5-minute guide to finding financial support if you have an illness or disability

5-minute guide to finding financial support if you have an illness or disability

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 SSP, you should consult an experienced adviser – you can find one local to you by using the Turn2us Find an Adviser tool.

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:

  1. You can get contributory ESA if you have paid enough national insurance contributions within a certain time.
  2. 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

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:

  1. A daily living component looking at your ability to carry out daily activities
  2. 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.

Attendance Allowance

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
  • 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 continue to receive it.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

IIDB is for people who are disabled because of an accident at work, or who have certain diseases caused by their work.

  • Only industrial diseases qualify, for example, diseases caused by chemicals you have worked with or hearing loss caused by your work
  • You can get Disablement Benefit if you were a paid employee, or a trainee on certain government-approved training schemes, at the time that you had your accident at work or contracted the industrial disease. You will not receive it if you were self-employed
  • You can receive IIDB even if you carry on working or go back to work. It does not matter how much savings, capital or other income you have
  • An assessment will be made on how your disability affects you. You must usually be assessed as having at least 14% disablement to qualify, although there are exceptions to this
  • The amount of IIDB you can receive depends on the extent of your disability and your age
  • You can be paid IIDB for a fixed period or for life.

If you have been injured at work and you want to claim compensation from your employer, you should seek legal advice from a personal injury lawyer.

Checking entitlements

  • There are other welfare benefits you may be entitled to due to illness, injury or disability, depending on your personal circumstances.
  • You can use the free Turn2us Benefits Calculator to check which benefits you are entitled to, the amounts you may receive and how to make a claim.
  • You may also find this Turn2us factsheet on all of these benefits useful.

Thanks to Linda Gyamfi, Welfare Benefits Specialist at charity Turn2us outlines for sharing these tips.

  • If you're a carer, you can find out more about getting financial support here.