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I can’t survive on statutory sick pay, what can I do?

I had an accident about nine weeks ago and have been signed off work ever since. I'm getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) but it's not very much. A friend told me I should be able to get some sort of benefit, is this possible? Am I entitled to anything?
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At the moment, if you’re on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you should be getting a rate of £86.70 per week.

You may also be entitled to Income Support if you have a low income and your SSP is less than the amount of Income Support you would be entitled to, although this would only happen in exceptional circumstances (Income Support rates).

If you pay rent, you may be able to claim Housing Benefit. You could also speak to you local council about getting a reduction in your council tax.

You can get a rough idea of what benefits you might be entitled to, and details of how to claim, using this online benefits calculator. If you want to get a full benefits check, you can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB).

If your illness continues beyond 28 weeks, you’ll no longer be entitled to SSP, but you might be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. In some areas, the new Universal Credit system is in place, so you would need to claim that instead of ESA.

If you’ve had an accident you may be able to make a personal injury claim for loss of earnings and any expenses you have incurred due to the accident. The Law Society website can guide you to members of their personal injuries panel.

To find out more about any of these issues, contact your local CAB.

Next Steps

  • The Citizens Advice Bureau has a great Advice4Me page, which explains legal rights specifically for under-25s.
  • Use the Turn2Us calculator to work out what benefits and grants you're entitled to, or call their helpline on 0808 802 2000
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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