The person you care for may be entitled to several benefits because of their condition and circumstances. It can be difficult to identify exactly which benefits they might be able to claim.
There are three main types of benefit.
The person you care for may be entitled to one benefit or a combination of all three types of benefits. To work out which benefits they’re entitled to, follow these steps.
CHECK FOR EARNING REPLACEMENT BENEFITS
Check if they’re entitled to one of the earnings replacement benefits. If they’re entitled to more than one of these benefits, the benefit that offers the highest amount of money will be paid.
CHECK FOR TOP UPS
Check if the person you’re looking after is entitled to any top-up benefits or tax credits.
Top-up benefits are known as means-tested benefits because they’re only paid if the person you care for has limited income and capital. They’re paid in addition to other benefits to top up your income, depending on the benefits you’re receiving.
The following are means-tested benefits that the person you care for could qualify for:
Income Support: this is paid to some people, who are below the qualifying age for the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, who are on a low income and who don’t have to sign on as being unemployed, such as carers or lone parents.
Income-related Employment and Support Allowance: a benefit paid to people under 65 who have a limited capacity for work due to ill health or a disability. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments.
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance: this is paid to people who are actively seeking work. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments.
Pension Credit: this has two parts: the guarantee credit, which is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age, in order to top up their income and the savings credit, which is paid to people aged 65 and over and rewards them for having some savings. Pension credit can also help with some mortgage payments.
Housing Benefit: paid to people who pay rent and have a low income.
Council Tax Benefit: paid to people who are liable for council tax and have a low income.
Claiming Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance increases the amount of income that the person you care for can have coming in and still receive one of the means-tested benefits. Because of this, if they have just started to get DLA or AA they should check if they’re entitled to a means-tested benefit, even if they’ve previously been refused the benefit.
Entitlement to means-tested benefits often enables a person to receive other benefits such as free school meals, health benefits and social fund payments.
There are two types of tax credits, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.
Child Tax Credit is paid if the person you’re looking after is in or out of work and has responsibility for a child. It is means tested. Working Tax Credit is paid if they work and have a low income.
The official online source of government information on benefits is www.gov.uk.
CONCESSIONS FOR DISABLED PERSONS
Disabled persons may be eligible to reductions from the following under the Vulnerable Persons Act.
Reduction for vulnerable person, to receive this reduction the person need to be claiming the high rate of DLA and to prove they use water more for the vulnerable person. To apply contact your local water board requesting a vulnerable person reduction form.
Reduction for vulnerable person, to receive this reduction please contact your electricity supplier and enquire whether they provide reductions to users who are disabled under the Vulnerable Persons Act, not all suppliers provide this reduction.
Reduction for vulnerable person, to receive this reduction you have to have had your home adapted for the vulnerable person/disabled person or that the person uses a wheelchair, in some areas this reduction will be backdated for a year. To apply contact your local council tax dept requesting a vulnerable person reduction form.
All local authorities offer a minimum bus concession for all people of pensionable age (over 60 years for women and 65 for men) and people with disabilities. It is free of charge and must offer a minimum of half price bus fares, although local authorities are encouraged to offer more generous schemes.
Information about train services, reservations and fares are available from railway stations, travel centres or approved travel agents.
The Disabled Persons Railcard allows you to buy discounted rail tickets. If another adult is travelling with you, they can also travel at the same discounted fare. The Railcard is valid for 12 months.
FREE ROAD TAX
You can get a free road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) disc if you have:
DLA mobility at the higher rate, Enhanced Mobility PIP (100% exemption) or Standard Mobility PIP (50% exemption) and a car, which is mostly used by you or for you it could be owned either by you, your parent or carer. You will need a certificate of entitlement to DLA or PIP, if you don’t already have one you can request one by calling the Disability Benefits helpline.
If you haven’t already been sent an application form for your free disc, apply at a Post Office that issues Road Tax or at your local office of Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), using your Vehicle Registration Certificate (V5C) instead. You’ll also need the surname, date of birth and National Insurance number of the exemption certificate holder along with the certificate serial number.
THE BLUE BADGE SCHEME
The blue badge scheme helps people with severe mobility problems and blind people by making parking easier (for example, not having to pay at parking meters if you display your badge).
In some places you may be allowed to pass through or park in pedestrian zones. You can also go through some toll bridges and tunnels free or at a lower rate. The blue badge gives British badge holders parking advantages across Europe. To apply for a blue badge contact your local council by telephone for an application form or download an application form on line. They will be able to give you a full explanation of the scheme and what is allowed.