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Disability Benefits: What You’re Entitled To

Penny Batchelor 19th Apr 2024 52 Comments

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Updated 19th April 2024

In the past few years there have been substantial changes to disability benefits and support available. Below is a helpful bank of information, where you can find out what you may be entitled to claim, the amounts you can receive and how to apply for each.


Working Age 18+

Woman in wheelchair at home

Universal Credit Disability Allowances

Previously, Employment and Support Allowance was a separate benefit you could claim for short-term or long-term disability. With the national rollout of Universal Credit, most ESA claims now form part of a UC claim instead.

ESA is paid every two weeks instead of every four weeks for Universal Credit, and is not means-tested (which means it is not linked to your income). If you apply for ESA and Universal Credit, your ESA counts as income so your ESA payment will reduce your Universal Credit payment.

ESA counts towards your Class 1 National Insurance payments, which entitles you to other benefits. Universal Credit only counts as Class 3 NI, which means it only contributes credits towards your State Pension.

You might also be better suited to not claiming ESA and instead applying to be in the Low Capability for Work and Work Related Activity group on Universal Credit, if you have a long-term health condition that prevents you from working. This entitles you to more Universal Credit.

New applicants of UC can apply here: visit the government web page.

During your application you’ll need to provide the following information:

  1. National Insurance number.
  2. Medical certificate from your GP or doctor.
  3. Your GP’s office address and telephone number.
  4. A contact telephone number.
  5. Up to date mortgage or landlord details if applicable.
  6. A recent council tax bill.
  7. Your last employer’s address and telephone number, with your start and end dates of employment.
  8. Bank or building society account number and sort code.
  9. Details of any other income you currently receive.
  10. Details of your savings.

Once you have officially registered your claim, you’ll then be asked to complete a short claim form so that it can be properly assessed. You may also be invited to a face-to-face Work Capability Assessment.

The decision maker will then write to you to confirm if application is successful and, if so, whether you have been placed in the Work-Related Activity or Support Group. There is also an appeal process in place. This is if your application is rejected and you’d like to challenge that decision.

How much?

How much you receive will depend on your personal circumstances, such as your other income and how much you have in your savings.

There are different standard amounts depending on your age and whether you live with your partner. If you live with your partner, their income is considered in your claim and you must make a joint claim (even if your partner is not seeking benefits).

ESA Payments

For the first 13 weeks (the assessment period), you will receive either £70.70 a week if you are under 25 years old, or £90.50 if you’re over 25. This increases to £90.50 if you’re in a work-related activity group (which means you should be looking for suitable work), or £138.20 if you are in the support group (which means you don’t have to look for work). You can only take on permitted work for a limited number of hours each week.

Universal Credit Payments

Paid monthly, Universal Credit has different age and circumstance brackets.

Under 25 and single: £311.68 per month

Under 25 living with your partner: £489.23 for you both (if they are not low income, your amount may be reduced or you might be ineligible to claim)

Over 25 and single: £393.45 a month

Over 25 and living with your partner: £617.70

You might get additional housing allowances to help with rent, and extra allowances for having children.

Your disability element is on top of the figures above. If your Work Capability Assessment puts you in a group with Limited Work Related Activity, your amount is an extra £416.19 a month. So, let’s say you’re single, over 25, and it’s decided you don’t need to look for work due to your disability, the minimum you would receive each month is £809.64 before any housing or child allowances.

You are not limited for working while claiming Universal Credit and the disability allowance, but when you earn over a certain limit, you lose 45p for every £1 you receive from work.


 Disabled men high fiving

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Personal Independent Payment replaces Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for all new applicants aged 16 to 64. PIP recognises that disabled people incur extra costs in their daily lives. This can influence how much you may recieve.

To make a new claim telephone 0800 917 2222.

You’ll need to provide the following details in order to make your claim:

  1. Contact telephone number
  2. Date of birth
  3. National Insurance number
  4. Bank or building society account number and sort code
  5. Your GP’s name and contact details, plus those of any other doctor or health worker whose care you are under
  6. If applicable, dates and addresses of any time you’ve spent in hospital, in a care home or abroad.

The DWP will then post a long ‘How your disability affects you’ form to fill in. The questions take the following into account: your mental health, learning disabilities and physical impairments. If you need help filling out the form, ask your carer, friend, or contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.

Once the DWP has received your form, an independent health professional may invite you to a face-to-face meeting, either at an assessment centre or your home. You’ll be asked about your ability to carry out daily activities and how your condition affects your life in general.

The representative will then write to you to inform you if you have been successful or not. They will also confirm the level of benefit you are entitled to receive. However, if you are rejected do not agree with the decision: you can enter the appeal process.

How much?

There are two parts to PIP: mobility rate and daily living. Qualifying for one does not automatically qualify you for the other. Both parts have a higher and lower rate, and which one you receive depends on your assessment outcome.

Mobility lower rate is £72.65 a week and higher rate is £108.55 a week.

Daily Living lower rate is £28.70 a week and higher rate is £75.75 a week.


Television Licence Discount

People in the UK who suffer from a visual impairment or blindness can apply for a 50% discount on their television licence. This usually costs £169.50 but with the discount it is £84.75.

Remember, this is for the whole household to benefit from. So if you live with someone who is blind and they are not aware of this, then they should consider applying.

If the licence holder is over 75 years old, regardless of whether they have a disability, and they receive Pension Credit, a TV Licence is free.

Full details are here.

This podcast explains the process in audio.


University Students

Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) is available for full and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. It’s designed to cover some of the additional costs that students who have mental health problems, long term illnesses and other disabilities may incur.

Examples include covering the cost of specialist equipment, and non-specialist equipment, non-medical helpers and travel costs. What it doesn’t cover is day-to-day costs every student has, such as groceries and rent.

The rate you receive will depend upon an assessment of your needs. Your university will have their own way of doing things, however it never hurts to inquire and find out for certain.

To apply:

If you are training for a medical degree such as nursing or as a GP, you can apply for NHS Disabled Student Allowance as an additional payment with your bursary.

Retirement Age 65 +

Attendance Allowance (AA)

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over the age of 65 which is intended for those who have from severe health problems. They may require someone to stop by regularly and help them with their daily tasks, helping to look after them in any way that may be beneficial. However, you do not need to be using or employing a carer to apply.

There are two rates, lower and higher, depending on the level of help needed. AA is not means tested.

To claim telephone 0800 731 0122.

How much?

For the 2024/25 tax year the weekly rates are:

  • Lower rate: £72.65
  • Higher rate: £108.55

And you may also be able to receive other benefits such as Pension Credit and Housing Benefit to help further.


Benefits for Carers

Elderly woman being read to in hospital

Carer’s Allowance (CA)

People over 16 living in England, Wales or Scotland who care for someone for at least 35 hours a week may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance. This is if the person they care for also receives:

  • A daily living component of PIP
  • The middle or highest care rate of DLA
  • Attendance Allowance.

To claim, fill in the online form. You’ll need the date of birth, name and address, national insurance number (if they’re over 16) and DLA reference number (if they’re under 16) of the person you’re caring for.

You’ll also need your own NI number, bank or building society account number and sort code, P45 or current employment details.

In Northern Ireland the rules are slightly different.

If you are not eligible for CA, then you may be entitled to Carer’s Credit instead. This is a national insurance credit for those caring for someone for at least 20 hours per week. For information, read here.

How much?

For the 2024/25 tax year the weekly rate for Carer’s Allowance is £81.90.

Carer’s Assessment

It’s important that the needs of the carer are not overlooked. After all, they need to be fit and healthy in order to function effectively as a carer. Carers are entitled to a free Carer’s Assessment from their local authority.

This assessment will review your situation and ascertain what practical support you may be entitled to. It’s important that you are honest about the impact that your role as a carer has on your life, health and ability to work.

To arrange a carer’s assessment, contact your local council’s adult social services department. Carer’s UK has useful factsheet on how the process differs in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Other Sources of Financial Help

Disabled woman in wheelchair at kitchen table

Council Tax Discount

If you have a disability, your local council will tell you if you are eligible for a council tax discount. People who are severely mentally impaired; who have a live-in carer who isn’t their partner, spouse or child, aren’t included when working out a council tax payment.

Those who live in a larger property because to their disability needs, and require the extra space for use of a wheelchair or an extra bathroom/kitchen, may also be eligible for a discount.

You are responsible for applying to your council for the discount. To find your local council’s website type in your postcode on this Government web page.


Housing Benefit

People who are on a low income can apply for Housing Benefit to help with their housing costs. Couples of working age living in social housing who cannot share a bedroom for health reasons, and disabled people who require an extra bedroom for overnight care, may not have to pay the spare room subsidy. This is commonly known as the bedroom tax.

To see if you’re eligible and to apply go here.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Local councils can grant money for disabled people who need make changes in their home. This can help to make their living arrangements easier for them. Services such as widening doors for wheelchair access, installing a stair lift and ramps are all things that are included.

Contact your local council for eligibility information and how to apply.

Blue Badges

Blue parking badges are available for qualifying disabled people. They allow holders to park in marked disabled spaces without charge (or at a reduced fee) in most pay-and-display car parks. They also allow holders to park on single and double yellow lines for up to three hours, so you can park closer to a venue (but you can’t block traffic or cause a danger with your choice of parking position). The badge is for you and the car you’re travelling in – so it can be used for any car instead of being registered to a single one. You can’t give your badge to anybody else, the exception being if they are coming to pick you up or drop you off at the location.

Historically, only people with difficulty walking have been eligible for a blue badges. However, the government recently extended this to people with mental health conditions too. Conditions such as dementia and autism may also be covered.

England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland have different ways to apply. See here.


Disabled people who receive the highest level of PIP’s mobility component are automatically entitled to apply to Motability. This is a scheme which enables customers to lease cars, scooters, powered wheelchairs and wheelchair accessible vehicles at a lower cost.

For further information and how to apply visit their site.

Water Sure

If you have a condition that requires a heavy use of water, such as a serious skin condition or extra laundry due to incontinence, you could apply to your water supplier through the Water Sure scheme for a discount. If you live with a large number of school age children, you could also be eligible even if your medical conditions don’t use extra water.

Find out more here.

Warm Home Discount

People on a low income or certain disability benefits qualify for the Warm Home Discount. This is an extra payment on your energy bill of £150 during winter, to make sure you can afford your heating and energy bills.

Each supplier has their own criteria; however all suppliers must accept certain people onto their scheme. Find out more about how to get the warm home discount here.


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Joy Ryan
Joy Ryan
7 months ago

I thought I’d been entitled to a Warm Home discount but I live in Northern Ireland and they only give this to you if your in a private rental or own your own property- I rent from housing executive which is the council in England/ You could be on the same benefits whether your in private rental or council. Seems a strange arrangement.

3 years ago

Great x

Tim Yaotome
Tim Yaotome
5 years ago

I find it helpful that disabled people who are still working can claim their benefits from the ESA. Reading this reminded me of my cousin’s eldest daughter, Chi. She got into a soccer accident when she was 16 which rendered her unable to walk. In order to support her physical therapy sessions, I will find an attorney who can help her with her disability insurance claim. With their help, she can recover faster from her injury. Thanks!

9 years ago

I’m a single father bringing up my autistic son since my wife passed away, I’m also blind in one eye and could end up blind in my other eye. Since all the goverment changes life has become unbearable. Because of my son’s disability I fear for his future, and with my own disability getting worse it just makes for a messy ending. I not want to claim benefits as to do so your then knowing as a scrounger and a burden on society. My point is if you ask for help yes you may get it, but it comes at… Read more »

Tracey Fowler
Tracey Fowler
9 years ago

my partner is on dla and carers allowance and we have our own car not one through the mobility, so can we get the insurance paid or get any help with paying it

9 years ago

My wife has give up work to be our daughterd carer we get dla high and carers allowance I work part time whats else can we claim

1 year ago
Reply to  rob

You can claim a reduction in council tax for being a carer. If adaptions have been made to your property your house banding for council tax will drop a band. Travel concessions, free prescriptions. You can look into direct payments from your council, depending on the disability and support required, these payments help buy in carer support to provide respite.

9 years ago

I have been blind in one eye since I was 4 years old I been having difficultys and been having pains in my head and having headaches I can’t even get dla or any support this country the UK takes the biscuit and there’s people on dla for nothing David Cameron is on Twitter I did tweet him but he don’t answer back to anyone

Jules 64
Jules 64
9 years ago

Hi we have had dla for our son since his diagnosis in yr 8 at school he now is planning uni and staying in uni accomodation . He hardly knows much about cooking for him self we have already had a melt down trying to work his finances out. He is paranoid that everyone will steal his food as he has worked out he will probably have £6 a day. I want him to be I dependant but I don’t know how he is going to cope financially or emotionally will he still be entitled to dla or is their… Read more »

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