t give you direct help to access them but we recommend that you ask for help in your doctor’s surgery, where you are likely to find helpful advice leaflets. We also recommend you check the latest information on the government’s official benefits website.
Date Published: January 4, 2014
Author: David Brown