State Benefits – an overview – Part 1

Copy of Guest Blog_ state benefits

This article is the first of two providing an overview of state benefits. The second article will follow next month.

Acting for vulnerable and disabled clients, our Court of Protection team regularly reviews our client’s entitlement to state benefits to ensure they are receiving all the benefits they are entitled to and that those benefits are being paid at the correct rate.

I set out below some of the most common benefits our clients tend to receive.


Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) used to be one of the main benefits someone with a disability or health condition could claim.

For many people, DLA has been replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – see below. However, if you are receiving DLA and you were born on or before 8 April 1948 then you will continue to get DLA for as long as you are eligible to receive it. If you were born after 8 April 1948 then you will be contacted by the Department of Work and Pensions and invited to make a PIP application.

It is still possible to make a claim for DLA if you are under 16 and meet the eligibility criteria. DLA is made up of two parts – the care component and the mobility component, these can be paid at different rates. How much DLA you receive will depend on how your disability or health condition affects you.


Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can help someone with a disability or health condition.

Like DLA, PIP is not means-tested which means you can claim PIP even if you are working, have savings or are receiving most other benefits.

PIP is made up of two parts – the daily living component and the mobility component, these can be paid at different rates. How much you will receive will depend on how your disability or health condition affects you. PIP is available to people 16 or over.

You must be under State Pension age if you have not received PIP before. If you are over State Pension age, then you can apply for Attendance Allowance instead – see below.

If you get other benefits and PIP, you may be entitled to a top-up known as the disability premium.

If you get PIP then you may be eligible for other help and discounts, including a Blue Badge.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (UC) has replaced Housing Benefit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, income-based Employment Support Allowance, and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

You may be able to claim UC if you are on a low income, out of work or you cannot work.

Usually, you must be 18 or over but under State Pension age to claim PIP. You must also have £16,000 or less in money, savings, and investments.

If you live with your partner, you will need to make a joint claim, even if your partner is ineligible.

How much you will receive will depend on your earnings. UC is paid as a standard allowance, depending on your circumstances. You may be entitled to extra amounts, for example, if you have children or if you have a disability or health condition which means you are unable to work.

If you receive UC, you may be entitled to other support, for example, a reduction in your council tax.

How can we help?

If you have any questions or queries about state benefits for a vulnerable or disabled person, then please contact the writer Charlene Hughes by email at Charlene.Hughes@freeths.co.uk

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