What disability and sickness benefits can I claim?

If you can’t work, or work reduced hours, because of sickness or disability, financial support is available. You might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), paid by your employer. If this has run out, or you can’t claim it, find out about Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Universal Credit, and other benefits you might be able to claim.

If you can’t work because of coronavirus

If you can’t work because you’re sick, shielding because you’re in a high-risk group, or self-isolating because you or someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus, or you or someone you live with have been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery, the help you might qualify for depends on whether you’re an employee or self-employed.

If you’re an employee, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay. Find out whether you qualify and how to claim - Employed, off sick or self-isolating: Claiming Statutory Sick Pay.

If you’re self-employed, you might be eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit. Find out more about what’s available and who qualifies - Coronavirus if you’re self-employed.

Not sure whether you’re an employee or self-employed? What type of worker are you?: financial help during the coronavirus outbreak.

Statutory Sick Pay

You might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay of £95.85 per week (2020-21) for up to 28 weeks if:

  • you’re employed, but not able to work
  • your average earnings for the two months before you stopped working were at least £120 a week.
Find out whether you’re eligible and how to claim on the GOV.UK website.

New-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If your Statutory Sick Pay has run out, or you don’t qualify for it, you might be able to get new-style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

This is paid if you can’t work or can only work a few hours a week because of sickness or disability. To qualify, you need to have been paying National Insurance contributions for the past 2-3 years.

Find out whether you’re eligible and how to claim new style ESA – Employment and Support Allowance.

Universal Credit

Got a question?

Our advisers will point you in the right direction.

Start a webchat online or call us on 0800 138 1677.

If you don’t qualify for Statutory Sick Pay or new-style Employment and Support Allowance you might be able to claim Universal Credit.

You can also claim Universal Credit alongside Statutory Sick Pay or new-style Employment and Support Allowance. You might end up getting more money if you claim both, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support.

Universal Credit is replacing benefits like income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Housing Benefit and tax credits. If you’re making a new benefit claim, you will almost certainly be asked to claim Universal Credit instead.

Personal Independence Payment and other disability benefits

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is paid if you find it difficult to carry out daily tasks or get about.

It’s not means-tested which means you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

To qualify for it you must:

  • be aged 16 or over
  • have had these difficulties for three months and expect them to last for at least another nine months (unless you are terminally ill)

PIP is replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults. If you’re making a new claim you’ll be asked to claim PIP.

How much is PIP?

You could get between £23.60 and £151.40 a week (2020-21), depending on how severely your condition affects you.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You can only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children under 16.

It’s not means-tested which means you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

How much is DLA?

Your child could get between £23.60 and £151.40 a week (2020-21), depending on how severely their condition affects them.

  • Find out more about DLA for children on GOV.UK.
  • Find out more about existing DLA claims for adults on GOV.UK.
  • Find out more about claiming DLA in Northern Ireland on the nidirect website.

Attendance Allowance

You might qualify for Attendance Allowance if:

  • You need help with personal care
  • You need supervision to keep you safe
  • You’re aged 65 or over and have not previously claimed DLA/PIP
Read more about Attendance Allowance in our guide Benefits you can claim when you have care needs.

Help with housing costs

If you’re renting

Most people can no longer make a new claim for Housing Benefit and will have to claim the housing costs element of Universal Credit instead.

To find out more, read our guide Universal Credit and paying rent.

If you’ve reached State Pension age or you’re getting the severe disability premium you might still be able to put in a new clam for Housing Benefit.

Find out more about Housing Benefit on GOV.UK.

If you’re a homeowner

You might get help towards interest payments on your mortgage. This is called Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

SMI is paid directly to the lender 39 weeks after you first apply for this benefit.

It’s paid as a loan which you will have to pay back either when you sell your house, or voluntarily when you are able to (for example when you return to work).

Find out more in our guide about Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

Help with Council Tax

If you’re on a low income you might be able to get help with Council Tax payments.

Each local council has their own Council Tax Reduction scheme, so the help you get depends on where you live.

Other benefits you might be entitled to

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

If your disability or illness was caused at work, you might be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

You must have been working for an employer or taking part in approved training. You won’t be able to claim it if you were self-employed.

The amount you can get depends on how severely your condition affects you.

It isn’t means-tested so you could get it regardless of how much income or savings you have.

State Pension and Pension Credit

If you’ve reached State Pension age you will be able to claim the State Pension.

If you’re on a low income you might be able to top it up with Pension Credit.

However, if you’re in a couple and only one of you is over State Pension age, you’ll have to claim Universal Credit instead of Pension Credit until the younger partner also reaches State Pension age.

Read our guides State Pension and Pension Credit.

If you’ve got income or savings

Benefits such as Personal Independence Payment and Attendance Allowance that help you with the extra care needs of being sick or disabled are not means-tested. This means they are not affected by your income and savings.

Other benefits, like Universal Credit and Pension Credit, are affected by your income and savings – and your partner or spouse’s too.

Find out more about how savings affect your benefits.

If you have income and/or savings get a benefits check to find out what you might be entitled to.

  • Find out more about claiming sickness and disability benefits on the Turn2Us website
  • Find out more about how income and savings affect benefits on the entitled to website

Benefits for carers

If a friend or family member cares for you there is also support available for them.

Help with getting about – Motability and Blue Badge Schemes

Motability Scheme

Who is it for? People in receipt of the higher rate mobility element of Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment – the scheme can provide a car, motorised wheelchair or scooter.

More information: Find out more on the Motability website.

How to claim: Call Motability on 0300 456 4566.

Blue Badge Scheme

Who is it for? The Blue Badge scheme helps those with severe mobility problems who have difficulty using public transport to park close to where they need to go. Charges and entitlement rules for the Blue Badge scheme vary across the UK.

More information: GOV.UK – Blue Badge Scheme

How to claim: Apply online on the GOV.UK website or contact your local council.

Help and advice about sickness and disability benefits

There is plenty of free help available if you’re unsure about what benefits you are entitled to or need help with making a claim.

If you claim benefits you must explain your condition. Otherwise you might not get all the help you’re entitled to.

Appoint someone to deal with your sickness and disability benefit claim for you

If you can’t manage your benefits yourself, an individual or organisation can do this on your behalf.

This is called being an appointee. They become responsible for dealing with your Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits.

If you have a learning disability, you can ask Dosh Financial Advocacy to help you with your benefits as your advocate and appointee.

They’re a non-profit organisation, and also offer a series of fact sheets for family carers on managing money.

Help with NHS health costs

Prescriptions are free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, whatever your age and circumstances.

If you live in England and you’re getting certain benefits or you’re on a low income you might be able to get help with health costs.

These include:

  • Dental costs.
  • Eyecare costs.
  • NHS prescriptions.
  • Help with travel costs to hospital appointments.
Find out more about getting help with health costs on the NHS Choices websiteopens in new window.

Did you find this guide helpful?