I can’t survive on statutory sick pay, what can I do?

I had an accident about nine weeks ago and have been signed off work ever since. I'm getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) but it's not very much. A friend told me I should be able to get some sort of benefit, is this possible? Am I entitled to anything?

Statutory Sick Pay rates are currently £96.35 per week, which doesn’t go a long way in this economy (that’s a daily rate of just over £13).

Can I claim benefits while on Statutory Sick Pay?

The next logical question you might ask yourself is, ‘Can I claim benefits while on Statutory Sick Pay?’. It might be useful to know that in some circumstances it’s possible to be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit at the same time. If you get both, your SSP will be taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit payment.

If you pay rent, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit, but this has been replaced by Universal Credit in most parts of the country. You could also speak to your local council about getting a reduction in your council tax.

You can get a rough idea of what benefits you might be entitled to, and details of how to claim, using this online benefits calculator. If you want to get a full benefits check, you can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

SSP and Coronavirus

SSP also applies if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus or been notified by the NHS test and trace app. It’s paid when an employee has at least 4 days of sickness in a row (including non-working days), and you can’t get SSP if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.

SSP and Employment Support Allowance

If you’re too ill to work beyond 28 weeks, you’ll no longer be eligible for SSP, but you might be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. In some areas, the new Universal Credit system is in place, so you would need to claim that instead of ESA.

If you’ve had an accident, you may be able to make a personal injury claim for loss of earnings and any expenses you have incurred due to the accident. The Law Society website can guide you to members of their personal injuries panel.

To find out more about any of these issues, contact your local CAB, or:

Next Steps

  • Use the Turn2Us calculator to work out what benefits and grants you're entitled to, or call their helpline on 0808 802 2000
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.


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