Benefits you can claim when you have care needs

Money Advice Service

If you have care needs or a disability – or you’re caring for someone who does – there are benefits to help you manage with the extra costs. Most of these benefits aren’t affected by income or savings and you may be able to keep them if you have to go into a care home.

Why it’s important to claim all the benefits you’re entitled to

Financial support is available whether you need help to live safely and comfortably in your own home, or you need to move into a care home.

The amount you pay towards your long-term care is worked out as if you’re already receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.

So it’s important to claim everything you can, otherwise you’ll end up paying more than you need to.

Will your savings affect your benefits?

Disability benefits that help with personal care needs or the extra costs of getting around don’t take your income or savings into account. So any money you have in savings won’t affect your benefit payments.

Personal Independence Payment

If you have difficulty getting around or doing everyday tasks, you can make a claim for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

This benefit is replacing Disability Living Allowance for people aged 16 to 64.

PIP is tax free, paid every four weeks, and not affected by your income or savings.

There are two parts to PIP:

  • A mobility component (Some people call it mobility allowance), which is paid if you need help getting around.

  • A daily living component which is paid if you need personal care.

There are two rates for each payment.

Which one you get will depend on how severe your needs are.

Personal Independence Payment rates 2019/20

Daily living component Mobility component
Standard rate £58.70 Standard rate £23.20
Enhanced rate £87.65 Enhanced rate £61.20

If you’re in England, Wales or Scotland, find out more about PIP, including how to claim, on the GOV.UK website.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, find out more about PIP on the nidirect website.

Disability Living Allowance

You can now only make a new claim for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) if you’re claiming for a child under 16. This is because DLA is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment for people aged 16 to 64.

DLA is tax free, paid weekly and not affected by your income or savings.

There are two parts to DLA called components:

  • The DLA care component helps with the extra costs of personal care – it is paid at one of three rates
  • The DLA mobility component helps with the extra costs of getting around – it is paid at one of two rates

It is possible to get either or both components.

Disability Living Allowance rates for 2019/20

Care component Mobility component
Higher rate £87.65 Higher rate £61.20
Middle rate £58.70 n/a
Lower rate £23.20 Lower rate £23.20

If you are aged between 16 and 64 and are currently getting DLA, you’ll be invited to be reassessed for Personal Independence Payment a few months before your current DLA award is due to end or if your condition changes.

If you’re in England, Wales or Scotland, find out more about DLA on the GOV.UK website.

If you’re in Northern Ireland find out more about DLA on the nidirect website.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is tax free and is not affected by any savings or income you might have.

You might be entitled to it if:

  • You’re aged 65 or over and need help with personal care because of illness or disability (this could be a physical or mental disability or a learning difficulty).
  • Your disability means you need help caring for yourself or supervision to ensure the safety of yourself or others.

You must have been in need of care and support for at least six months.

Attendance Allowance is based on the care you need, not the level of care you’re currently receiving.

So even if you don’t receive support from a carer at the moment, you might still be entitled to this benefit.

If you are terminally ill you can claim Attendance Allowance immediately and not have to wait six months.

You’ll get a lower rate if you need help in the day or night and a higher rate if you need help both day and night.

Attendance Allowance rates for 2019/20

Higher rate Lower rate
£87.65 £58.70

If you’re in England, Wales or Scotland, find out more about Attendance Allowance, including how to claim, on the GOV.UK website.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, find out more about Attendance Allowance, including how to claim, on the nidirect website.

Council Tax discounts and exemptions

You might receive a reduction on your Council Tax bill if you’re getting certain benefits.

If you get either the daily living or mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP), you could get money off your Council Tax bill.

The discount you’ll get depends on the rate and components of PIP you’re getting – your local council will be able to tell you exactly how much you need to pay.

To claim your Council Tax discount, contact your local council and tell them you’re getting PIP. You may need to send them a copy of your PIP award letter.

If your home has been specially extended to help you stay there, you should not have to pay any extra Council Tax.

If you move permanently into a care home and your previous home is no longer occupied, you are exempt from Council Tax.

To find out more, read ‘Council Tax discounts for disabled people’ on GOV.UK.

Council Tax only applies to people living in England, Wales and Scotland.

If you live in Northern Ireland, you might get a reduction in your rates through the Rate Relief Scheme.

Find out more on the nidirect website.

State Pension and Pension Credit

Did you know?

Having savings doesn’t mean you can’t claim benefits. Some benefits don’t take your savings into account, and the savings limit on others might be higher than you think.

The State Pension gives you a regular income once you reach State Pension age.

It is based on National Insurance contributions and the amount you get depends on how much you paid in.

Pension Credit tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum and there are also other retirement benefits available.

Other benefits

  • If you’re on a low income, you might also be entitled to other benefits and help with health costs.
  • Check out Turn2Us, a charity that helps people access welfare benefits, grants and other support.
  • Find out more about help with health costs on the NHS website.
  • If you’re in Northern Ireland, find out more about other benefits on the nidirect website.

Benefits for carers

If you’re caring for someone who is ill or disabled, it can affect your financial situation too.

Help is available – you don’t have to be related to or live with the person you care for.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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