What Benefits can I claim to help pay for care?

When it comes to paying for care, every little helps.

Outlined below are the different benefits which can be used towards paying for the cost of long-term care. Read on to find out if you meet the eligibility criteria and how to make your claim.

Pension Credit

If you are of qualifying age and live in England, Scotland or Wales you or your partner might qualify for Pension Credit. Currently the State Pension Age is 65 for both men and women, by 2020 it will be 66.

Pension Credit is made up of two parts Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit; you may be eligible for one or both parts of Pension Credit. If you reached State Pension age on or after the 6th April 2016 then you will not be eligible for Savings Credit.

If you are a single person and have a weekly income of less than £163 then Guarantee Credit will top-up your income to this amount. If you are eligible for Savings Credit then you will receive up to £13.40 in additional credit.

If you are in a couple and qualify for Pension Credit then Guarantee Credit will ensure you have a joint income of £248.80 per week. If you qualify for Savings Credit then you will also be entitled to a further £14.99 per week.

Attendance Allowance

If you have a severe disability then you might be entitled to an additional £57.30 or £85.60 per week to help pay for the cost of care. Attendance Allowance is an additional benefit for people who have a severe disability, be it physical or mental or are over the age of 65.

In order to apply for Attendance Allowance you must be a resident of Great Britain and resided in the country for at least 2 of the past 3 years. One of the few exceptions to this is if you or your partner/spouse is a member of the armed forces.

You will be eligible for Attendance Allowance if you:

  • Live in a Care Home and are privately funding your care
  • If you’re terminally ill and not expected to live for more than 6 months you will be automatically eligible for the higher rate of Attendance Allowance (£85.60)
  • You have a severe disability e.g. sensory, blindness, learning, that leads you to require support or supervision caring for yourself

Apply for Attendance Allowance by downloading an application form from the government website. Completed application forms need to be sent via post to: Attendance Allowance Unit, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 2AD.

If you meet the initial eligibility criteria for Attendance Allowance then you might receive a letter in the post asking you to attend an assessment. You will be required to take a valid form of ID to your assessment, such as: passport, birth certificate, driving licence, life insurance policy or bank statement.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a payment of between £22.65 and £145.35 a week for people who are between the age of 16-64. If you have a disability or long-term illness then you may be eligible for PIP.

In order to determine your eligibility, a healthcare professional will assess how your condition affects you on a daily basis; opposed to there being a specific funding band for different conditions. If you’re awarded funding it will be subject to continual review to ensure you are receiving the right rate.

In order to be considered for PIP as well as being between the ages of 16-64 there are a few other provisos:

  • Proven difficulty with daily living for the past 3 months
  • Expect your daily difficulties to continue for at least the next 9 months (unless you are terminally ill and do not expect to live more than 6 months)
  • Be a British citizen and have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the past 3 years or be a member of the British Armed Forces

PIP is made up of two parts, ‘Daily Living’ and ‘Mobility’, you may be eligible for one or both parts of PIP. People who are eligible for the Daily Living part of PIP will receive direct payment of either £57.30 or £85.60 a week. To be eligible for the ‘Daily Living’ part of PIP you must have proven difficulty with some of the following areas at least 50% of the time:

  • Eating or preparing food
  • Bathing, washing and toileting
  • Dressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing medications
  • Managing finances
  • Engaging with other people

The ‘Mobility’ part of PIP is paid at a rate of either £22.65 or £59.75 per week depending on the level of challenge mobilising both inside the home and outside the home presents.

If you fit the eligibility criteria for PIP you can make a claim by calling the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on: 0800 917 2222. View further information on how to make a claim here.

In order to make a claim over the telephone you will need to provide the following: contact telephone number, D.O.B, NI Number, bank account details, Doctor’s contact details and if applicable dates and addresses for any time you’ve spent in a Care Home or Hospital outside of the United Kingdom. After you have provided this information you will be sent a ‘How your disability affects you’ form to complete and return. In order to process your claim the DWP will either contact your Doctor or invite you to meet an independent health professional for an assessment. From here a decision will be made about your eligibility.

Constant Attendance Allowance

In order to claim Constant Attendance Allowance you must be already claiming one of the following:

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB)

For people who are ill/disabled because of an accident that took place at work or an approved employment training course. This includes people who are ill/disabled because of a disease they contracted in their place of employment.

War Disablement Pension

For veterans of the British Armed Forces who are ill/disabled as a result of  serving in the Armed Forces.

If you are receiving Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) then you will automatically be assessed for Constant Attendance Allowance when your IIDB assessment takes place. In order to be eligible, a medical professional must consider you to be 100% disabled and you must need daily assistance with caring for yourself.

If you are in receipt of a War Disablement Pension then you will be eligible for Constant Attendance Allowance if you receive a war pension of 80% or more and the reason you require support is the same reason you receive a war pension.

Housing Benefit

You may be eligible for Housing Benefit if you rent your home, have a low income, savings of under £16,000 and have been assessed as needing Home Care.

In order to make a Housing Benefit claim you must be able to provide your local council with the following information:

  • How much you pay in rent per month
  • Whether any of your bills e.g. water, electric or gas is included in the cost of your rent
  • Whether you pay any service charges e.g building maintenance or insurance
  • Details of your Landlord/Agent

Applications for Housing Benefit can be made through your local council.

Carers Allowance

If you are acting as a Carer for more than 35 hours per week to somebody who is in receipt of one of the benefits stated below you may be eligible to claim Carer’s Allowance:

Daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
The middle/highest rate of Disability Living Allowance
Attendance Allowance
Constant Attendance Allowance with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) or War Disablement Pension
Armed Forces Independence Payment

To be eligible for Carer's Allowance, as well as the stipulations stated above, you must not be receiving an income of more than £120 per week after tax and expenses. Expenses can include:

  • 50% of your pension contributions
  • The cost of childcare/cover for the person you care for whilst you work

You must also be:

  • Over the age of 16
  • Resided in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the past 3 years. If you have been overseas as a member of the Armed Forces then this does not apply to you.
  • You're not in full-time education or studying for more than 21 hours a week
  • You're not subject to immigration control

Claiming Carer's Allowance can have a knock-on effect on other benefits both you and the person you care for receive. If you wish to apply for Carer's Allowance you can do so  by visiting www.gov.uk/carers-allowance/how-to-claim and pressing the ‘Apply now’ button. Claims can be backdated by up-to 3 months.

Winter Fuel Payments

If you’re over the age of 65 you might be entitled to ‘Winter Fuel Payment’ which is between £100-£300 a year to help pay for your heating bills. You are automatically entitled to Winter Fuel Payments if you are a permanent resident of the UK and are over the age of 65.

There are a few provisos which affect eligibility, such as if you have been in hospital for over a year. Find out more about the provisos which affect eligibility here.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

If you already receive the Guarantee Credit part of Pension Credit or are on a low income, you might be eligible for £140 off your electricity bill for Winter 2018-19. The Warm Home Discount Scheme is a one-off discount on your electricity bill between September and March. This discount is credited to you through your electricity supplier, contact them directly to see if you qualify.

Cold Weather Payment

If there is a 7-day spell where the temperature falls below 0-degrees then you might be eligible to receive a Cold Weather Payment. For every 7-day period it is 0 degrees or below (in the area you live), between the 1st November and the 31st March, you will receive £25.

If you are already claiming the benefits listed below then you should automatically be paid Cold Weather Payments. The payments should be made within a 14-day period of the cold spell into the same bank account you receive your other benefit payments.

Benefits which entitle you to Cold Weather Payment: Pension Credit, Income Support, income based JSA, income related ESA, Universal Credit, support for Mortgage Interest.

Disability Premium

You do not need to apply for Disability Premium, if you are eligible through your other benefits your will automatically be paid the Premium. There are three types of Disability Premium:

  1. Disability Premium
  2. Enhanced Disability Premium
  3. Severe Disability Premium

If you are eligible then extra amounts of money are added to your: Income Support, Income based JSA, income-related ESA and Housing Benefit.

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