I thought I would share with you what I have learnt about the financial help that is available to those with a disability. This blog is based on my experience of claiming benefits and getting financial help as I have a long term ill health in the form of a mental illness and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I have linked the benefit types to relevant part of disability benefits on GOV.UK website
I work part time (20 hours per week) at home and care for my wife.
Personal Independence Payment, is available to those who have a disability or long term ill health. This has replaced Disability Living Allowance. PIP has two elements, a daily living component and mobility component. The payment can range from £22 to £141 per week. The process does involve completing a comprehensive health questionnaire and attending a medical assessment, both of which I have found detrimental to my mental health. PIP is NOT a means tested benefit. It is important to understand that if you are awarded Pip this opens up the opportunity for other financial help.
Carers Allowance is available to your carer, which can include your partner, if you have a PIP award and they provide at least 35 hours care a week to you. This is £62.70 per week but is a means tested benefit, the threshold is a net income after expenses (?) of about £6000 per annum
Working Tax Credits is also available to help people who are in work and have a PIP award. I was surprised to discover this and as I work part time and have a PIP award, I receive Tax Credits. To qualify for the disabled element you have to work at least 16 hours per week. If you are awarded Tax Credits and your income (excluding PIP) is less than £15,726 on your Tax Credits Award letter, you may qualify for a Tax Credits NHS Exemption Certificate, which covers the cost of prescribed medication, NHS dental work and Eye test.
A PIP award with mobility element will also help with vehicle and transport costs. It has taken me a long time to discover that a standard rate PIP mobility award may qualify you for a 50% Vehicle Tax reduction from the DVLA. I was aware that people with the enhanced mobility rate got help with a vehicle in the form of a lease car and vehicle tax exemption, but did not know you could access a 50% reduction if you have a Standard Mobility PIP Award. Also my wife had this backdated to the start of her PIP award for her vehicle tax by the DVLA
So you can see that a Personal Independence Award gives you access to other financial help if you are disabled, including Tax Credits, Carers Allowance, help with NHS costs, help with travel costs.
Claiming is hard work and I suggest you make sure you have someone to help you, either an organisation or an individual who is happy with form work and you are comfortable sharing all your health issues with.
There are a number of websites and calculators online to help calculate your possible benefit entitlement. I found that entittledto was the best as it did include Tax credits for the disabled.
Other benefits that may be applicable if you are out of work are ESA which can be paid based on having paid NI contributions for a year or income based. Also have a look at help with housing costs with Housing Benefit and Council tax reduction
Best wishes from MyAnxiety
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