Make sure you claim all the benefit support you are entitled to receive.
We can help you identify if you are missing out and provide the practical support to claim all the financial support you are entitled to. You can also get benefits advice from One Lambeth Advice.
Claiming sickness, disability and carers benefits can be complicated. You may need an expert benefits check to make sure you are getting the right entitlements.
It can be difficult to know which benefits are the right benefits to claim. Below is a basic guide to benefits for people who have long term health problems and their carers.
Sections in this guide (click title to view)
- 1. Seeking advice
- 2. People over pension age
- 3. Mixed age couples
- 4. Ill or disabled people
- 5. Children, young people and their carers
- 6. Carers
- 7. Universal Credit
- 8. Refer someone for benefits advice
- 9. Useful websites
1. Seeking advice
Even if you already claim benefits you may not be receiving the right level. It's still worth getting an expert benefits check to ensure you are receiving the right entitlements. This is important as all benefits change yearly and may impact on benefits you receive or are in the process of claiming.
Most benefits cannot be backdated so it’s important not to delay seeking advice.
Which benefits you claim will depend on your personal circumstances including your age and how your health problems impact on you. Benefit Advice is available from advice agencies. Benefit Advisors can help take a broad view of benefits and can help consider all the options and implications.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is not a single integrated organisation. Different benefits are processed at different offices, by different agencies and not all staff are knowledgeable about the full range of benefits. Benefits are also paid by Local Authorities and HMRC.
Every Pound Counts is Lambeth Council’s welfare rights team of specialist welfare rights advisors. The service provides a comprehensive benefit advice service for ill and disabled residents on the whole range of benefits provided by:
- the Department for Work and Pensions
- the local authority
There are links to other services who can assist in section eight of this guide.
2. People over pension age
Many pensioners miss out on extra weekly income because they do not claim all the benefits they are entitled to. You may be able to claim a range of benefits and concessions depending on your circumstances. The most common benefits people miss out on are:
- Attendance Allowance - you may be entitled to Attendance Allowance if you are aged 65 or over and need help because of illness or disability.
- Council Tax and Housing Benefit - you may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent and/or Council Tax Benefit to help you pay your council tax. These benefits can be paid to people on low income and people with modest incomes who have made savings for their retirement.
- Pension Credit - Pension Credit provides gives extra cash to people with modest incomes including people who have made savings for their retirement. The guarantee credit is set at standard amounts; from April 2018 it is £163 a week for a single person and £248 for a couple. The amounts are higher for some disabled people, carers and homeowners and leaseholders with certain housing costs.
This is a benefit you can get if you have reached your State Pension age. It’s made up of two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.
Savings Credit is only payable if you or your partner reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016. How much you’ll get depends on your income and savings and whether you’re single or have a husband, wife or civil partner and whether you are disabled and live alone and whether you are a carer or have a carer.
- If you get Pension Credit, you may be able to get the additional amount for carers premium added to it, if you claim Carer’s Allowance or have an underlying entitlement to it.
- If you get Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance or PIP or DLA and you have alone and no one claims carers allowance for look after you may be able
3. Mixed age couples
A mixed age couple is when one partner is over pension age and the other is not.
For housing benefit claims made after 15 May 2019:
- If you’re a mixed age couple and you make a housing benefit claim after 15 May 2019, you’ll be directed to claim Universal Credit instead, unless you’re in receipt of pension credit.
- If your claim is for Specified Accommodation, Temporary Accommodation, or you’ve been in receipt of a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium, then your housing benefit claim will be assessed and you won’t be directed to claim Universal Credit.
When there is a change in circumstances to a housing benefit claim:
- If a partner joins a housing benefit claimant’s household after 15 May 2019 and this forms a mixed age couple, the working age partner will be directed to claim Universal Credit.
- Where the older member of a working age couple reaches pension age after 15 May 2019, the younger partner will be directed to claim Universal Credit.
- If a claim is for Specified Accommodation, Temporary Accommodation, or the claimant/partner is in receipt of a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium, then their housing benefit claim will continue as normal, and neither partner will be directed to claim Universal Credit.
4. Ill or disabled people
Do you experience long term ill health or a disability? Are you, or is someone you know caring for someone who has support needs? If so you may be missing out on claiming benefits you are entitled to.
If your health condition stops you doing things, or you need help from others to mange day to day activities or your personal care, you could be entitled to:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - if you are under 65 you may be able to claim Personal Independence Payment if you need help with your personal care or with getting around outside. If you already get Disability Living Allowance (DLA) you will not be able to claim Personal Independence Payment
- Attendance Allowance (AA) - if you are aged 65 or over and need help because of illness or disability and you don’t already get Disability
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - a benefit for people who are unable to work due to illness or disability. There are two types of ESA - you may be entitled to one or both of them:
- Contributory ESA is based on your National Insurance contributions
- Income-related ESA depends on your income and savings
Which benefits you claim will depend on your age and how your health problems impact you.
Getting ESA, PIP, DLA or AA can also help you and your carer if you have one, are entitled to more top-up benefits. It may also help you have access to other help, such as exemption from road tax, grants for home insulation.
Even if you claim these benefits you may not be receiving the right level so its still worth getting a benefit check. If you have applied for these benefits but have been turned down you may also want to seek advice.
5. Children, young people and their carers
If you care for a child who needs additional support because of long term ill-health or disability you may be able to claim extra benefits and tax credits. This includes families caring for children who have emotional and behavioural problems, long-term illnesses (such as asthma and eczema), developmental delay or other learning disability.
The main benefit you may be able to claim is called Disability Living Allowance (DLA). DLA is a tax-free benefit which can be worth more than £5,000 a year. It is paid to help meet the extra cost of bringing up a child with long-term additional support needs.
If you get DLA other benefits you receive (such as Income Support, Tax Credits, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) may increase. If you do not already receive these benefits, you may become entitled to claim because DLA has been awarded.
If you are a carer you may also be able to get other benefits such as Carer's Allowance.
Are you, or is someone you know caring for someone who has support needs? If so you may be missing out on claiming extra help.
If you spend at least 35 hours per week caring for for a severely disabled person you may also be to claim Carer's Allowance (CA). It doesn't matter whether you live with the person you care for or live somewhere else.
To qualify for CA the person you are caring for must be getting either Attendance Allowance (AA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component paid or the daily Living Component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP). You must also:
- not be in full time education
- have earnings which are below £100 per week after certain allowable deductions have been made.
You may be entitled to claim Income Support. This is a benefit paid to people aged under 60 on low incomes who are unable to work because they are caring and they have savings of less than £16,000. If you are already receiving Income Support, claiming Carer's Allowance will increase your overall benefit income.
Housing benefit and Council Tax Benefit
If you are on a low income you may be entitled to claim Housing Benefit to help you pay your rent and/or Council Tax Benefit to help you pay your council tax. These benefits can be paid to people on low income and people with modest incomes who have made savings for their retirement.
7. Universal Credit
Universal Credit is a monthly payment for people who are of working age, on low income or are out of work. It’s being rolled out in stages across the UK and is replacing other benefits. How much you’ll get depends on your circumstances, including your income and how many children you have.
Universal Credit is a benefit that is managed online and claimed via this website:
Universal Credit is paid once a month, usually into your bank, building society or credit union account. If you’re not able to open a bank, building society or credit union account, call the Universal Credit helpline to arrange a different way of getting paid.
It usually takes around 5 weeks to get your first payment.
If you need help with your living costs while you wait for your first payment, you can apply for an advance
You will need to apply for the Council Tax Support separately.
The wait before your first payment, is made up of a one month assessment period and up to
7 days for the payment to reach your account.
The amount you get depends on your circumstances such as;
- being single
- a couple
- having children
- a disability
- having housing costs like rent.
This total amount may be reduced by certain incomes you may have, such as earnings. The amount may be increased for;
- children with disability
- those with certain levels of incapacity for work.
Advising Communities provides help with making and managing Universal Credit claims, as well as money and budgeting advice, at the following location
All services are drop-ins.
- Monday 10am - 2pm - Kennington Job Centre Plus
- Tuesday 10am - 2pm - Streatham Job Centre Plus
- Thursday 10am to 2pm - Brixton Customer Service Centre
- Friday 10am to 2pm - Brixton Customer Service Centre
There is additional digital support available for Universal Credit claimants at St Luke's Hub, 25A Wincott Street, Kennington, SE11 4NT.
- Wednesday 1-4pm
- Friday 10am-1pm
8. Refer someone for benefits advice
Social Care, health or other care professionals can refer clients for benefits advice; please complete the Every Pounds Counts referral form and email it to EveryPoundCounts@lambeth.gov.uk.
Alternatively you can send it by post:
Lambeth Adults' and Community Services
10 Wandsworth Road
Or you can get help from the One Lambeth Advice Service