ANYONE with an illness or disability who's claiming benefits can expect to get higher payments from next month.
Benefit rates will rise by 3.1% in April including Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and the allowance for carers.
Thousands of Brits are thought to be missing out on help designed to support you if you have a long term health condition or disability.
So if you're not already claiming, it's worth checking if you're entitled.
And if you already are, check you're not missing out on other support you could be eligible for.
You can check by using an online benefits calculator, which are offered by charities such as Turn2Us and EntitledTo.
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Anyone getting five major benefits for the ill or disabled will see the amount they get go up in April, including:
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
- The Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
- Carer's allowance
- Attendance allowance
- Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
But the rise of 3.1% is less than the current rate of inflation of 5.5%, and that could hit 8% this year.
So although payments will go up, prices are rising faster and that means more of your income will have to be spent on bills and food which could leave you feeling worse off.
If you're struggling with bills there's further help you can get – check it out here.
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Disability Living Allowance
The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for disabled people.
You can only apply for DLA if you're under 16 or an adult can apply on a child's behalf.
The amount they can get depends on their difficulties and how much help they need.
Older people whose DLA claim hasn't come to an end may see payments go up.
Here's how much the rates are rising from April:
- Highest amount will rise from £89.60 to £92.40
- Middle amount from £60.00 to £61.85
- Lowest amount from £23.70 to £24.45
And for the mobility component:
- Higher amount from £62.55 to £64.50
- Lower amount from £23.70 to £24.45
In Scotland DLA has been replaced by the Child Disability Payment.
You can find out more about DLA for children from gov.uk and apply if you think you're eligible.
Personal Independence Payment
Personal Independence Payment, or PIP for short is for those who have a long-term physical or mental health condition or disability that makes it difficult to do everyday tasks or get around.
You can get PIP even if you’re working, have savings or are getting most other benefits, if you're under state pension age.
There are two main elements to PIP, a daily living part if you need help with everyday tasks and a mobility part if you need help with getting around.
If you're eligible for the daily living part you'll either get the low rate of £60 a week or the higher rate of £89.60.
Payments for the daily living component will rise from these amounts to £61.85 and £92.40 respectively.
The mobility element is £27.30 a week on the lower rate, or £62.55 for the higher rate.
These rates will also rise to £24.45 and £64.50 respectively.
If you're entitled to Personal Independence Payment, you could get access to extra help and benefits on top, like a disability premium topping up other benefits, like housing benefit.
You can check out the other tops ups you can get here in our guide and find out how to make a claim for PIP online at gov.uk.
Carer's allowance is for anyone who has caring responsibilities for at least 35 hours a week, regardless of age.
It's worth up to £67.60 a week and that will increase to £69.70 a week.
As the carer, you don't have to be related to or live with the person you care for but they will need to get certain benefits, such as the daily living component of personal independent payment or disability living allowance.
And your income must also be under £128 a week (£6,656 a year) after tax and national insurance.
It's worth noting that carer’s allowance can affect the other benefits that you get and you have to pay tax on it if your income is over the Personal Allowance.
The easiest way to claim is online via the government website.
You can find out more about carer's allowance and how to claim in our guide.
Attendance Allowance helps with extra costs if you have a disability or illness severe enough that you need someone to help look after you.
It’s for those over the state pension age (currently 66), and is paid at two different rates.
How much you get depends on the level of care that you need because of your disability.
The higher rate will rise from £89.60 to £92.40, while the lower rate will also go up from £60 to £61.85.
The amount of money you earn and the savings you have don't affect how much you get.
You can make a claim for attendance allowance online through gov.uk.
Employment and Support Allowance
If you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you earn, or whether you can earn at all, you could be eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
Here are the main rates for ESA and how much more you'll get from April:
- Under 25-year-old, from £59.20 to £61.05
- Age 25 and older, from £74.70 £77.00
- Lone parent under 18, from £59.20 to £61.05
- Lone parent 18 or over, from £74.70 £77.00
There are also further rates for couples, those with disabilities or caring responsibilities, and how much that is depends on your circumstances.
To be eligible you need to have worked either as an employee or been self-employed in the past, and have paid enough National Insurance over the past two to three years.
It is also possible to claim Universal Credit alongside ESA, but you can’t receive Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) at the same time.
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You could make a claim if you've been on SSP for some time and it's ending and you remain unwell.
You can apply for ESA online through the government website.
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