Benefits if you have a health issue or disability

If you’re unable to work or have had to reduce your hours due to sickness and/or disability then there are a range of different benefits you may be able to claim.

If, for example, you were working when sickness or disability got in the way of your job, then you might be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which is paid by your employer.

You can get £94.25 SSP a week if you’re too ill to work, and this will be paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. To qualify you must earn an average of at least £118 a week, be classed as an employee and have been ill for at least four days in a row. You can find out more about how SSP works here.

However, if for some reason you’re unable to claim SSP or your SSP payments have come to an end, or you weren’t working when you fell ill, you may be eligible other benefits instead, such as the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), or Universal Credit.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is paid to people whose sickness or disability prevents them from getting on with everyday tasks, including getting around. It is not means-tested, so you can claim it regardless of how much income or savings you have. 

To be eligible to receive PIP, you must:

  • 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age
  • Have been having difficulties for three months and expect to continue having difficulties for at least another nine months – unless you have a terminal illness.

PIP payments can be anything between £23.20 and £148.85 per week, depending on how severe your sickness or disability is – and how much it affects you.

PIP is replacing the Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16-64. You can continue to receive DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions writes to you and invites you to apply for PIP.

You can keep receiving DLA if you’re under 16 or you were born on or before 8 April 1948 and have an existing claim.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You might be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance if you can’t work or can only work a limited number of hours a week because of sickness or disability.

Most new claims are for what’s known as ‘new style’ ESA. This can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit, and if you qualify you’ll receive a regular fortnightly payment.

You should be able to get it if you’ve paid enough National Insurance in the two to three tax years before the year you make a claim. Your savings won’t affect how much benefit you’re paid, nor will your partner’s income or savings.

If you haven’t paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years you might be eligible for  income-related ESA. However, you can’t get this if you have savings or investments worth over £16,000.

You can find out more about how ESA works here.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a fairly new type of benefit that is replacing the following benefits below:

  • Income-related ESA
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit

Claims for the above benefits are generally no longer being accepted and people are being asked to make a claim for Universal Credit instead. If you’re already receiving any of the above benefits then you’ll be moved to Universal Credit before March 2023. This switch won’t be automatic – you’ll either be asked by the DWP to make a managed migration, or if your circumstances have changed since your original claim for any of the benefits above, you may have to make a brand new claim.

You won’t have to move to Universal Credit yet if:

  • You’re in a couple and one of you qualifies for Pension Credit.
  • You get Severe Disability Premium.

If you’re you think you could be entitled to Severe Disability Premium but you’re not yet claiming it, you should make a claim now by contacting your local Jobcentre Plus. 

To qualify for Universal Credit, you must be out of work or on a low income, under State Pension age, and you and your partner must have less than £16,000 in savings between you.

Universal Credit is made up of two elements – a standard allowance and extra amounts if, for example, you have a disability or health condition which means you’re unable to work. The monthly standard allowance if you’re single and over 25 is £317.82, and £498.89 if you’re over 25 and in a couple (this amount is for you both.) If you have a limited capability for work, you could get an extra monthly amount of £336.20.

Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.


Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Join Rest Less Money Club

Helpful tips and guidance for making the most of your money – straight to your inbox

By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

Good luck with your application

Before you go, we’d love to stay in touch to find out how you get on. Sign up to Rest Less today to get free job alerts and inspiring content sent straight to your inbox.
By providing your email you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time through the link in our emails.