There are several disability benefits available:
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
A Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a tax-free benefit for those living with a long-term physical or mental health condition. It’s not means-tested, so your income and savings don’t affect eligibility. There are two parts to PIP:
- a daily living component; and
- a mobility component.
You might qualify for the daily living component if you need help with everyday tasks such as preparing food or using the toilet. Whereas the motability component is measured on how much help you need getting around. You’ll need to take an assessment to see if you qualify for one or both parts, and the results will determine how much you’re eligible to claim. There’s a standard and enhanced rate for both parts:
|Lower weekly rate - 2023/24 tax year||Higher weekly rate - 2023/24 tax year|
|Daily living part||£68.10||£101.75|
To claim PIP, you must be between the age of 16 and State Pension age which is 66 (rising to 67 from 2028). PIP is awarded based on how your condition affects you rather than on the condition itself. So, you must have had difficulties with daily living and/ or mobility for three months and expect these difficulties to continue for at least a further nine months.
If you’re over State Pension age and you’ve received PIP before, you can make a new claim, but you must have been eligible in the year before you reached State Pension age. Alternatively, you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead.
Attendance Allowance provides financial support if you have a disability severe enough that you need assistance with personal care or supervision. It’s a tax-free benefit for people over State Pension age, which is 66 (rising to 67 from 2028). To claim Attendance Allowance, you must have needed help for at least six months and you mustn’t already be claiming PIP. There are two rates of Attendance Allowance depending on the level of care needed:
- £68.10 per week (2023/24 tax year) ; or
- £101.75 per week (2023/24 tax year).
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is an older benefit that is gradually being replaced by PIP. It’s still available if you were born before April 8 1948, or are under 16 years of age. DLAs made up of two components:
- the care component; and
- the mobility component.
You might qualify for one or both parts depending on your level of need.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) offers financial support to those who are unable to work due to disability or health conditions. If you’re under State Pension age, you can apply for ESA but you need to have:
There are two types of ESA:
- contribution-based; and
You might qualify for one or both and with ESA, you’ll usually need to attend a work capability assessment to determine eligibility.
Other disability benefits
A few other options are available such as:
If you think you might qualify for any of these, your local Jobcentre Plus can advise. The key to accessing disability benefits is providing full details on how your disability impacts your daily living. You need to be prepared to undergo assessments of your condition but, with the right evidence and perseverance, you can get the financial help you need.
Does claiming the State Pension have an impact on eligibility for disability benefits?
Claiming the State Pension can impact eligibility for some disability benefits in the UK.
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - you cannot make a new claim for DLA once you reach State Pension age. However, if you were already receiving DLA, you can continue to receive it.
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - once you reach State Pension age, you can no longer claim contribution-based ESA. However, you can claim income-related ESA if you have a low income.
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit - you can claim this regardless of State Pension status if you have an illness or disability caused by an accident at work.
- Carer’s Allowance - if you’re over State Pension age, you can still get Carer’s Allowance as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.
Does claiming a private pension have an impact on disability benefits?
Receiving income from a private pension doesn’t usually affect eligibility for disability benefits in the UK. The only exception is income-related ESA, where high private pension income could potentially impact the benefit amount you receive.
Find out more about employment and retirement support for disabled people.
Other types of disability support
- the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance;
- the enhanced rate of the mobility component of Personal Independence Payment;
- War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement; or
- Armed Forces Independence Payment.
Those who are eligible can use their mobility allowance to lease a new car, scooter or wheelchair. The charity then arranges the lease, insurance, maintenance, repairs and any adaptations needed. The Motability scheme is subsidised by the UK government, so those helped by the charity only pay a portion of the lease cost from their allowance.
Visit the Motability website to find out more.
What’s the Blue Badge scheme?
The UK’s Blue Badge scheme provides parking concessions for people aged three or over with disabilities. To qualify for a Blue Badge, you must have a permanent disability that affects your mobility or be registered blind. Certain other health conditions may also qualify, and children under three years old can qualify in special circumstances.
If your Blue Badge is clearly displayed when you park, you:
- can park in designated blue badge bays;
- can park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours if safe; and
- are exempt from parking charges.
Blue Badges are normally valid for three years across the UK and they’re also recognised in the EU.
To apply for a Blue Badge, you need to:
- submit your application to your local council, online, by post, or in person;
- provide proof of your identity and address, such as a passport or driver’s licence;
- provide supporting documentation from a medical professional confirming your disability;
- provide a photo that meets certain standards to go on your badge; and
- pay a small amount for the actual badge.
Processing time varies by council but is usually four to six weeks. If your application is rejected, you can appeal or reapply if your condition changes. Visit the gov.uk website to find out more.
How to get a Disabled Persons Railcard
The Disabled Persons Railcard provides a discount of up to a third on most rail fares for the cardholder and an adult companion. To be eligible, you must have a disability that makes travelling by train difficult including visual impairments, epilepsy, hearing impairments, or difficulty walking.
You can apply online or by picking up an application at any train station and you’ll need proof of disability which could be:
- a DWP letter;
- proof of disability benefits; or
- a doctor’s letter.
The Disabled Persons Railcard costs £20 per year or £54 for three years, although you may need to resubmit proof of your disability when renewing. Processing takes around 15 working days and if approved, the railcard will be sent to your home address.
As always with investments, your capital is at risk. The value of your investment can go down as well as up, and you may get back less than you invest. This information should not be regarded as financial advice.
Last edited: 31/10/2023