Welcome to our comprehensive guide on UK Welfare Benefits, designed to be your go-to resource for understanding the intricacies of the welfare system.
Whether you’re navigating the complexities of Universal Credit, exploring eligibility for disability benefits, or seeking guidance on housing support, this guide aims to provide you with a detailed roadmap.
From the latest updates on benefits like Council Tax Reduction to actionable tips on reporting changes in your circumstances, we’ve compiled a wealth of information to empower you in making informed decisions.
Please note that while we strive to provide accurate and comprehensive information, consulting official government sources is always recommended for the latest details.
What benefits am I entitled to?
The benefits you may be entitled to in the UK will depend on your personal circumstances. These include your income, savings and health status. Some legacy benefits such as Housing Benefit, Income-Based Jobseekers Allowance and others will not be able to be claimed unless you are already claiming them or other legacy benefits.
The most common benefit that you may be eligible for is Universal Credit. This is a relatively new benefit and is for people who are both in work and have a low income, or for those who are out of work. You can also claim Universal Credit if you are disabled, or have a health condition. Eligibility for this benefit will depend on your earnings and income, savings and other household information such as your housing situation, whether you have any children and other factors.
Council Tax Reduction
You may also be eligible for Council Tax Reduction which helps reduce or covers completely the council tax bill of a household. Eligibility for this will depend on your Local Authority and what their specific scheme is.
If you have worked continuously for at least 26 weeks over the last two years and made enough National Insurance contributions, then you may also be eligible for New-Style JobSeekers Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance. This will be if you have lost your job and are currently looking for another one, or are too sick to work and have stopped receiving Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
If you have difficulty completing certain daily living or mobility tasks, then you may also be eligible for disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Attendance Allowance (AA) depending on your age. If you have children who struggle with certain activities, then they may also be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for children.
If you care for someone who is receiving a qualifying disability benefit for at least 35 hours a week then you may also be eligible for Carers Allowance. This benefit is aimed at helping those who help care for those with a health condition or disability. Eligibility will depend on the care you give and your level of earnings.
If you have a child or children, then you will also be eligible for Child Benefit. This is a weekly or four weekly payment paid to you for your children. Your income will not affect your eligibility for this unless you, or your partner, earn over £50,000 a year individually.
To see what benefits you may be eligible for, you can use the Better Off Calculator for all national benefits as well as other additional support.
How do I apply for benefits?
To apply for benefits in the UK, you will need to follow some general steps:
- Check your eligibility: Use a benefits calculator to determine which benefits they may be eligible for based on your personal circumstances and income.
- Gather Information: If the benefits calculator has indicated that you may be eligible for benefits, then you will need to gather all the relevant information to complete the application. This will include: your National Insurance number, bank account information and details of your savings and income. Information about any pensions may be required for the specific benefit that you are applying for. If you are applying for a health or disability related benefit, you may also need to gather doctors notes and other medical information.
- Apply online, by post, or by phone: Many benefits, such as Universal Credit, can be applied for online using the UK government’s website. You will first need to create an account and complete the relevant application form. However, if you are unable to use the online portal or would find it easier to complete an application by phone or by post, then you can complete an application form either downloaded from the Government website, or by phoning the department of the benefit that you wish to apply for. Some benefits such as those requiring a medical assessment may require you to both complete an assessment booklet and receive a phone assessment of your health circumstances.
- Attend any required appointments: Depending on which benefit you are applying for, you may be required to attend an interview at a JobCentre Plus. This could be to agree to a claimant commitment and actions to complete, or you may be required to attend an assessment. Failure to attend appointments may mean that your claim is terminated or your payments are reduced or stopped.
- Wait for a decision: Depending on the benefit that you are applying for, you may have to wait either a few weeks or months until you receive a decision on your claim. You should be given a general timeframe during the application for your benefit. If a decision is delayed longer than expected, you should seek specialist benefit advice.
How much will I receive in benefits?
The level of benefit support you may be eligible for will depend on various factors such as your personal circumstances, any income or savings and other factors. It’s difficult to give a specific amount without knowing the individual situation.
Factors that affect the amount of benefits support you may be entitled to include:
- Household income: The lower your household income, the more likely you are to receive means-tested benefits.
- Savings: If you have significant savings or capital, this may affect your entitlement to certain benefits. You will not be eligible for Universal Credit if you have savings, capital, or investments above £16,000. Any savings amount between £6,000 and £16,000 will impact the level of means-tested benefits you may be eligible for. Currently, this means that for every £250 in savings you have above £6,000, £4.35 will be reduced from your Universal Credit award.
- Number of dependents: If you have children or other dependents, you may be entitled to additional benefits.
- Housing costs: If you are renting or paying a mortgage, you may be entitled to benefits to help with these costs. However, the housing support that you are eligible for may be lower than what your housing costs are.
This may be if you are in social housing and are deemed to be under-occupying by having more bedrooms in your property than the Government deems you are eligible for. This is called the ‘bedroom tax’ and means that your housing costs can be reduced by 14% if you are deemed to be under-occupying by 1 bedroom, or by 25% if you are deemed to be under-occupying by two or more bedrooms.
If you are privately renting, then depending on your location and your household make-up, your maximum housing support will be determined by your Local Housing Allowance (LHA). This is the average housing costs for a household of your size in your area. These rates have been frozen over the past few years so private rents may be higher than what you are eligible for.
For those who are affected by caps to housing support, they may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment (DHP) from their local council. These are additional payments made by the council for a limited time to help households with housing costs in certain circumstances. Households should check their Local Authority’s website for their exact eligibility criteria and application process.
- Health conditions: If you have a long-term health condition or disability, you may be entitled to additional elements or amounts within your benefits. This can include both elements within means-tested benefits which can require an assessment, such as the Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (LCWRA) element within Universal Credit, or separate disability benefits which are not means tested such as Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
To find out how much you may be entitled to in benefits support, you can use the Better Off Calculator or speak with an independent benefits advisor.
Can I claim benefits if I am working?
It is possible to claim benefits whilst working, depending on your exact income and other circumstances. Some benefits such as Working Tax Credits and Universal Credit are designed to give support to those working on low incomes.
Due to recent changes to benefits, any new claims will be for Universal Credit as Working Tax Credits claims can no longer be made. Currently around 40% of claimants receiving Universal Credit are in work.
The amount of Universal Credit that you may be eligible for will depend on your exact income, savings and other factors. If you, or someone in your household has an illness or disability, then you may also be eligible for a Work Allowance which allows some households to earn an amount of income before this begins to impact their Universal Credit entitlement.
Under Universal Credit, there is a taper rate that means that for every £1 a household earns, their maximum Universal Credit award is reduced. This is currently set at 55% so for every £1 that a household earns after any work allowance, 55p is reduced from their Universal Credit award.
To find out which benefits you may be entitled to, you can use the Better Off Calculator or seek advice from an independent benefits advisor.
What happens if my circumstances change while receiving benefits?
If your circumstances change while you are receiving benefits in the UK, it’s important to inform the relevant authorities as soon as possible. Failing to report changes in circumstances can result in overpayments, which can cause financial difficulties later on.
Some examples of changes in circumstances that you should report include:
- Changes to your income, such as starting a new job or losing your job
- Changes to your housing situation, such as moving house or changing your rent payments
- Changes to your family situation, such as having a child or separating from your partner
- Changes to your health or disability status
- Changes to your immigration status
Reporting changes in circumstances will usually involve contacting the relevant government department or local authority that is responsible for administering your benefits. They will then reassess your entitlement to benefits based on your new circumstances and may adjust your payments accordingly.
How do I report changes in my circumstances while receiving benefits?
The process for reporting changes in circumstances will depend on the specific benefit you are receiving. In general, you can report changes to your circumstances by contacting the agency responsible for administering your benefits. This may be the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance, or your local council for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction.
To report changes in your circumstances, you will typically need to provide information about the change, such as your new address, a change in your income or employment status, or a change in your household composition. Depending on the change, you may be required to provide supporting documentation, such as proof of your new address or a recent payslip.
It is important to report changes in your circumstances as soon as possible, as your benefits may be affected from the date the change occurred.
If you are currently claiming legacy benefits such as Income-Related Employment and Support Allowance (ir-ESA), Income-Based Job-Seekers Allowance (ib-JSA), Housing Benefit, Tax Credits, or Income Support, then a change of circumstances may also trigger a move to Universal Credit and end your current benefit claim.
If you are unsure about how to report changes in your circumstances or need help with the process, you can contact the body responsible for your benefit, or seek specialist benefit advice.
What is the Universal Credit system and how does it work?
Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit which means that your eligibility and the amount you are awarded is calculated based on your income, savings and other circumstances. It is designed to support both those who are in work and those who are out of work, as well as those with a disability or health condition. It was introduced in 2013 to replace six existing means-tested benefits. These were:
- Working Tax Credits
- Child Tax Credits
- Income Support
- Housing BenefitIncome-Related Employment and Support Allowance
- Income-Based JobSeekers Allowance.
Universal Credit is calculated in multiple steps:
First your maximum Universal Credit award is calculated. This is made up of:
- The Standard Allowance: This is the base amount of Universal Credit which is determined by if you are either single or in a couple and if you and/or your partner are under 25 years old.
- The Housing Element: This is the amount to help you with housing costs. If you are socially renting through the council or a Housing Association, then your rent will not be capped but you may be impacted by the bedroom tax if you are deemed to be ‘under-occupying’ your property. If you are privately renting, then your maximum housing award will be determined by what you Local Housing Allowance (LHA) is. This is determined by the average housing costs in your area for a household of your size. This rate is currently frozen so may be lower than your actual rent.
- The Child Element: This is the amount that you get for having children. For Universal Credit purposes, a child is someone who is up to the age of 16. You can only normally receive support for up to two children except in certain circumstances. You may also be eligible for a disabled child element if your child has a qualifying disability.
- LCWRA: This is an additional element within your Universal Credit award if you have been assessed as having Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (LCWRA).
- LCW: This is an additional element within your Universal Credit award if you have been assessed as having Limited Capability for Work (LCW) and you either have continuously qualified for this since April 2017, or continuously qualified for the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and have moved over to Universal Credit from Employment and Support Allowance.
- The Carer Element: This is an additional element included within your Universal Credit claim if you meet the criteria for Carers Allowance and no one else is receiving the carers element for the person that you are caring for.
Then any earned or unearned income is taken into account:
- For earned income, first the work allowance is taken into account. This is an amount of money that you can earn before it is reduced from your award. Following this, for every £1 that you earn, 55p is deducted from your Universal Credit award.
- Some sources of income are called ‘unearned income’ and this can include other benefits such as carers allowance. These are deducted £1 for £1 from your award.
- Other sources of income which are not specified in the Universal Credit legislation are ignored for your Universal Credit calculation.
Your Universal Credit:
- This is your normal calculated Universal Credit award.
Any deductions for debts, sanctions, or advances:
- If you are currently sanctioned due to missing any JobCentre appointments, or if you previously received an advance when moving over to Universal Credit, this will be deducted from your Universal Credit Award.
- Debts can also be deducted from your Universal Credit award either at your request or the request of creditors.
Who is eligible to receive Universal Credit?
The normal eligibility criteria of Universal Credit are:
- You are over 18 years old (apart from some circumstances where you can claim when you are 16 or 17)
- You are under State Pension age (apart from if you are in a relationship with someone who is below this age)
- You live in the UK
- Have less than £16,000 in money, savings and investment
It is recommended to check a benefits calculator or speak to an independent benefits advisor to determine eligibility for Universal Credit.
How do I apply for Universal Credit?
You can apply for Universal Credit online or over the phone.
If you are applying online, you will need to create an account which you will then use to make a claim. Once you have created an online account, you must complete your claim within 28 days or your claim will stop and you will have to start again.
If you live with a partner in a couple, you will both need to create an account and you will then link them together when you claim. You are unable to make an account for both of you.
If you are unable to claim online, you are also able to make a claim over the phone. The Universal Credit advisor will ask you the same questions as online to complete your claim. If you make your claim over the phone, you will not be able to keep up to date with your claim online in the journal and will have to call up to discuss your claim.
When applying online, you will need:
- Your bank details
- An email address
- Access to a phone
If you don’t have access to these, then you can call the Universal Credit helpline or go to a JobCentre. You will also have to prove your identify.
Can I receive Universal Credit if I am self-employed?
Self-employed individuals may be eligible for Universal Credit if they meet certain criteria. To qualify, you must be fully self-employed and meet the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for your age group. The MIF is the amount the government expects you to earn each month, based on your previous tax returns. If you earn less than the MIF, your Universal Credit payment will be calculated based on the MIF rather than your actual earnings.
In addition, you must also satisfy the other eligibility requirements for Universal Credit, such as being over 18 years of age, being resident in the UK and having limited savings or capital. You will need to provide evidence of your self-employment income and expenses, as well as your business plan and any other relevant information.
It is important to note that the rules and requirements for self-employed individuals can be complex and it is advisable to seek guidance from a benefits adviser or accountant to ensure that you are receiving the correct entitlements and meeting your tax obligations.
Benefits by circumstances
What UK benefits are available for unemployed people?
There are multiple benefits available for people who are currently unemployed. The main benefit is Universal Credit which is a means-tested benefit with eligibility determined on your earnings, other income, or savings.
If you claim Universal Credit and you are unemployed, you will be required to agree to a claimant commitment at the beginning of your claim. This is an agreement to complete certain activities in order to receive your Universal Credit payments. This can include activities such as looking for work or applying for jobs for at least 35 hours a week. The activities required in this commitment may be less if you are a primary carer for children, someone with a health condition, or if you suffer from a health condition or disability which impacts your ability to look for work.
If you have over £16,000 in savings, then you will be unable to claim Universal Credit.
New-Style Employment and Support Allowance
New-Style Employment and Support Allowance is a benefit to support those who are ill or have a health condition or disability which limits your ability to work. This cannot be claimed at the same time as Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), but you can begin your claim up to 3 months before your SSP ends to ensure that there is no break in support. This can be claimed simultaneously with Universal Credit, but any award from ESA will be deducted from your Universal Credit award.
New-Style Job Seekers Allowance
New-Style Job Seekers Allowance is a benefit for those who are unemployed or work less than 16 hours on average. This is also a fortnightly payment which can be claimed simultaneously with Universal Credit. Rules for this can be complex but in simple terms, you will need to have worked and paid NI for 26 weeks in one of these tax years. Credits can also be received if you are unable to work, or are a carer, or are looking after children. You can check your National Insurance record here.
What UK benefits are available for employed people?
There are multiple benefits available for people who are currently employed depending on their exact circumstances and how often they work.
You may be eligible for Universal Credit depending on your exact circumstances such as whether you are renting, have children and other criteria. Universal Credit awards are determined by calculating your maximum entitlement of different elements, such as the Standard Allowance for being single or in a couple or for having children. Your income is then taken in account by reducing this maximum award.
If your household has children, or has someone who suffers from a health condition or disability, you may be able to earn a certain amount before your Universal Credit award is reduced. This is called the Work Allowance. This amount is currently £379 a month for Universal Credit if you receive housing costs within your Universal Credit award or from your Local Authority, or £631 if you do not receive housing support.
Following this amount, your Universal Credit award may be reduced by 55p for every £1 that you earn either to a lower entitlement or to £0.
New-Style JobSeekers Allowance
If you are employed and working less than 16 hours on average, then you may be eligible for New-Style JobSeekers Allowance. Eligibility for this is not determined on your savings or income, but by National Insurance contributions. This is a fortnightly payment which can be claimed simultaneously with Universal Credit. Rules for this can be complex but in simple terms, you will need to have worked and paid NI for 26 weeks in one of these tax years. Credits can also be received if you are unable to work, or are a carer, or are looking after children. You can check your National Insurance record here.
Council Tax Support
Depending on your Local Authority, you may also be eligible for Council Tax Support. This could either be a full or partial reduction on your Council Tax bill. Eligibility for this will different depending on your local council.
You can use the Better Off Calculator to determine whether you are eligible for Universal Credit and your local council’s support scheme.
What UK benefits are available for single parents?
There are two main benefits available for single parents.
If you are the primary carer for a child, then you can claim Child Benefit. You will usually be responsible for a child if either: you live with them, or you’re paying at least the same amount as Child Benefit towards looking after them. Only one parent can claim Child Benefit for a child.
You can still qualify for Child Benefit if your child is under 16, however, you can still qualify for Child Benefit if your child is under 20 and they stay in approved education or training. You can also apply for Child Benefit to continue for 20 weeks if a 16 or 17 year old leaves education or training and registers with either a government-sponsored careers service, or the armed services.
If you are a foster parent you can also claim Child Benefit as long as the local council is not paying anything towards their accommodation or maintenance. Furthermore, for those adopting a child, you can claim Child Benefit as soon as the child comes to live with you. You do not have to wait for the adoption process to be complete.
If you are claiming Universal Credit, then you can also get an additional element included within your Universal Credit claim for your children. You will be eligible for an additional amount for any child born before 6 April 2017, however, Universal Credit will no longer pay additional support for a third or subsequent child born after this date unless special circumstances apply.
If you have a child who receives a disability benefit, then you may also be eligible for additional support for this even if you are not receiving the standard amount for the child. A working parent or parents can also claim up to 85% of childcare costs included within a Universal Credit award up to £950.92 for one child, or £1,630.15 for 2 children or more. For more information on Childcare with Universal Credit, please see here.
What UK benefits are available for pensioners?
Pensioners may be eligible for a State Pension depending on their National Insurance record through their working-age period. You can still get a State Pension if you have other income like a personal pension or a workplace pension.
Pensioners will be able to claim the new State Pension if they are either a man born on or after the 6th April 1951, or a woman born on or after the 6th of April 1953. If you reached the State Pension age before the 6th April 2016, these rules do not apply and you will get the basic State Pension.
The basic pension requires a different set of National Insurance qualifying years which will depend on what year you were born prior to either 1951 if you are a man, or 1953 if you are a woman.
For the new State Pension, you will usually need at least 10 qualifying years within your National Insurance record, but these do not need to be 10 consecutive qualifying years. This means that for 10 years at least, one or more of the following must apply to you:
- You were working and paid National Insurance contributions.
- You were getting National Insurance credits. This could be if you were unemployed, ill, or a parent or carer for example.
- You were paying voluntary National Insurance contributions.
People who are over State Pension age and are on a low income, can also claim Pension Credit to get extra money to help with living costs. Pension Credit can also help with housing costs such as ground rent or service charges. You may also be able to get extra help if you are a carer, are severely disabled, or are responsible for a child or young person.
Pension Credit is a separate payment to the State Pension. Eligibility to Pension Credit is possible even if you have other income, savings, or own your own home.
When you apply for Pension Credit your income is calculated and this is calculated in combination with your partner if you are in a couple. Pension Credit tops up your income either to:
- Your weekly income to £201.05 if you’re single, or
- Your joint weekly income is £306.85 if you have a partner.
If your income is higher, then you may still be eligible if you have a disability, care for someone, have savings, or have housing costs.
Your income is calculated using income including your State Pension, other pensions, earnings from employment and self-employment and most other benefits such as Carer’s Allowance.
However, other income such as disability benefits like Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence Payment, or Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction is not taken into account.
Pensioners who are on a low income can also apply for Housing Benefit to help support them with their housing costs. For those in couples, both the claimant and their partner must both be over State Pension age.
You can get help with all or part of your rent depending on your exact circumstances and what you will get will depend on whether you rent privately or from the council. This will depend on your eligible rent, such as rent and service charges, if you have a spare room, if you have a household income and household circumstances such as if someone has a disability.
What UK benefits are available for carers?
Carers are able to both claim individual benefits as well as claim additional elements of standard national benefits.
If you are caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week, you may be eligible for £76.75 extra a week through carers allowance. You do not have to be related to, or live with the person you are caring for, however, they will need to be receiving certain benefits.
To be eligible, you must also:
- Be 16 or over
- Have been in England, Scotland, or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years (apart from in certain circumstances)
- Normally live in England, Scotland, or Wales, or live abroad as part of the armed forces
- Not be in full-time education
- Not studying for 21 hours a week or more
- Not be subject to immigration control
- Have earnings, if any, of £139 or less a week after tax, National Insurance and expenses
These certain benefits are certain qualifying disability benefits. These are:
- Personal Independence Payment – the daily living component
- Disability Living Allowance – the middle or highest care rate
- Attendance Allowance
- Constant Attendance Allowance – at or above the normal maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
- Constant Attendance Allowance – at the basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension
- Armed Forces Independence Payment
- Child Disability Payment – the middle or highest care rate
- Adult Disability Payment – daily living component at the standard or enhanced rate
Impact on the benefits of the person you are caring for
Claiming carers allowance can have an impact both on any other benefits you are currently claiming, as well as any benefits that the person you are caring for is currently claiming.
For the person you are caring for, if you start to claim Carer’s Allowance for them, then the person you are caring for will usually stop getting either a Severe Disability Premium paid with their benefits, or an extra amount for severe disability paid with a Pension Credit claim. This can also have an impact on any Council Tax Reduction they are currently claiming.
Impact on your benefits
When you claim Carer’s Allowance, your other benefit payments may change. You will not be, or cease being, impacted by the benefit cap which may increase the level of benefits you are receiving.
If you are currently receiving Universal Credit, then your payments will be reduced by an equal amount of your Carer’s Allowance payment.
If you are currently claiming Pension Credit then your payments may increase due to an additional element being included within your Pension Credit claim. However, you cannot delay claiming your State Pension during this time to build up payments.
Carers Element of Universal Credit
If you provide care for at least 35 hours a week to someone who gets a health or disability related benefit. The eligibility criteria are the same as Carer’s Allowance except that you are able to claim this additional element if your earnings are too high for Carer’s Allowance.
You are also able to claim both the Carer’s Element and Carer’s Allowance at the same time to increase your income, but only one person can claim each benefit for one person they are caring for. Furthermore, only one person can have someone receive Carer’s Allowance or the carer’s element for them.
One person can only receive one element out of Limited Capability for Work (LCW), Limited Capability for Work-Related Activity (LCWRA), or the carer’s element in their Universal Credit claim at one time and will receive the element which awards them the highest amount of additional income. This is individual so people in a couple can both receive one element each.
What UK benefits are available for sick or disabled people?
Disabled or sick people are able to claim multiple different benefits depending on their age or circumstances.
Personal Independence Payment
For people who are working-age, they are able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP is an additional benefit for those with an illness or disability and is additional funding for living costs.
You may be eligible for PIP if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability, have difficulty doing everyday tasks, or getting around because of their condition and expect the difficulties to last for at least 12 months from when they started.
PIP is not means-tested so you can claim PIP even if you’re working, have savings, or are getting most other benefits. PIP also does not impact or reduce most other benefits that you can receive.
There are two different parts of PIP:
- A daily living part – this is if you need help with everyday tasks
- A mobility part – this is if you need help with getting around
PIP is assessed both through a paper assessment and possibly a phone appointment. Through this assessment, you will be assessed on points on how much difficulty you have completing different activities such as eating, drinking or preparing food, or physically moving around. Your PIP award will be dependent on how many points you receive for each part and you can receive either a higher or lower amount for each part.
If you are above State Pension age and need support due to either a physical or mental disability, then you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
The physical or mental disability must be severe enough for you to need help supporting yourself or for yourself to require supervision for yours or others safety. You must have also needed this help for at least 6 months.
This is similar to PIP, but does not include a section for mobility. To claim, you must complete and return an Attendance Allowance form, or by contacting the helpline to request a claim form. You may also be asked to attend an assessment if it is not clear how your disability impacts you.
Disability Living Allowance for Adults
For adults, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults was available for adults to claim prior to PIP. Most people are being moved to PIP which has replaced DLA. However, rules surrounding the move over will depend on when you were born.
If you were born before the 9th of April 1948, then you will not be moved to PIP and you will keep your DLA claim so long as you are eligible. If your DLA has stopped in the prior year then you can claim this again, however, if it has stopped over a year ago, you must claim Attendance Allowance instead.
If you were born on or after the 9th of April 1948, then you will have claim PIP instead of DLA if any of the following happens:
- You inform the DWP that your condition has changed and has either improved or worsened
- The DWP has sent you a letter asking you to claim PIP, or
- Your DLA award ends following the end of the initial fixed period of time award, after 10 years for example
Disability Living Allowance for Children
If you have a child who is under 16 and either has difficulties walking or requires much more looking after than a child of the same age without a disability, then they may be eligible for DLA. This is made up of two separate components. These are:
Care component – This is the rate that the child gets for the level of looking after they need. This can be at three different levels:
- Lowest rate – Help for some of the day
- Middle rate – Frequent help or constant supervision during the day, supervision at night or someone to help while they’re on dialysis, or;
- Highest rate – Help or supervision throughout both day and night, or they have less than 12 months to live.
Mobility component – This is the level of help that the child needs getting around. This can be at two different levels:
- Lowest rate – They can walk but need help and/or supervision when outdoors and the child must be at least 5 years old or;
- Highest rate – They cannot walk, can only walk a short distance without severe discomfort, could become very ill if they attempt to walk, or if they are blind or severely sight impaired. The child must also be at least 3 years old.
To claim this, a parent or a carer similar to a parent, can either print off a DLA application form, or phone the DLA helpline to ask for a printed form.
People who are sick or disabled are also able to claim Universal Credit. When claiming Universal Credit, they must inform the DWP of their disability or health condition which impacts their ability to look for work or work. The DWP then will ask you to complete an assessment where they will either determine that you are able to work, that you have Limited Capability for Work (LCW), or that you have Limited Capability for Work and Work-Related Activity (LCWRA).
If you are assessed as having LCW then you will not have to look for work, but you may have to do activities to get ready for work such as training or writing a CV. You will also usually not be eligible for an additional element of money within your claim, unless you were assessed as having LCW prior to the 3rd of April 2017 with your situation not changing, or if you are moving to Universal Credit from Employment and Support Allowance and you have been in the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) since 2017 without interruption.
If you have been assessed as having LCWRA then your condition has been assessed that you are not thought to be capable of preparing for work. This means that you will not be expected to take part in any work-related activity, you will receive a higher work allowance for earnings from yourself or your partner and an extra amount within your Universal Credit element called the LCWRA element.
What UK benefits are available for refugees?
If you have been awarded refugee status then you may be eligible for different benefits. These can include:
- Universal Credit if you are unemployed, are too ill to work, or receive a low-income
- Pension Credit if you are above State Pension age and are on a low income
- Housing Benefit if you are above State Pension age, or are living in temporary or supported accommodation and are on a low income, or
- A refugee integration loan which can help pay for a rent deposit, household items, education and training for work
You will need a National Insurance number to claim benefits.
What UK benefits are available for students?
Students are not normally eligible for benefits. However, you may be eligible for Universal Credit if you are studying full-time and any of the following apply:
- You are aged 21 or under, are in full-time non-advanced education and do not have parental support
- You are response for a child
- You live with a partner who is eligible for Universal Credit
- You have reached the qualifying age for Pension Credit and currently live with someone who is under this age
- You were assessed as having Limited Capability for Work (either on Universal Credit or ESA) and you are disabled and are receiving:
– Personal Independence Payment
– Disability Living Allowance
– Child Disability Payment in Scotland
– Attendance Allowance, or
– Armed Forces Independence Payment
Claiming benefits when you are a Student can be complex. It may be best to seek specialist benefit advice.
What is a benefits calculator?
A benefits calculator is an online tool that helps people to estimate the benefits they may be eligible for based on their personal circumstances. It takes into account a range of factors such as income, savings, family situation, housing costs and health conditions. By entering this information into the calculator, individuals can get an estimate of the benefits they may be entitled to, including Universal Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.
Using a reputable benefits calculator such as those recommended by GOV.UK can help people to better understand their financial situation and plan their budget accordingly. It can also help them to identify any benefits and support they may have been unaware of and ensure they are receiving the support they are entitled to.
How do benefits calculators work?
Benefits calculators work by taking into account the personal and financial details provided by the user such as their age, employment status, income and housing costs. The calculator then uses this information to assess which benefits and tax credits the user may be entitled to based on their circumstances.
The calculators are typically designed to be user-friendly, with clear and concise questions that guide the user through the process of entering their information. The questions asked may vary slightly depending on the calculator being used, but they generally cover topics such as income, savings, employment, housing and family circumstances.
Once the user has entered the information requested the results will show which benefits and tax credits they may be eligible for and how much they may be entitled to receive. The results are based on the information provided by the user and are therefore an estimate. The user may need to provide additional documentation or information to support their claim for benefits.
A benefits calculator can be a useful tool for individuals and families to get an idea of what financial support they may be entitled to and to help plan their budget accordingly.
Are benefits calculators accurate?
Benefits calculators are designed to provide an estimate of the benefits an individual may be entitled to based on the information provided. However, the accuracy of the calculation generally depends on the accuracy and completeness of the information entered into the calculator.
Not all benefits calculators take into account the complexities and nuances of a person’s circumstances and therefore may not reflect recent changes to benefit rules or rates. Therefore, it’s important to use the information provided by a benefits calculator as a guide and to seek further advice from a qualified advisor if necessary.
Some benefits calculators are more accurate and comprehensive than others and it is important to choose a reputable calculator from a trusted source. The Better Off Calculator from Policy in Practice is approved by GOV.UK and is one of the most accurate benefits calculators in the UK.
For example, the Better Off Calculator covers the legacy benefits system as well as Universal Credit and allows users to compare how much support they would receive under both systems. It covers benefits for students as well as all the different council tax support schemes in England, plus the different benefit systems in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
What information do I need to use a benefits calculator?
To use a benefits calculator, you typically need to provide information about your personal circumstances, including:
- Age and gender
- Employment status
- Earnings and income
- Housing costs (e.g. rent or mortgage payments)
- Council Tax payments (band)
- Disability or health conditions
- Care responsibilities (e.g. for children or elderly relatives)
- Savings and investments
- Benefits already being received
- Immigration status
The specific information required may vary depending on the benefits calculator being used, but generally, the more accurate and detailed the information provided, the more accurate the calculation will be. It’s also important to note that benefits calculators can only provide an estimate and the actual amount of benefits received may be different based on various factors, such as changes in personal circumstances or government policies.
The professional version of the Better Off Calculator lets advisors save and share cases with colleagues which is helpful if, for example, a customer doesn’t have all the required information to hand.
Glossary of welfare terms
- Alternative Payment Arrangements (APAs)
- Applicable Amount
- Assessment of Need
- Benefits Uprating
- Better Off Calculator (BOC)
- Child Element
- Council Tax Band
- Council Tax Benefit (CTB)
- Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS/CTR/CTS)
- Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
- Disability Benefit
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Disability Premium
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Enhanced Disability Premium
- ESA Work-Related Activity Component
- Extended Payments
- Family Premium
- Flat Rate Non-Dependant Deduction
- Guaranteed Award
- Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
- Housing Association
- Housing Benefit
- Income-Banded Scheme
- Income Support (IS)
- Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
- Legacy System/Benefits
- Limited Capability for Work (LCW)
- Limited Capability for Work Related Activity (LCWRA)
- Local Housing Allowance (LHA)
- Managed Migration or Move to Universal Credit
- Maximum Amount (Universal Credit)
- Minimum Income Floor (MIF)
- Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG)
- Natural Migration
- Non-Dependant Deduction
- Out-of-Work Benefits
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- Severe Disability Premium (SDP)
- Taper Rate
- Two-Child Limit
- Universal Credit Assessment
- Universal Credit (UC)
- War Disablement Pensions (WDP)
- War Widow's Pensions
- Work Allowance
- Work Capability Assessment
- Work-Related Activity Group Premium
- Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG)