DISABILITY BENEFITS

Do you need help to fill out an application form to apply for or renew a disability or sickness benefit?

Do you need help to challenge a disability benefit decision that you believe is wrong?

The Advice Team can provide support with personal independent payments, employment and support allowance, attendance allowance, disability living allowance and carer’s allowance. The service is also on hand to talk with clients and give advice when going through the assessment process, for both adults and children with a disability or heath condition.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

This benefit provides people that are long-term sick or have a disability money towards the additional costs of living with their condition or impairment.  It is still available for children under 16, but is being phased out for people over 16 years old and is no longer open to new adult applicants.  To qualify the child must need frequent practical assistance due to physical difficulties or continual supervision due to mental or development issues or learning difficulties, either during the day or at night or both more than an average child of the same age.  Therefore, children on the autistic spectrum, with ADD or ADHD or global development delay, even if not yet conclusively diagnosed, can qualify for disability living allowance.  A child can qualify for disability living allowance irrespective of their parents’ income or savings – it is not means-tested. A child must have had their condition or disability for at least three months and be likely to have it for a further nine months.

Further information:

Claiming DLA for a child

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

This benefit is replacing disability living allowance for adults 16-65 years old. It is assessed on ten ‘daily living’ criteria and two ‘mobility’ criteria.  You can receive PIP benefit regardless of income or savings as it is not means-tested, and therefore if you meet the criteria, you can still work, earning a good salary, and still qualify. To be eligible you must have lived in the UK for 104 weeks (equivalent of two years) in the last 156 weeks (three years) and had the condition or disability for at least three months and be likely to have it for a further nine months. To start the application, call 0345 9172222 and answer a number of questions.  A few weeks later, you will receive a questionnaire through the post.  The Advice Team strongly recommend that you get assistance to help you complete this questionnaire the best way possible.

Further information:

Personal Independence Payments factsheet

Attendance Allowance

This is the sickness and disability benefit for anyone who is 65 or over when they make their application. To qualify you have to need frequent practical assistance due to physical difficulties or continual supervision due to mental or cognitive difficulties (e.g. dementia).  You must have had the condition for six months and be likely to have it for another six months at least.  Again, it is not means-tested, so you can qualify regardless of your income or savings.  Unlike DLA and PIP only care needs are assessed: there is no mobility component.

Employment & Support Allowance (ESA)

This benefit is for people that are unable to work or look for work, due to sickness or a disability aged 16-65 years.  It can also be claimed for short-term sickness e.g. if you break your leg and do not get any sick pay.  For the first year, you can qualify based on your national insurance contributions, regardless of your household income.   However, this benefit is means-tested after one calendar year.  If you or your spouse/partner has savings over £16,600 or an income from other sources, over certain limits dependent on your circumstances, you will not qualify. If your spouse/partner works more than 25 hours a week, you automatically do not qualify for ESA after your first year.

As part of qualifying for ESA, you need to visit your GP and they need to sign you off as unfit to work during the initial assessment phase, usually 13 weeks. Following this, an assessment of your ability to work or undertake ‘work-related activities’, (e.g. things to prepare you for returning to work, like training and voluntary work), will take place.  As a result of the assessment, you’ll either get placed in a support group, work-related activity group or your ESA award is stopped as you are considered fit enough to be seeking work by the Department of Work and Pensions.

ESA replaces incapacity benefit, severe disablement allowance and income support on the grounds of incapacity.  Everyone on the old benefits is being re-assessed to see if they are entitled to ESA instead and many people are not being found eligible. However, these decisions are worth challenging and the Advice Team recommend you get assistance from an expert to help you win a request for reconsideration or an appeal.

You start an ESA application by phoning 0345 6088545 or 0845 6088545.

Carer’s allowance

If you care for someone who receives either middle or higher rate disability living allowance, personal independence payment or attendance allowance for at least 35 hours a week or you have an income of under £110 a week (2014/15) and are not in full time education or training, then you are eligible to claim carer’s allowance.  However, if you have a benefit which is classed as overlapping with carer’s allowance, then you will not receive any additional money but it is still worth applying because you will get national insurance credits paid in towards your state pension.You can apply on-line at www.gov.uk or phone and ask for an application form to be posted to you on 0345 6084321.

Tips about medical assessments for benefits

Further information…

Get in touch…

0300 330 5514 (calls charged at the local rate)

Monday to Friday, 9.30am – 1.30pm (information and appointment line)

Where is our Advice Team…

Poole:

Unit C, Acorn Business Park, Ling Road, Poole BH12 4NZ

Bournemouth:

Jewell Academy Bournemouth, Jewell Road, Townsend, BournemouthBH8 0LT

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