MONEY WHAT AM I ENTITLED TO?
This is a basic guide to benefits for people living with a lung condition in England, Scotland and Wales. It was updated in February 2015
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 changed many benefits from April 2013. This guide contains an outline of –
The benefits that you may be entitled to if you:
• have care and/or mobility needs because of your lung condition;
• cannot work due to your lung condition;
• are thinking of giving up work because of your lung condition; or
• are caring for someone with a lung condition.
Each of the benefits listed below have different qualifying rules and conditions and can be divided into two main groups:
Means-tested or non-means-tested – if a benefit is means-tested it will take into account any other benefits or income you have.
Contributory or non-contributory – to qualify for some benefits you need to have paid a certain amount of National Insurance contributions.
Care and Mobility
Personal Independence payment (PIP) PIP replaced Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults aged 16 to 64 who have difficulties or needs
with aspects of their daily life. It is non-means-tested and non contributory, and can be paid whether you are working or not. Like DLA, PIP has two components which are now called Daily Living Activities and Mobility Activities. If you are eligible you can be paid for either components or just one. There are two rates, standard and enhanced, and you will be assessed on a points system to decide which rate you qualify for. To qualify for the standard rate you need eight points, and for the enhanced rate you need 12 points. To qualify for PIP you must have had the difficulties or needs for three months before you can claim and must be likely to continue to have them for the next nine months.
The process for reassessing current DLA claimants will begin in October 2013 and should be completed by 2017. If you reached the age of 65 by 8 April 2013 your DLA claim can continue and you should not be reassessed for PIP.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) This is only available if you are claiming for a child under the age of 16 and satisfy the care and/or mobility criteria. You will need to show that your child has significantly more care needs than a child of the same age without any health problems. DLA has two components: a care element and a mobility element. To qualify for the mobility component your child must be at least three years of age.
I find the above a bit confusing so if you need any help with any of these rules and regulations you can receive it from the British Lung Foundation Helpline on 03000 030 555. Their specialist nurses and advisers are dedicated to answering your questions. OR http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/ this is a great site and you can obtain their phone number from the site.
Attendance Allowance (AA) is a non-means-tested and non-contributory benefit paid to people aged 65 years and over who have personal care needs because of their lung condition. AA is paid at one of two rates, higher or lower depending on the level of problems you have. You must have had care needs for at least six months. There is no mobility payment with AA and any difficulties with mobility outside the home will not be
taken into account.
Special rules for terminally ill people
If a person is terminally ill and is not expected to live for longer than six months, under special rules, they can obtain Attendance Allowance or Personal Independence payment immediately. It’s a good idea to discuss with their GP or consultant. The GP or consultant will need to complete a DS1500 medical report form, which asks for information about diagnosis or treatment. The person claiming should send the DS1500 form to DWP with the claim form for AA. PIP is claimed by phone. A claim can also be made on another person’s behalf by a carer, family member, friend or professional person. The person who is terminally ill doesn’t have to sign the claim form. They will simply be notified that they have been awarded the benefit and payment will be made to them.
Unable to Work
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
SSP is paid to employees who are unable to work because of sickness. SSP is paid by your employer for up to a maximum of 28 weeks and can be claimed back from the government by your employer. To be eligible for SSP you must meet certain conditions –
you must be working for your employer under a contract of service;
you must be earning above the earnings threshold, before tax and national insurance; and you must be sick for at least four days in a row.
Once SSP has ended, if you are still too sick to return to work, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) may be payable (see below)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) can be paid if you are too ill to work. You must go to a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA is being assessed. ESA’s financial support has two elements:
Contributory ESA, which will depend on National Insurance contributions (this may not be necessary in certain circumstances).
Income-Related ESA, which is the means-tested element. It does not depend on National Insurance contributions, but it can depend on how much household income you have. It is intended that this part of ESA will be replaced by Universal Credit. Within the first 13 weeks of your claim for ESA, your work capability should be assessed and you should undergo a work capability assessment. Usually you will have to travel to a centre to be assessed. After this assessment the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can place you in one of the following groups:
The work-related activity group, where you will be expected to try to find employment and have regular interviews with an adviser
The support group, where you will not be expected to look for employment as your illness or disability has a severe effect on your ability to work
If the DWP decides you are fit to work straightaway they can advise you to apply for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). By doing this you have to declare yourself fit for work. It is worth asking to speak to a Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre for specific guidance on applying for JSA. JSA is broken down into contribution-based and income-based allowance, and like income-based ESA, it is intended that income-based JSA will be replaced by Universal Credit.
The BLF helpline can give you more information, call 03000 030 555.