Disability benefits are awarded on the basis of the adult’s degree of disability. Some benefits are means-tested (entitlement is affected by the amount of income and savings). This list is meant to be a guide and therefore not exhaustive or relevant to everyone.
Adults with PoTS may be entitled to the following benefits:
- Statutory sick pay
- Income Support
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA) previously known as Incapacity benefit
- Help with health costs
- Personal independent payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Exemption from Road Tax
- Disabled railcard
- Disabled ‘blue badges’ (Car parking badge)
- Carer's Allowance
- Tax Credits
- Housing benefit
- Council Tax benefit
- Warm Home Discount Scheme
- Public transport passes (depending on the local authority)
- Support from work unions
- Access to work
Statutory Sick Pay
You are entitled to statutory sick pay if you are employed. The employer pays this for up to 28 weeks.
If you are aged between 16 and 60, on a low income, not working or working on average less than 16 hours a week you can claim Income Support. Income Support is affected by savings, therefore not everyone will be entitled to it.
Employment Support Allowance ESA (previously Incapacity benefit)
ESA can be claimed when Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) ends. There is a 13 week period where it is paid at a standard rate, after or during which most people are required to have an assessment by a medical professional to determine their capacity to work. Following this assessment, claimants are put into different categories, namely ‘work related group’ and ‘support group'. These groups are paid at different rates; the rate of pay takes income into account. This leads to claimants being assigned to ‘Income related ESA’ and ‘Non Income related ESA’. This again affects the amount paid. ‘Income related ESA can allow you to claim free NHS prescriptions, dental care, opticians and others items. www.nhs.uk
Personal Independent Payment (PIP)
If you are between the ages of 16-64 you may be eligible for Personal Independent Payment (PIP) if you have a long-term health condition or disability which affects your ability to carry out activities of daily living.
2 components of PIP:
- Daily living component – provides help with activities such as preparing food, washing, dressing, socialising.
- Mobility component.
You may receive either the standard rate or enhanced rate.
PIP is gradually replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from April 2013. New applicants can only apply for PIP. Those already receiving DLA will continue to do so, but will eventually be moved over to PIP.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
There are two components of DLA: care and mobility.
Care has three rates of pay: lower, middle and higher. The mobility component has two: lower and higher, that are awarded according to your level of disability. DLA consists of a weekly amount which is paid every 4 weeks, and, depending on your disability, you may be eligible to receive both care and mobility components.
Normally, you must have had these care or supervision needs or walking difficulties for at least three months and this must be likely to continue for at least a further six months.
In terms of PIP and DLA, those with PoTS are likely to attract the lower rates of mobility and care.
Other associated benefits
If you are receiving either DLA or PIP, you may be entitled to the following:-
- Motability: This enables those in receipt of the higher rate of DLA or the enhanced PIP mobility components to exchange all or part of their benefit for a new car, powered wheelchair or scooter. The car scheme includes insurance, servicing, maintenance and many adaptations at no extra cost to the user.For more details visit www.motability.co.uk or ring 0800 093 1000.
- Road Tax exemption: Those in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of DLA, or the enhanced mobility component of PIP can claim exemption from road tax on a vehicle being used by, or solely for the purposes of the disabled person.
- Disabled Car Parking Badge (Blue Badge): Those in receipt of the higher rate of DLA mobility or those who receive the enhanced mobility rate of PIP are automatically entitled to a Blue Badge.Contact your local council for an application form. People who aren’t automatically entitled to a blue badge can still apply but will be required to attend an assessment. In some cases a telephone assessment can be made.
Disabled travel pass allows free or reduced travel on public transport. Contact your local council for details for details about how to apply. Disabled Railcard saves 1/3 off most rail fares. Those in receipt of PIP or the higher or lower rate of DLA mobility, or the higher or middle rate of the DLA care component are eligible. For more details visit www.disabledpersons-railcard.co.uk
Carer's Allowance may be claimed by people who look after a disabled person for at least 35 hours each week. You don't have to be related to, or live with the person you care for in order to be entitled to this benefit. Expert advice should be sought before applying for Carer’s Allowance as eligibility is dependent on several factors, and if it is awarded, it may affect any benefits received by the person being cared for.
These are means-tested benefits for those who have a low household income despite working 16 hours or more per week.
Contact your local council for details of what you may be able to claim towards housing costs. Also, ESA can include a component towards the cost of your housing. Benefits available depend on many factors such as whether the property is rented or owned, if you have ground rent costs etc. Therefore it is advised to speak to your local council and to the ESA office about any help that may be available. Help may be available if you are a home owner with an interest only mortgage.
Council Tax Benefit
Claimants of Income Related Benefits, eg: Income related ESA, can apply to the local council for Council Tax Benefit. This can cover part or full costs of your council tax.
Warm Home Discount Scheme
People on a low income with a disability or long term illness may be able to apply for a one off yearly payment towards household fuel costs. See www.decc.gov.uk for further details. Applications are made directly to the fuel supplier.
Support from work unions
Some work unions may have welfare funds which can offer financial help or other support in times of hardship. Contact your local union rep for details.
Access to work scheme
Help may be available if your health condition affects your ability to work through the access to work scheme. Examples include:
- Advice for employers
- Provide equipment needed to help you do your job
- Provide a support worker
- Pay for transport to and from work
- The scheme aims to help people get back into work, and stay in work in the long term. Further information can be found at www.direct.gov.uk
The following services may also be of interest to those with PoTS:
Most town centres and large shopping malls have a shopmobility service, where, either for free or for a small charge, manual wheelchairs and electric mobility scooters can be hired for a few hours. Generally you do not have to be in receipt of any disability-related benefit to use Shopmobility. In some cases it may be necessary to book this service in advance. For more details on your local service please visit www.shopmobilityuk.org.
Medical equipment bought by those with a medical condition is exempt from VAT.
The Fit Note – A guide for patients and employees
Your local citizens advice centre may also be helpful
can be obtained from your local job centre, or visit the following websites: