Claiming health benefits
If you're sick or disabled and it’s affecting your ability to work, you may be entitled to health benefits. Find out what’s on offer and how to claim.
Who can claim health benefits?
There are so many different health-related benefits and tax credits available it can be hard working out what you’re entitled to. But if you have mental or physical health problems that limit your ability to work, or make you unable to work, here’s what you might be able to claim.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you cannot do your job because you’re sick or disabled, you may qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). You need to have been earning £113 or more a week, and will need to provide ‘fit notes’ (what used to be called sick notes) after seven days. (Other rules also apply.)
How much will I get?
You can get paid £89.35 for up to 28 weeks off sick (after that, you may be able to claim Employment Support Allowance – see below). You won’t usually get paid for the first three days.
Find out more: See our Sick Pay article.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
You need to be either unable to work or very limited due to sickness or disability.
How much will I get?
As a guide, a single person under the age of 25 with no income or savings could receive £57.90 a week for the first 13 weeks, which would then go up to at least £73.10. How much you get depends on your income, savings, work history, age, and how ill you are, though.
Find out more: See our Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) article.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)
DLA is gradually being replaced by PIP. If you get DLA, then you’ll be moved to PIP at some point in the next few years. You can find out when the changes will affect you using this tool.
Who qualifies? If you have a long-term health problem or disability that affects your ability to care for yourself or get around, you might be able to get PIP. You’ll need to be assessed by a health professional.
How much will I get? The benefit has two parts – daily living (care) and mobility. Each of these is paid at either the standard or enhanced rate. Depending on how you’re assessed for each part, you’ll get between £22 and £141.10 a week.
PIP doesn’t count as income, which means you’re still entitled to other income-related benefits.
Find out more: Read more on PIP from the GOV.uk website. You can also contact the PIP helpline on 0345 850 3322, or Textphone 0345 601 6677.
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
Who qualifies? If you are disabled due to suffering an industrial injury or disease at work, you could be entitled to industrial injuries disablement benefit. You can apply at any age, as long as you have a contract of employment for the work you were doing at the time.
How much will I get? There are many payment rates; depending on your circumstances you can get up to a maximum of £169.70 a week.
Find out more: GOV.UK
If your health benefits claim is rejected
You can always get advice on what benefits you might be entitled to, as well as help with applying and challenging decisions, from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).
As part of ongoing cuts to our welfare system, assessments for ESA are becoming stricter. But don’t panic if your claim is rejected. You have the right to ask for the DWP to look at the decision again. This
is called a mandatory reconsideration and you have one month from the date of the decision to ask
for this. If you are still not happy with the reconsidered decision you can appeal to an independent
tribunal within a month of the reconsidered decision. You have a higher chance of succeeding if you
get advice from your local CAB.
You can read more about challenging decisions from our article on Benefits Appeals.
Does Universal Credit affect health benefits?
Universal Credit is gradually being rolled out over the UK, and will replace income-based JSA;
income-related ESA; Income Support; Child Tax Credit; Working Tax Credit and Housing Benefit.
Contribution-based ESA, PIP, and Statutory Sick Pay won’t be affected.
Find out more: See our Universal Credit article.
Help with health costs
You may in some cases be entitled to receive help with prescriptions, sight tests, dental costs and
travel for treatment on the NHS. For more information on who can get help and whether you qualify
for free help, see the information on the Turn2us website.
Where can I go for help with health benefits?
Getting benefits is often a frustrating process. But there are lots of places you can go for help:
- Citizen’s Advice know all about the benefits system and can help you understand your rights. You can visit your local bureau to get face-to-face advice and support. You must remember to bring along details of your benefits and general financial situation.
- This benefits calculator from Turn2us shows you how much benefit you should be getting – many people don’t realise how much they’re entitled to.
- If you want to challenge a decision about your benefit, you can appeal.
Unfortunately we are unable to offer benefits advice at The Mix, but we can give emotional support and guide you to the best places for expert advice if you give us a call on 0808 808 4994
Remember to tell your benefits advisor if your circumstances change – for example, if you get a pay rise, new job or get married. If you don’t you could face a £50 fine, as well as having to pay back any extra benefit. See GOV.UK for more information.
By Danny Sherwood
Updated on 29-Sep-2015
Photo of piggy bank by Shutterstock
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