When money is tight… what financial support could you be eligible for?
Living with an illness or disability can not only affect you emotionally and physically, but also financially, especially if it means you’re unable to work.
It can often be difficult to find out what financial support is available and how to access it. That’s why PHA UK is working with Turn2us, a national charity that helps people in financial hardship in the UK. Turn2us provides a number of free services to help people find support. Here the charity tells us how you can use these services if you’re living with pulmonary hypertension (PH) and struggling to make ends meet.
There are several welfare benefits to help people living with an illness or disability. You can use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator, which you can access via the PHA UK website, to check which welfare benefits and other support you might be entitled to, the amounts you should receive and how to make a claim.
Statutory Sick Pay
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is money paid to you by your employer if you are sick and unable to work. Most employees get SSP, including part-time workers, agency workers and those on fixed-term contracts.
You must earn an average of at least £112 per week before tax to qualify. If you do not earn enough, or are self-employed, then you can claim Employment and Support Allowance instead.
SSP is £88.45 per week and is paid in the same way as your wages. You may get more sick pay on top of this depending on your contract of employment.
You can receive SSP for up to 28 weeks of sickness. After that, if you are still unable to work, you can claim Employment and Support Allowance. If you are off sick and you are not sure whether you can get Statutory Sick Pay, you should consult an experienced adviser. You can use the ‘Find an Adviser’ tool at Turn2us.org.uk to locate one in your area.
Employment and Support Allowance
If you are unable to work because of sickness or disability but do not get Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
There are two types of ESA. You can get contributory ESA if you have paid enough national insurance contributions within a certain time. If your income and savings are low enough you may be entitled to income-related ESA. You may be able to get both types of ESA depending on your circumstances. Both usually require assessments to prove you have limited capacity for work. The amount you might receive depends on which type of ESA you are receiving and other factors including age and whether you live with a partner.
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is for people aged 16-64 who have care needs and/or mobility needs. This applies to people living in England, Scotland and Wales – if you live in Northern Ireland, you will claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA) instead.
PIP has two parts – a daily living component looking at your ability to carry out daily activities, and a mobility component looking at your ability to get around independently when you are not at home. Each component has two rates of payment, a standard rate and an enhanced rate.
To see whether you will qualify, you will be assessed by a healthcare professional on daily living and mobility activities, and points are awarded based on how difficult you find each activity. These points determine how much you might receive.
You will need to meet the disability conditions for PIP for a period of three months before making a claim, and be expected to continue to meet them for a further nine months after making the claim. An exception to this if you are terminally ill or transferring on to PIP from DLA. Most awards of PIP will be for fixed periods, after which you will have to re-apply, in case your needs have increased or decreased over time.
Disability Living Allowance (children)
If you have a child aged under 16 who has extra care needs or mobility needs as a result of a disability, you may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance to help with the extra costs of looking after the child.
DLA (children) is paid at different rates for mobility and care needs the amount you are paid depends on the level of help the child needs. To qualify, the child will must meet eligibility conditions and may need to have an assessment to work out what help they need, and they must have had difficulties for three months which are expected to last for at least six months. An exception to this is if the child is terminally ill.
If you are aged 65 and over and have care needs, you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance.
To qualify, you must not be living in a council care home or a hospital. You must usually have had care needs for at least six months before you can receive it, unless you are terminally ill.
Attendance Allowance is paid at two rates depending on how often you need care. The lower rate is £55.10 per week if you need frequent care throughout the day or night, and the higher rate is £82.30 per week if you need frequent care throughout the day and night or if you are terminally ill. It can be paid for a minimum of six months or longer if your care needs continue.
Attendance Allowance does not include a mobility component. However, if you are already getting a DLA or PIP mobility component when you become 65, you can carry on getting it.
If you’re struggling financially, you may also be eligible for help from a grant-giving charity.
The free Turn2us Grants Search, available on the PHA UK website, features over 3,000 charitable funds that give grants and other support to individuals with a number of different needs and circumstances. The Grants Search also includes details of each fund’s eligibility criteria and how to apply. In most cases the funds have been set up to assist people in financial hardship that have something in common, including specific illnesses and disabilities. Many funds also help the partners or children of the people their grants support. Grants may be able to help with bills and other living expenses, or for one-off items including disability equipment.