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Advice on Benefits for the Disabled

Disability Living Allowance

Disability Living Allowance is being replaced by Personal Independent Payment for disabled people aged between 18 and 64. You can now only apply for DLA is you are under the age of 16. If you already get DLA your claim might end. You'll get a letter telling you when this will happen and how you can apply for PIP.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a tax-free benefit for anyone under the age of 16 or over the age of 65 who has care needs or issues with mobility. It is a benefit for people with a long-term illness or disability (either physical or mental) and features a Care Component (payable at three different rates - lower, middle and higher) and a Mobility Component (payable at a lower or higher rate).

DLA is not meanstested but eligibility has recently changed. Personal Independence Payments have been introduced to replace DLA for people aged 16 to 64. (DLA will continue if you are under 16 or were born on or after the 8th of April 1948 and have an existing claim). If you were born after 8 April 1948 and you're already claiming, you'll continue to get DLA until the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) writes to tell you when your DLA will end and invites you to apply for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Unless your circumstances change, you don't need to do anything until you hear from DWP about your DLA. If you are 65 or over and you do not currently get DLA, then you can apply for Attendance Allowance.

If you are eligible for Disability Living Allowance, you will receive the component deemed appropriate to your needs. You must have needed help for at least three months before you can claim and should expect to need help for at least a further six months (different rules apply if you are terminally ill). If you are 65 or over and do not currently get DLA then you can apply for Attendance Allowance.

The Care Component of DLA takes into account how much care you need (regardless of whether you are actually receiving it). There are different criteria for establishing which rate you should receive.

The Mobility Component of DLA considers what help you may need to be mobile and looks at whether you need someone to provide guidance or supervision when you are outside on unfamiliar routes (lower rate) or whether you have severe mobility problems.

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) The government has introduced a new allowance called Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which has replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for disabled people aged between 16 and 64.

PIP is designed to help with some of the extra costs caused by longterm ill health or disability. What you receive will depend on how your condition affects you. When you make a claim for PIP, you will be assessed by health professionals to work out what level of support you should receive. Your award will be assessed on a regular basic.

NB: The Motability Scheme will work with PIP in the same way as it does with DLA.

PIP is made up of two parts, daily living part and mobility part.

Daily living difficulties You may get the daily living part of PIP if you need help more than half of the time with things like:

  • Preparing or eating food
  • Washing, bathing and using the toilet
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Reading and communicating
  • Managing your medicines or treatments
  • Making decisions about money
  • Engaging with other people

Mobility difficulties You may get the mobility part of PIP if you need help going out or moving around.

If you live in Scotland, Social Security Scotland has introduced a new allowance called Adult Disability Payment which will gradually replace Personal Independence Payment between the summer of 2022 and 2024. The payment will be the same amount as PIP and you will be paid on the same day, there will be no gaps in payment during your move. The Department of Work and Pension will contact you when it is time to move, you will also receive a letter from Social Security Scotland telling you what will happen during the move. Your Adult Disability Payment will start the day after your PIP award ends.

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people aged 65 or over who have specific care needs because of an illness or disability (either physical or mental).

This benefit looks at the amount of care you need, regardless of whether you are actually receiving that care or not, and is not means-tested.

To be eligible for Attendance Allowance, your care should include the following:

  • frequent attention during the day in connection with your bodily functions
  • or continual supervision during the day in order to prevent substantial danger to yourself or others
  • or the need for prolonged or repeated attention during the night in connection to your body functions
  • or being watched for much of the night

You can claim Attendance Allowance if you have needed looking after for at least six months (this qualifying period is waived if you are terminally ill). The care help you need should cover things like bathing, eating, going to the toilet and getting dressed. It can also include help with medical treatment (e.g. administering tablets or injections, or using a kidney dialysis machine).

Attendance Allowance takes into account supervision that you might need because of dizzy spells, falls or seizures. Attendance Allowance is tax-free and paid at two rates (depending on whether you need care during the day, night, or both).

Disablement Benefit

You may be entitled to receive Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (accidents) if you are ill or disabled because of an accident or event that happened in connection with work. The amount you may receive will depend on your individual circumstances (e.g. your age and the assessed level of your disability). If you are awarded Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, this may affect the other benefits you receive.

There is also an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (diseases), which covers more than 70 diseases that can be caused by certain types of work.

War Disablement Pension

You may be able to claim War Disablement Pension under the War Pensions Scheme if you were injured or disabled as a result of service in Her Majesty's (HM) Armed Forces, you are no longer serving in HM Armed Forces and the claimed condition was caused by service before 6 April 2005.

Claims for disablement that occurred on or after 6 April 2005 should be made under the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. The amount you receive will depend on the assessed level of your disability.

Constant Attendance Allowance

If you need daily care and attention because of a disability and you claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit or a War Disablement Pension, you can claim Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA).

The criteria you need to fulfil to receive CAA will depend on which of these two benefits you receive.

Carers' Allowance

If you are caring for an ill or disabled person in their home for more than 35 hours a week, you may be entitled to claim Carers' Allowance. However, it is worth being aware that Carers' Allowance can cause other benefits to increase or decrease, and may affect the benefits of the person for whom you are caring.

Home and housing

You may be able to arrange a reduction in your Council Tax Bill if your home has certain features that are essential to you living there. If you are on a low income and paying rent, you may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit towards your rent.

If you are registered blind, you are entitled to a 50% reduction on the cost of a TV licence.

VAT on mobility aids and equipment

If you have a long-term illness or you are disabled, you may not have to pay VAT on cars and other equipment designed to help your mobility. People aged 60 and over may be able to pay a lower rate of VAT on mobility aids installed in their home. The rules regarding VAT are complicated; therefore, we would suggest that you contact HM Revenue and Customs for more advice about VAT exemption applicable to your individual circumstances.

To download the Mobility Publication please select the relevant area: