Claiming health benefits
If you're sick or disabled, and it's affecting your ability to work, you may be entitled to health benefits. Here's what's on offer, and how you can make that claim.
Who can claim health benefits?
A huge range of different health-related tax credits and benefits are available, which can be bewildering at first. To qualify, much depends on your situation and individual needs. However, it can be boiled down to three basic scenarios:
· If you have difficulty moving around, or need special care for day-to-day living;
· If you're unable to work at all;
· If you've been injured at work, or have an illness related to your work.
Having trouble claiming health benefits?
As part of ongoing cuts to our welfare system, assessments for ESA and existing Incapacity Benefit claims are becoming stricter.
If your benefits claim is rejected - don't panic! You've got the right to appeal and, in the case of ESA for example, about 40% of appeals are successful. Fill in form GLA24 at the back of the leaflet 'If you think our decision is wrong' - you should get a copy of this with the decision letter.
If you're unhappy with the service provided by Atos Healthcare who usually carry out the medical assessments, speak to them as soon as possible. You can also request their leaflet about customer care which explains how to make a complaint.
Working Tax Credit
Who qualifies? A range of different credits are available to help people on low incomes, or who work at least 16 hours a week. It also caters for people with a disability.
In the 2011/12 tax year, on top of basic Working Tax Credit, you can get:
· £2,650 per year if you qualify for extra payments because you've got a disability
· £1,130 per year if you have a severe disability
· £3,780 per year if you qualify for both lots of extra payments
What's involved? Much depends on your income, and may affect other benefits you claim, such as Housing Benefit.
Find out more: HM Revenue & Customs
Statutory Sick Pay
Who qualifies? If you cannot do your job because you're permanently or temporarily sick or disabled, you may qualify for Statutory Sick Pay. Other rules apply.
What's involved? £81.60 usually paid for first 28 weeks of sickness (2011/12). Just be aware that you will not receive Statutory Sick Pay for the first three days that you are off work.
Find out more: See our Sick Pay article.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Who qualifies? A single person under the age of 25 could receive up to £53.45 per week. Other rules apply.
What's involved? ESA was introduced in October 2008 and replaces Incapacity Benefit and Income Support. However, anyone who received these benefits before this date will continue to do so in the same way. When you make a claim for ESA, you will usually have a Work Capability Assessment (which used to be known as the Personal Capability Assessment) and you may also have to have a medical assessment.
Find out more: GOV.UK
Who qualifies? Anyone aged 16 to 25 who works less than 16 hours a week.
What's involved? Much like Working Tax Credit, Income Support is designed to supplement your income rather than replace it. In some cases, for example if you're only able to work an hour or so per week, you may be able to claim Income Support as well as Statutory Sick Pay or Incapacity Benefit.
Find out more: GOV.UK
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is changing to Personal Independence Payments (PIPs)
Who qualifies? If you need help to pay for personal care and the cost of getting around, you can get PIPs.
What's involved? PIPs work much like Disability Living Allowance (DLA) used to. The benefit has two parts: Daily Living and mobility and two levels - Standard and Enhanced. You may be able to get just one component or both. Each is paid at different rates, depending on your circumstances.
Under the new scheme you'll be more regularly assessed. Assessment is by a Decision Maker based on information from a medical team.
PIPs don't count as income, which means you are still entitled to other income-related benefits.
Find out more
Department for Work and Pensions on 0845 605 7064 or Textphone 0845 608 8551 for people with hearing or speech impairments.
www.yourbenefitsarechanging.co.uk, 0300 303 1073, text 'change' to 80018 or visit their Facebook page.
You can check to see if you are entitled to any health benefits at Turn2Us.
Who qualifies? This is the main benefit to claim if you've suffered an industrial injury. There are many payment rates, depending on your circumstances, up to a maximum of £150.30 per week (18 or over) or £892.10 (If you're under 18). Other rules apply.
How does it work? There are other industrial allowances that you may qualify for at the same time, such as Reduced Earnings Allowance, Retirement Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance.
Find out more: GOV.UK
Do I qualify?
If you think you may be entitled to a health benefit, The Department for Work and Pensions run a telephone helpline providing information on benefits for the sick and disabled. The Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800 882200 (0800 220674 in Northern Ireland) or Minicom 0800 243355 also provides help in filling out claim forms.
A call to the helpline will help pinpoint what's on offer, and whether it's worthwhile making an application. If it is, you can apply using the Department of Work and Pension's Services and Benefits Online website.
You can also check to see if you are entitled to any health benefits at Turn2Us.
Does Universal Credit affect health benefits?
Universal Credit launches in April 2013 in some parts of the UK. It rolls up benefits like Income support, Housing Benefit and Job Seeker's Allowance into one benefit. It won't replace disability living allowance, child benefit, statutory sick pay, maternity pay, or maternity allowance.
Remember to tell your benefits advisor if your circumstances change - for example if you get a pay rise, new job or get married. If you don't you could face a £50 fine as well as having to pay back any extra benefit. See GOV.UK for more information.
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