Benefits Advice

If you are sick or disabled, there are different benefits and tax credits that you may be able to claim.  Citizens Advice Scotland have provided most of the information below.

(Updated 8th November 2019)

This advice applies to Scotland 

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are giving regular and substantial care to disabled people. Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit and forms part of your taxable income.

Check if you can get Carer’s Allowance

You can usually get Carer’s Allowance if all of the following apply:

  • you’re aged 16 or over
  • you’re not in full time education
  • you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person
  • the person you’re caring for gets one of the following benefits: Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance, the middle or highest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance, the daily living component of Personal Independence Payment (either rate) or Armed Forces Independence Payment
  • you don’t earn more than £123 a week – after deductions such as income tax, National Insurance and half of your pension contributions
  • you’re not subject to immigration control that would stop you getting benefits

You usually have to be in Great Britain when you claim. There are some exceptions, for example, for members and family members of the Armed Forces.

You may be able to get Carer’s Allowance if you and the person you are caring for move to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein, or if you’re already living in one of these countries. You can find out more about claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK.

If you’ve lived outside of the UK

You’ll need to give evidence to show the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay. This is known as being ‘habitually resident’.

Check how to prove you’re habitually resident.

You must also have lived in Great Britain for 2 out of the last 3 years. Great Britain is England, Wales and Scotland. It doesn’t include Northern Ireland.

Your time spent in Great Britain doesn’t need to have been in one go. For example, you could have lived in England for 1 year, the USA for 1 year and Wales for 1 year.

You might still be eligible if you haven’t lived in Great Britain for enough time, but you’ve lived in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

If you haven’t lived in Great Britain for enough time

You might be eligible if you’ve worked or claimed benefits for 2 out of the last 3 years in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein.

The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.

You might also be eligible if you’ve got a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ to the UK.

You might have a ‘genuine and sufficient link’ if for example:

  • you’ve lived in the UK for nearly 2 years
  • you work or are self-employed in the UK
  • you have a family member who works or is self-employed in the UK
  • you have close family in the UK who you rely on for care and support
  • you get certain benefits in the UK

The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you get a pension or benefit from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein

Your eligibility for Carer’s Allowance could be affected. The rules in this area are complicated and it’s best to get advice before you apply. You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you’re from the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein

To apply for Carer’s Allowance you need to show:

  • you made the claim while you were in England, Scotland or Wales
  • the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands or Isle of Man is your main home and you plan to stay – this is known as being ‘habitually resident’
  • you’ve lived in England, Scotland or Wales for the last 2 out of 3 years

If you’ve lived in the UK for 5 years or more

You should apply for ‘settled status’.

Check how to apply for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Your Carer’s Allowance might stop if you don’t have settled status by 31 December 2020.

If you’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years

You should apply for ‘pre-settled status’. If you’ve got pre-settled status, you’ll still need to show you’re habitually resident to get Carer’s Allowance.

Check how to apply for pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Find out more about staying in the UK after Brexit.

If you’re not eligible for Carer’s Allowance

If you care for a person or people for at least 20 hours a week, you might be able to get Carer’s Credits. These are credits that fill in gaps in your National Insurance record – this decides whether you can get:

  • State Pension

  • contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

Find out more about Carer’s Credits on GOV.UK.

If you’re a young carer

If you’re 16-18 years and care for someone getting certain disability benefits for at least 16 hours a week, you might be able to get a Young Carer Grant.

You can’t get a Young Carer Grant if you’ve applied for, or already get, Carer’s Allowance.

If you think you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance you should apply for the Young Carer Grant first. You can then apply for Carer’s Allowance after you’ve been paid the Young Carer Grant.

There are some situations where you may be slightly worse off by doing this. For example, if you delay applying for Carer’s Allowance you may miss the deadline for Carer’s Allowance Supplement. You can get advice at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Find out more about who can get the Young Carer Grant and how to apply.

How much Carer’s Allowance you can get

Carer’s Allowance is paid at a standard rate for the person making the claim.

You can check the current rate of Carer’s Allowance on GOV.UK.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement

If you lived in Scotland and were getting a payment of Carer’s Allowance on a twice-yearly “qualifying date” set by the Scottish Government, you will also get a new lump sum payment called the Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

If you get other benefits

You’ll get no Carer’s Allowance or less if you get some other benefits including:

  • state retirement pension

  • contributory ESA

  • contribution-based JSA

  • Maternity Allowance

If your Carer’s Allowance is either the same as or less than the other benefit, you will get the other benefit rather than Carer’s Allowance.

If the other benefit is less than your Carer’s Allowance, you will get the other benefit and the balance of your Carer’s Allowance on top.

The rules about this are complicated – you can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice to check you’re getting what you should.

If you get any benefits based on your income

These are known as ‘means tested benefits’. Carer’s Allowance counts as income when these benefits are worked out.

You can get an extra amount called a ‘Carers’ Premium’ or ‘Carers’ Addition’ with any of the following benefits if you get Carer’s Allowance:

  • Pension Credit

  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit

  • Council Tax Support

You get an extra amount of Universal Credit called a ‘carer element’ if you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance – even if you don’t apply for Carer’s Allowance.

Claiming Carer’s Allowance

If the person you’re caring for gets a benefit with a Severe Disability Premium or Addition

The person you’re caring for can’t get the Premium or Addition while you’re getting Carer’s Allowance. They should contact the DWP or their local council to let them know you’re getting Carer’s Allowance.

The person you’re caring for might get a Severe Disability Premium or Addition with:

  • income-based JSA

  • income-related ESA

  • Income Support

  • Housing Benefit

  • Council Tax Support

  • Pension Credit

Always check with the person you’re caring for before you apply for Carer’s Allowance.

To make a claim for Carer’s Allowance you can:

You can’t make a claim by phone.

If you need help making your claim, contact the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

Carer’s Allowance Unit

Telephone: 0800 731 0297
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you can’t hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0297
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 2AB

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

You can find out more about Carer’s Allowance on GOV.UK.

You will have to provide your national insurance number and evidence to show it belongs to you. If you don’t know your national insurance number, but you think you have one, you should provide evidence to help the office to find it. If you do not have a national insurance number, you will have to apply for one.

Your partner may have to attend an interview with a personal adviser as a condition of you getting Carer’s Allowance.

Check if you can get your Carer’s Allowance backdated

Your claim can be backdated for up to three months if you were eligible. You don’t have to give a reason why you’re claiming late.

Ask for your Carer’s Allowance to be backdated when you apply – you should ask for this on the claim form where it asks ‘When do you want your Carer’s Allowance to start’?

Change of circumstances

Once you know about a change that might affect the amount of Carer’s Allowance you get, tell the DWP as soon as you can.

The change might increase your payment and you might miss out on extra money if you tell the DWP late.

You should still tell the DWP if you think a change might reduce your payment – you won’t save money by reporting it later. If you tell the DWP late you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deals with overpayments.

If the person you’re caring for goes into a care home or hospital

Disability benefits will usually stop after someone has been in a care home or hospital for 28 days. If they go into a care home or hospital more than once in 28 days, the time from each visit will be added together.

If disability benefits stop for the person you’re caring for, you can’t keep getting Carer’s Allowance – you should contact the DWP to let them know that the person’s disability benefits have stopped.

Civil penalties for causing an overpayment

In some cases, you may have to pay a civil penalty if you do something careless which causes an overpayment. This can happen if, for example, you give wrong information or you keep quiet about something, and as a result you get more Carer’s Allowance than you’re supposed to be getting. You can only be asked to pay this penalty if you haven’t committed fraud. If you have committed fraud, different rules apply. You can appeal against a decision to impose a civil penalty.

Fraud

It could be benefit fraud if your Carer’s Allowance is affected because you:

  • give the DWP information you know is misleading or wrong
  • don’t tell the DWP when your circumstances change – for example if you stop caring for the disabled person for 35 hours each week

Your circumstances can be checked at any time while you are claiming and fraud officers can also get information about you from other government agencies and from your employer, bank or utility companies. Benefit fraud is a criminal offence and you can be prosecuted or asked to pay a penalty. If you are being investigated for benefit fraud, your benefit will be suspended. If you committed benefit fraud, your benefit can be reduced or stopped in the future.

For more information on what to do if you are asked to attend an interview under caution, see Problems with benefits and tax credits.

How Carer’s Allowance is paid

Carer’s Allowance is usually paid directly into a bank, building society or Post Office card account. If you cannot open or manage an account, the DWP will pay you using the Payment Exception Service – find out how the Payment Exception Service works on GOV.UK.

You’ll keep getting Carer’s Allowance for as long as you’re still eligible.

Problems with Carer’s Allowance

If you are refused Carer’s Allowance or you think you are getting the wrong amount of benefit, you can challenge the decision. You should do this within one month of the decision.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received from the local benefits office or the DWP you can complain. This might be because of errors, delays, rudeness or difficulty getting in touch. You can do this whether or not you also want to challenge a decision.

For more information about challenging benefit decisions and about complaining, see Problems with benefits and tax credits.

Other help for carers

You can contact Carers Scotland on 0808 808 7777 for confidential information and advice. The line is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm and a listening service is available on Mondays and Tuesdays, 9am to 7pm.

Find out more about the help and support that is available to carers.

This advice applies to Scotland 

This page explains the Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement, which will be paid by Social Security Scotland (part of the Scottish Government). It has information on who qualifies, how much it is, when it is paid and how it affects your other benefits.

What is the Carer’s Allowance Supplement

The Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement is a twice-yearly payment made by Social Security Scotland. It is made to people who are living in Scotland and getting a payment of Carer’s Allowance on a set date.

It is a temporary payment, until Carer’s Allowance is replaced by a new Scottish benefit. It has been introduced to quickly increase the amount of Carer’s Allowance paid to carers in Scotland.

Who will get the Carer’s Allowance Supplement

You will get the Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement if on the “qualifying date” you’re:

There is no need to apply for it, you should be paid automatically.

You don’t have to get Carer’s Allowance for the whole six months, just on the qualifying date.

You’re not eligible if you were entitled to Carer’s Allowance on the qualifying date, but not actually getting any payments as you got another benefit instead. This is sometimes called having an “underlying entitlement” to Carer’s Allowance.

The qualifying date

There is one qualifying date every six months. The table below shows the qualifying dates in 2019.

CA Supplement qualifying dates in 2019

Monday 15 April 2019
Monday 14 October 2019

If you weren’t getting Carer’s Allowance on the qualifying date

If you weren’t getting Carer’s Allowance on the qualifying date, but are later given a backdated payment covering that date, you are then eligible for the CA Supplement. It should be paid to you at the same time as the next payments are made. This may be up to six months later.

For example, you claim Carer’s Allowance on 15 December, and ask for your claim to be backdated to 1 October, as this is when you started caring. Your claim is not decided by the Department for Work and Pensions until after the CA Supplement payments for people who qualify in October have been made. You are eventually awarded Carer’s Allowance from 1 October, and you receive a backdated payment. You can now get the October payment of the CA Supplement. It is paid to you at the same time as your CA Supplement payment for the following April.

What does resident in Scotland mean

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will tell Social Security Scotland who its records show is resident in Scotland and gets Carer’s Allowance on each qualifying date. If you’re not on the DWP list, you won’t get the CA Supplement automatically.

It doesn’t matter where the person you care for lives, eligibility is based on where you live.

If you expect to receive the CA Supplement but don’t, contact Social Security Scotland. If you’re told that you are not resident in Scotland and you don’t agree with this, get advice.

Carer’s Allowance Supplement if you move abroad

If you move to another European country, special European rules mean that in some circumstances you can continue to get paid Carer’s Allowance. If you move abroad from Scotland, you should also continue to be eligible for the Carer’s Allowance Supplement, as long as you are still getting Carer’s Allowance on the qualifying date.

How much is the Carer’s Allowance Supplement

The Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement is currently £226.20. This payment is a lump sum which covers a six month period, either April to September or October to March.

It does not matter how much Carer’s Allowance you get, the amount of CA Supplement is the same.

How the Carer’s Allowance Supplement is paid

You should receive a letter before your CA Supplement payment telling you when you will be paid.

If you are eligible on the first qualifying date (15 April 2019), you’ll be paid the CA supplement on 24 June 2019. You should get a letter telling you this around 20 or 21 June 2019.

If you are eligible on the second qualifying date (14 October 2019), you’ll be paid the CA supplement in December 2019.

The payment will be made in the same way as your Carer’s Allowance is paid. If your payment does not arrive, contact Social Security Scotland using the details in the letter.

If you are not paid the Carer’s Allowance Supplement

If you get a letter saying that you will get the Carer’s Allowance (CA) Supplement, but the payment is not made, contact Social Security Scotland using the contact details on the letter.

Keep a record of when you contact them, for example details of when you phoned and who you spoke to, or a copy of the letter you sent. It is normally better to contact them in writing, so the record of what you said is clear.

If you think you should get the CA Supplement but do not get a letter, contact Social Security Scotland. If you are not happy with their response, get advice

How the Carer’s Allowance Supplement affects other benefits

The Carer’s Allowance Supplement is normally ignored when working out the amount of any other benefits or tax credits that you get. From 27 October 2018, it is also ignored when working out the amount of your Council Tax Reduction.

Some benefits are affected by the amount of your savings. If you already have some savings, getting a backdated payment of the CA Supplement may affect the amount of these benefits. In you are unsure if your other benefits are affected, get advice.

How the Carer’s Allowance Supplement affects income tax

Carer’s Allowance Supplement, like Carer’s Allowance, is a taxable benefit. This means that you may have to pay more income tax because you get the Supplement.

Read more about income tax.

More information about the Carer’s Allowance Supplement

There is information about CA Supplement on the mygov.scot website.

Social Security Scotland should be able to answer questions about eligibility for the Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

Social Security Scotland
Carer’s Allowance Supplement
PO Box 10302
Dundee
DD1 9FX

Tel: 0800 182 2222

This advice applies to Scotland 

You might be able to claim benefits if:

  • you have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around
  • you can’t work because you’re sick or disabled
  • you’re on a low income or you have no income

You might be able to get Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB). You can get IIDB at the same time as most other disability benefits. Check if you can get IIDB.

You might be able to get:

  • one off compensation from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or the War Pension Scheme
  • a pension or Guaranteed Income Payment
  • Armed Forces Independence Payment

Check what to claim if you got sick or were injured in the Armed Forces on GOV.UK.

If you have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around

You might be able to get:

You can check your State Pension age on GOV.UK.

If you are disabled and you live in Scotland, check if you can apply for an award from the Independent Living Fund on mygov.scot.

If someone looks after you

If you get PIP, DLA or Attendance Allowance, check if the person who looks after you can get Carer’s Allowance.

If the person who looks after you is 16 to 18 years, check if they can get Young Carer Grant.

If you can’t work because you’re sick or disabled

If you’re employed but you can’t work, you’ll usually get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer for 28 weeks – check if you should get SSP.

You should check if you can get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if:

  • you’re employed but you can’t get SSP – for example if you’re not earning enough
  • your SSP has ended
  • you’re not employed

If you’re on a low income or you have no income

You should check if you can get Universal Credit.

If you can’t work, you should get a ‘fit note’ from your GP and send this with your claim form. Check how Universal Credit works for people who are sick or disabled.

You might be able to get other benefits, for example:

You can also check what other help you can get.

This private Facebook group offers support and advice.  Find more info here.

This advice applies to Scotland 

You might be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB) if you’re disabled because you either:

  • were injured in an accident caused by your work – for example if you damaged your leg or got post-traumatic stress disorder

If you got ill or were injured before 1 October 1990

You might be able to claim Reduced Earnings Allowance (REA) or Retirement Allowance as well as IIDB.

Contact your nearest Citizens Advice for help if you:

  • want to check if you can claim REA or Retirement Allowance
  • have a problem with REA or Retirement Allowance

Check if you can claim IIDB

To claim IIDB, when you got ill or were injured you must have been:

  • an apprentice
  • on a government approved training scheme
  • an agency worker who paid National Insurance through your payslip

You usually need to have been in Great Britain or paying national insurance in the UK when you got ill or were injured. If you weren’t, contact your nearest Citizens Advice to see if you can still get IIDB.

When you apply for IIDB a medical examiner will assess you. The medical examiner decides how disabled you are on a scale of 1 to 100% – this is different from other types of disability benefit.

To get IIDB the medical examiner usually has to decide you’re at least 14% disabled. This doesn’t apply if you have:

  • pneumoconiosis
  • byssinosis
  • diffuse mesothelioma

Check how much IIDB you’ll get

The amount of IIDB you’ll get depends on how disabled the medical examiner decides you are. Check how much you can get for different levels of disability on GOV.UK.

If the medical assessor decides you’re 100% disabled, you might also be able to get extra money. You might get one or both of:

  • Constant Attendance Allowance
  • Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance

Check if IIDB will affect your other benefits

IIDB counts as income, so it will affect:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support

Constant Attendance Allowance and Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance don’t count as income.

IIDB won’t affect other benefits – for example you can get IIDB at the same time as Personal Independence Payments (PIP) or Attendance Allowance.

If you or your partner get IIDB, you won’t be affected by the ‘benefit cap’ which limits the amount of benefit payments a household can get.

When to claim IIDB

You can make a claim for IIDB straight away. You will start getting IIDB 90 days after you were first injured or became ill.

If you claim IIDB more than 90 days after you were injured or become ill, it will be backdated. IIDB can be backdated for up to 3 months, but it will still only start 90 days after you were first injured or became ill.

How to claim IIDB

You can print an IIDB claim form from GOV.UK. There are 2 types of form depending on whether you’re claiming for a medical condition or an injury caused by an accident.

Fill in the form and post it to Barnsley IIDB Centre. If you can’t print off the form, call Barnsley IIDB Centre and they’ll post it to you.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits (IIDB) Centre

Barnsley IIDB Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1SY

Telephone: 0800 121 8379
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Text relay: 18001 then 0800 121 8379
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Check how long you’ll get IIDB for

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will decide how long you’ll be disabled because of your injury or medical condition – they’ll confirm this in a letter.

If the DWP decide your disability’s permanent

You’ll get IIDB for the rest of your life – this is called a ‘life assessment’.

If the DWP aren’t sure how long your disability will last

You’ll get IIDB for a fixed time, for example a year – this is called a ‘provisional assessment’.

The DWP will contact you near the end of the fixed time to arrange for you to be examined again.

If the DWP decide your disability will only last for a fixed time

You’ll get IIDB for a fixed time, for example for a year – this is called a ‘final assessment’.

Your IIDB will stop at the end of the fixed time.

If you’re near the end of the fixed time

If you’re still disabled by your injury or medical condition, contact the IIDB Centre so the DWP can assess you again and make a new decision.

Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefits (IIDB) Centre

Barnsley IIDB Centre
Mail Handling Site A
Wolverhampton
WV98 1SY

Telephone: 0800 121 8379
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Text relay: 18001 then 0800 121 8379
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your situation changes

You should tell the DWP if your situation changes – this is called reporting a ‘change of circumstances’.

You should tell the DWP if for example:

  • your medical condition gets better or worse
  • you change your name, address or bank details
  • you get married or start a civil partnership
  • your doctor’s details change
  • you go abroad

You should tell the DWP about a change of circumstances as soon as possible. If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got worse you might miss out on extra money.

If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got better, you could get paid too much. If you’re paid too much you usually have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deal with overpayments.

If you go abroad

You’ll keep getting IIDB while you’re abroad – it doesn’t matter how long you go for.

If you get Constant Attendance Allowance or Exceptionally Severe Disablement Allowance, you’ll usually keep getting them forever if you go to the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland or Liechtenstein. If you go anywhere else, you’ll get them:

  • for 6 months if you go temporarily
  • for as long as the DWP decide if you move permanently

If the DWP say you’ve had an overpayment of IIDB

The DWP can only ask you to pay the money back if you:

  • gave wrong information when you first applied or after you started receiving IIDB
  • didn’t report a change of circumstances which would have affected your IIDB

You can check what you can do if the DWP say you’ve been overpaid.

Challenging an IIDB decision

You can appeal against an IIDB decision. This might include a decision that:

  • you can’t get IIDB
  • you can only get a lower amount than you think you should get
  • you’ve been overpaid

If you think the DWP made the wrong decision, the first step is to ask them to look at your claim again – this is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’. You can check how to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

This advice applies to Scotland 

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit for people who have difficulty with everyday tasks or getting around.

You can’t make a new claim for DLA if you’re 16 or over – check what other benefits you might be able to claim.

Check if you’ll be moved from DLA to Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Most people are being moved to PIP, the benefit that’s replacing DLA. The rules are different depending on when you were born.

If you were born before 9 April 1948

You won’t be moved to PIP – you’ll keep getting DLA as long as you’re still eligible.

If your DLA has stopped in the last year, you can apply for it to start again. If your DLA stopped over a year ago, you’ll have to claim Attendance Allowance instead.

If you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You’ll have to claim PIP instead of DLA when any of the following happen:

  • you tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that your condition has changed – for example it’s got worse
  • the DWP send you a letter asking you to claim PIP
  • your DLA ends because it was awarded for a fixed period of time – for example 10 years

Check what to do when you have to move to PIP.

If your situation changes

You should tell the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if your situation changes – this is called reporting a ‘change of circumstances’.

A change of circumstances includes if:

  • you change your name, address or bank details
  • your doctor’s details change
  • you go into a hospital or care home
  • you go abroad for more than 13 weeks

Your DLA might stop if you go into a hospital or care home for more than 4 weeks or you go abroad for more than 13 weeks. The rules are complicated – contact your nearest Citizens Advice to check if you can keep getting DLA.

Depending on when you were born, there are different rules for:

  • how to report a change
  • what happens if you report a change in your medical condition

If you were born before 9 April 1948

You should report changes to the DWP’s helpline.

DLA and Attendance Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your medical condition changes

You should tell the DWP if:

  • your condition gets better or worse
  • the level of help or care you need changes

The DWP will assess you again to see how much DLA you should get – this is called a ‘reassessment’. Check how much DLA you should get on GOV.UK.

When you’re reassessed, you can’t usually:

  • get the mobility component or the lowest rate of the care component if you weren’t already getting them
  • move between the higher and lower rates of the mobility component

You should tell the DWP about a change of circumstances as soon as possible. If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got worse you might miss out on extra money.

If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got better, you could get paid too much. If you’re paid too much you usually have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deal with overpayments.

If you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You should report changes of circumstances to the DLA helpline.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 4600
Textphone: 0800 121 4523
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

If your medical condition gets better

You should tell the DWP as soon as possible. The DWP will ask you to apply for PIP instead of DLA – check what to do when you’re asked to move to PIP.

If you don’t tell the DWP that your condition has got better, you could get paid too much and have to pay your benefits back to the DWP. This is called an overpayment – check how the DWP deal with overpayments.

If your medical condition gets worse

If you tell the DWP that your condition has changed, they will ask you to apply for PIP instead of DLA – check what to do when you’re asked to move to PIP.

If your condition has got worse, you might get more money when you’re assessed for PIP, but you might get less because the PIP rules are different. Contact your nearest Citizens Advice to work out if you should tell the DWP that your condition’s got worse.

If the DWP say you’ve had an overpayment of DLA

The DWP can only ask you to pay the money back if you:

  • gave wrong information when you first applied or after you started receiving DLA
  • didn’t report a change of circumstances which would have affected your DLA

You can check what you can do if the DWP say you’ve been overpaid.

Challenging a DLA decision

You can appeal against a DLA decision. This might include a decision that:

  • you can’t get DLA anymore
  • you can only get a lower rate than you think you should get
  • you’ve been overpaid

You can check how much DLA you should get on GOV.UK.

If the DWP have asked you to claim PIP instead of DLA

You can’t challenge the DWP’s decision that you need to claim PIP. If you’re assessed for PIP and you don’t agree with the result, you can challenge the PIP assessment decision.

If you think the DWP made the wrong decision, the first step is to ask them to look at your claim again – this is called a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

If possible, make sure that the DWP get your request for mandatory reconsideration within 1 month of the date of the decision. You’ll find the date at the top of your decision letter.

If you’re writing to the DWP and your letter might not reach them in time, you should call them and tell them.

If you’ve missed the 1 month deadline it’s still worth sending your mandatory reconsideration. You should do this within 13 months of the decision. You’ll need to give a good reason for missing the deadline – for example, because you’d spent some time in hospital.

The best way to ask for mandatory reconsideration is to use the CRMR1 mandatory reconsideration request form on GOV.UK. You can also write a letter to the DWP explaining why you disagree with their decision. The address you need will be on your DLA decision letter.

You can also call the DWP to ask for mandatory reconsideration. If you call, make sure to write everything down in case you need written proof later on. You should write a letter to the DWP summarising what you talked about over the phone.

Calling the DWP if you were born before 9 April 1948

You can call the DWP’s helpline to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

DLA and Attendance Allowance helpline

Telephone: 0800 731 0122
Textphone: 0800 731 0317
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 731 0122
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Calling the DWP if you were born on or after 9 April 1948

You can call the DLA helpline to ask for a mandatory reconsideration.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 4600
Textphone: 0800 121 4523
NGT text relay (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 4600
Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm

Calls are free from mobiles and landlines.

Explain why you think the DWP’s decision is wrong

Look at your decision letter. It will say how the DWP have decided on your application. Make a note of the statements you disagree with and why.

Give facts, examples and medical evidence (if available) to support what you’re saying. One way to be clear about what you disagree with is to use the same words they use in the decision.

Below is an example of what you might say in your letter.

Example

“Your letter says I’m not entitled to DLA because I “don’t need frequent attention throughout the day or night”. This is incorrect. I need frequent help washing, dressing and going up and down the stairs.”

Check what happens after your mandatory reconsideration

The DWP might call you if they need more information or they want to clarify something. If you’ve already told them you can’t use the phone, they should write to you.

If they don’t need more information, they’ll write and tell you whether they’ve changed their decision. The letter they send you is known as a mandatory reconsideration (MR) notice.

If the DWP change their decision so you get more DLA, they’ll pay you the extra money and backdate it to the date of the original decision.

You can appeal to an independent tribunal if you still don’t agree with the DWP’s decision in the MR notice. Your MR notice will include information about how to appeal. You’ll have 1 month from the date of your MR notice to do this.

If you’ve missed the 1 month deadline it’s still worth sending your appeal. You should do this within 13 months of the date of the MR notice. You’ll need to give a good reason for missing the deadline – for example, because you’d spent some time in hospital.

You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice. Try to get in touch straight away as you might have to wait for an appointment.

2020 Guide to Universal Credit

Universal Credit is the UK’s centralised benefit system. Previously, individuals and families entitled to financial support from the government would claim a combination of six different benefits. Now, Universal Credit as merged all of these remunerations into one monthly payment.

What Has Universal Credit Replaced?

Universal Credit has replaced the following individual payment benefits.

  • Child Tax Credit – a tax credit available to families that live with dependent children below the age of 16. If your child is in approved further education, this age limit increases to 20.
  • Housing Benefit – funding to help cover accommodation payments for the unemployed, disabled, pensioner or those on very low incomes.
  • Income Support – a supplementary payment to increase the take-home pay of families on low incomes and help cover living expenses.
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) – payable to individuals that are presently unemployed and actively seeking work. JSA eligibility is dependent on having made National Insurance contributions in the previous two years.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) – ESA replaces JSA for individuals that are unable to work due to illness or disability.
  • Working Tax Credits – payable to working individuals on a low income. Tax credits are designed to reduce tax payments.

Universal Credit payments vary from case to case. How much money you are entitled to depends on your personal circumstances. Use the government’s official benefits calculator to learn how much you can expect to receive. Be aware that if you may not be eligible for Universal Credit if you have savings.

Housing and Universal Credit

Universal Credit can be used to cover rental costs on your home. This may be a local authority-owned building, or a private rental. There will be a cap associated with how much you will receive. Universal Credit may not cover your entire rent. In this instance, you will be expected to cover any shortfall yourself.

Universal Credit is not typically paid straight to a landlord or landlady. You will receive the funds directly into your bank account. You will then be expected to manage your financial commitments accordingly and come to a private arrangement with the owner of your home. Failure to do so leaves you at the risk of eviction.

The exception to this is if you fall behind on rent payments. In this instance, discuss the possibility of an Alternative Payment Arrangement. This will typically see DWP pay your landlord or landlady directly, removing the sum from your Universal Credit payments.

An APA will typically be made in instalments, so your landlord or landlady will need to agree to this. They will retain the legal right to refuse this and expect repayment in full. Most homeowners that accept tenants on Universal Credit will be sympathetic and understanding of financial difficulties, though.

Temporary or emergency housing is not covered by Universal Credit. This covers shelters, or other forms of short-term accommodation. In these instances, speak to your local council about housing benefit.

Income Support and Universal Credit

Income support is payable to individuals and families on low incomes to help make ends meet. Low income is classified as a wage below 60% of the UK’s national average for three of the last four years.

Income support is paid on a sliding scale. You can expect to receive the following weekly sum if you qualify for income support.

A weekly sum of £57.90 is payable to:

  • Single individuals aged 16 – 24
  • Single parents aged under 18
  • Couples where one parties is aged under 25

A weekly sum of £73.10 is payable to:

  • Single individuals aged 25 or over
  • Single parents aged over 18
  • Couples where one party is under 18 and the other is aged over 25

A weekly sum of £87.50 is payable to couples where both parties are aged over 18 and are responsible for a child.

A weekly sum of £114.85 is payable to couples where one party is aged over 18 the other is over 25 and are responsible for a child.

Income support usually works in tandem with other benefits, such as tax credits. Although the sums listed are weekly, they will be collated and paid monthly.

Seeking Work and Universal Credit

You will be eligible for Job Seekers Allowance if you find yourself unable to work. You will not be eligible if you resign from a job, or if you were previously not self-employed and have not paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions for the last two years.

To claim JSA, you will need to attend a meeting with your local job centre. You will also need to attend regular meetings, typically either weekly or fortnightly. At these meetings, you will be expected to provide proof that you are looking for work. This is known as signing on. You will also need to attend any courses and interviews lined up by the job centre. Failure to meet these expectations will likely result in sanctions.

If you are unable to work due to disability or ill health, you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. You will need to provide DWP with medical records and proof of your inability to work. You will also likely be assessed by a government official, who will make a decision on whether you are eligible for ESA. ESA payments are a little higher than JSA and involve more relaxed expectations of the individual.

If you are living with disability, you may also be eligible for Personal Independence Payments, or PIP. Unlike ESA, PIP is not means-tested. Savings and other earnings will not impact your eligibility for this benefit. PIP is payable to anybody that needs assistance with mobility and general day-to-day living.

How to Claim Universal Credit

Universal Credit is managed online. You will need an internet connection to claim Universal Credit. The fact that you are reading this suggests that you have online access. If you struggle, you can use the internet for free at your local library.

Use this link to apply for Universal Credit. You will likely need to attend an appointment at your local job centre to finalise your application. Note that, if you co-habit with a partner, you must apply for Universal Credit as a couple. You do not have to be married, but you must share an address.

Be aware that it will take five weeks to receive your first Universal Credit payment. This may cause financial hardship. If this is the case, you can apply for a Universal Credit Advance.

Think of this as an interest-free loan. The repayments will be taken in instalments from your future Universal Credit payments.

Universal Credit Sanctions

Receiving Universal Credit payments is dependent upon meeting certain expectations. This is called your claimant commitment.

If you fail to meet these expectations, you will be sanctioned. This means that your payments will be withheld for a set time.

Sanctions vary depending on your personal circumstances.

  • Single people aged under 25 will be sanctioned £8.20 per day.
  • Couples, both aged under 25, will be sanctioned £6.40 per day.
  • Single people aged over 25 will be sanctioned £10.40 per day.
  • Couples, in which one or both are aged over 25, will be sanctioned £8.20 per day.

Sanctions are divided into three categories. The length of the sanction varies, depending on this category.

Low Level Sanctions

Examples of low-level sanctions are:

  • Failing to attend a job interview arranged by the job centre.
  • Failing to attend a course arranged by the job centre.
  • Failing to attend a scheduled job centre appointment to sign on.
  • Failing to provide DWP with important or evidentiary documents when requested.

Low-level sanctions usually last seven days, plus the time taken to rectify the issue.

For example, if you are scheduled to sign on at 9am on Tuesday but miss the appointment, you can reschedule for 9am on Thursday. This will result in a sanction of nine days (7 days flat rate, 2 days additional.)

Medium Level Sanctions

Medium-level sanctions are typically related to the search for work. You may face this sanction if the job centre feels that you are not taking the search for work seriously enough. This could involve not providing evidence of job hunting or failing to attend work without a good reason.

The standard medium-level sanction is 31 days. If this is not your first medium-level sanction in a twelve-month period, this could increase to 91 days.

High Level Sanctions

High-level sanctions are related to behaviours that the DWP considers to be seriously violations of your claimant commitment. Examples of this could be:

  • Rejecting an offer of employment arranged by the job centre.
  • Leaving a job without good reason, and not agreeing this in advance with DWP.

A standard high-level sanction will last 91 days. If this is not your first high-level sanction in the same year, this period could increase to 128 days, or even 1,095 days.

Trouble Paying Bills on Universal Credit

Sanctions on Universal Credit seem counterproductive. If you are struggling to make ends meet, fining you is hardly going to help. Alas, this is the nature of the beast. Fortunately, sanctions can be appealed.

If you are struggling to meet your financial commitments on Universal Credit, make an urgent appointment with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau. You can also seek advice online if you are unable to attend an appointment in person.

There are also a range of sources available to help anybody struggling to make ends meet.

Emergency Hardship Loans

Struggling to pay bills and meeting financial obligations is stressful. It often plunges people into debt, which can become a vicious circle. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of unscrupulous businesses offering high-risk, high-interest loans.

Before approaching a private enterprise, speak to your local council. You may eligible for an interest-free budgeting loan.

Typically, these loans will be provided for a particular expense. This may be the repair bill for a broken essential appliance, such as a cooker or a washing machine. You can also apply for this loan to pay for a child’s school uniform, or a suit for a job interview.

Even if your local council is unable to provide you with a loan, they will not refuse to help. In addition food banks, local councils may be able to provide vouchers that pay for food or furniture.

Utility Bills

Nobody should be forced to choose between food or warmth during the winter. Reducing the expenses associated with your home will help with this.

Check if you are eligible for the government’s Warm Home Discount Scheme. Pensioners and low-income families can receive a £140 discount in their heating bill if eligible for this scheme.

If this is not applicable, use a facility like Simply Switch to find a cheaper alternative. If you do not wish to change suppliers, learn if your current supplier runs any discount schemes of their own. These include:

You could also speak to a charity, such as Charis, that specialises in offering grants to people in need.

Food and Groceries

If you are struggling to feed your family, turn to a food bank for assistance. The Citizen’s Advice Bureau will be able to advise on where your local food bank is located. Check the website of the Trussell Trust, too. This charity manages food banks all over the UK.

Debt Management

If you are already struggling with your finances, debt will only make things worse. If you find your levels of debt spiralling, seek help. The sooner you take action, the sooner you will regain control over your affairs.

There are numerous charitable organisations dedicated to offer debt advice. You can also contact the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, though some people are reluctant to do so. Debt is a very personal issue.

Charities to contact include:

A debt charity will be able to assist with drawing up a payment plan and may even speak to your creditors for you. By consolidating your outgoings, you will find that you have more money available for everyday necessities.

You may need to enter an Independent Voluntary Arrangement, or IVA. This means that a company will contact your creditors, drawing up a monthly repayment plan that is affordable to you and writing off the rest of the debt. Typically, this will be 1p for every pound that is owed.

Be aware that an IVA means that you will be unable to take out any credit arrangements for at least five years, and your credit rating may be impacted for a while afterward. It is an effective way to manage debt and regain control of your finances, but it is not a decision to take lightly.

This advice applies to Scotland 

What is the Young Carer Grant

The Young Carer Grant is a £300 payment from Social Security Scotland. It’s paid once a year to carers aged 16-18 years, who do at least 16 hours of caring a week on average, but don’t receive Carer’s Allowance.

You don’t need to have worked or paid National Insurance to get the grant, and it doesn’t matter what your income is or if you have any savings.

Who can get the Young Carer Grant

To claim the Young Carer Grant, you must be all of the following:

If you care for someone for 35 hours or more a week

If you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for someone you may be able to get a benefit called Carer’s Allowance.

You can’t get a Young Carer Grant if you’ve applied for, or already get, Carer’s Allowance.

If you think you’re eligible for Carer’s Allowance you should apply for the Young Carer Grant first. You can then apply for Carer’s Allowance after you’ve been paid the Young Carer Grant. Find out more about Carer’s Allowance.

There are some situations where you may be slightly worse off by doing this. For example, if you delay applying for Carer’s Allowance you may miss the deadline for Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

You can find out more about Carer’s Allowance Supplement or get advice at your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

If you used to get Carer’s Allowance

If you stop being eligible for Carer’s Allowance – for example, if you get a job or go into full time education, you can apply for the Young Carer Grant.

If someone else gets Carer’s Allowance for the person you care for

If someone else gets Carers Allowance for looking after the same person you care for, you can still get the Young Carer Grant.

If you share caring responsibilities with another young person

You might share caring responsibilities with another young carer. You should decide between you who will apply because only one carer can be paid the grant for any of the people you care for.

You can take it in turns to apply. For example, your sibling could apply one year and you could get it the next year.

If someone else has already applied for a Young Carer Grant for one of the people you care for, you won’t be awarded the grant, unless your application is made more than a year later.

What benefits does the cared-for person need to be getting

The person or people you care for must have been getting one or more of these benefits for at least the last 13 weeks before you apply:

If you’re not sure what benefits the person you care for gets, you can still apply for the grant and say that you don’t know. However, it will take longer for the application to be processed because Social Security Scotland will need to find out what benefits they get.

If you care for someone that doesn’t get one of these benefits

You won’t get the Young Carer grant if the person you care for isn’t getting one of the benefits above. However you can still access the Young Carers Package.

The Young Carers Package gives you access to a range of discounts and opportunities, like cinema ticket offers and CV advice. To get more information on the discounts and opportunities visit the Young Scot website.

It’s still worth applying for the Young Carer Grant if the cared-for person:

  • applied for a disability benefit over 13 weeks ago and is waiting for a decision
  • has been refused a disability benefit and is challenging that decision

Does claiming a Young Carer Grant affect the benefits of the person I care for

The benefits of the person you care for won’t be affected when you apply for the Young Carer Grant.

What counts as caring

Lots of young people don’t realise they are young carers. Some people care for more than one person at a time.

The rules say that the care must involve activity that promotes the physical, mental or emotional well-being of the person you care for.

You must not provide the care as part of your employment or voluntary work.

You might be a young carer if you help someone with an illness or disability with tasks like:

  • picking up prescriptions

  • providing emotional support

  • preparing family meals

  • getting washed and dressed

  • taking responsibility for housework

  • looking after siblings

How much time do you need to spend caring

You must have spent time caring in at least 10 of the 13 weeks before you apply. When you add up the amount of time you spent caring in the last 13 weeks it must be a minimum of 208 hours in total. If you spend the same amount of time each week caring, that is 16 hours a week on average. But you can still get the grant if there are some breaks, for example if someone you care for goes into hospital for a short time.

You can add up the hours you spend caring for up to three different people, as long as it adds up to 16 hours a week or more in total. All of the people you care for must get a certain disability benefit throughout the 13 weeks before you make your application.

The 13 week period ends on the day before your application is received by Social Security Scotland.

It’s common to underestimate the number of hours you spend caring. If you’re not sure how much you do, think about the different tasks that you do, how long they take and how often you do them. It might help to make a list.

How to apply

You can fill in an application form:

  • online on mygov.scot
  • in writing – find out more on mygov.scot. You can also request a paper form with a prepaid envelope by phone
  • by phone

Social Security Scotland 
Tel: 0800 182 2222

Before you apply for the Young Carer Grant, it’s a good idea to tell the person you care for. Once you’ve submitted your application, Social Security Scotland will send them a letter. This is to tell them that you’ve applied for the grant, and that Social Security Scotland will check what benefits they’re getting. Their benefits will not be affected.

If Social Security Scotland is made aware that the cared-for person has an appointee, they will write to the appointee.

For example, Social Security Scotland will normally check the DWP benefit records to confirm that the cared-for person is getting a qualifying disability benefit. If there is an appointee, this should be in the DWP records.

You’ll be asked for your National Insurance (NI) number, and the National Insurance number for each person you care for. You should have been sent your NI number when you turned 16. If you don’t know it, you can still make the application, but it will take longer for your application to be dealt with.

You can ask Social Security Scotland to send you a free text message or email when they get your application.

Sending evidence

Once you’ve applied, you’ll get a letter from Social Security Scotland asking you to send them evidence.

You only have to send one piece of evidence confirming your identity and one piece of evidence showing where you live. Sending more evidence won’t make your application stronger and won’t mean it’s decided faster.

You should send photocopies rather than the original copies.

You won’t normally be asked to send evidence to prove the amount of care that you provide, or the type of care.

How it’s paid

The payments will usually go into your bank, building society or credit union account.

If you don’t have a bank account, check our advice on getting a bank account.

It can be paid to someone else’s bank account if you prefer. Make sure you ask the other person first and you can access the money when you need it.

If you don’t have access to a bank account, you can ask Social Security Scotland to give you vouchers instead. These vouchers can be used at various retailers. You should apply by calling Social Security Scotland if you want to do this.

Can you get more than one grant

You can only get one grant per year, and a maximum of 3 grants in total.

You can apply for the grant once a year when you’re aged 16, 17 and 18 years.

You can apply again 12 months after your first application. When you apply for the grant, you’ll be asked if you want to be sent a reminder letter in 12 months time, telling you when you can apply again.

You’ll only be asked if you want a reminder letter if you will be 18 years or under in 12 months time.

Will the money affect other benefits

The grant won’t affect other benefits or council tax reduction.

DWP internal guidance states that the Young Carer Grant will be disregarded as income and capital. However, if the guidance isn’t followed and the grant is treated as income, the client may find it difficult to challenge.
If your client is in this situation you can contact the CPAG Scotland helpline for further information:

CPAG in Scotland
Unit 9 Ladywell
94 Duke Street
Glasgow
G4 0UW

Helpline for advisers: 0141 552 0552 (Monday to Thursday from 10.00am to 4.00pm, Friday 10.00am to 12.00 noon)
Fax: 0141 552 4404
Email: [email protected]
These contact details should not be given to clients.

What can you spend the money on

The Young Carer Grant was created to help young carers make the most of their leisure time and to help with school costs. For example, you could use it for driving lessons, socialising, school books, or going on holiday.

Young carers also have access to a Young Carers Package, which gives you access to a range of discounts and opportunities, like cinema ticket offers and CV advice. To get more information on the discounts and opportunities available visit the Young Scot website.

Where can you get more information

Find more information on the support available, including getting a Young Carer Statement in Carer’s: help and support.

Get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Help online from Young Scot and mygov.scot.

Contact Social Security Scotland

Social Security Scotland 
Tel: 0800 182 2222

If your application is refused

If you’re not awarded the Young Carer Grant, Social Security Scotland will send you a letter explaining why.

If you disagree with their decision you can ask them to look at it again. This is called a ‘re-determination’.

Each refusal letter comes with a re-determination form. You can also request one by phoning Social Security Scotland.

You have 31 days from the day you got the letter to ask for a re-determination. You are assumed to receive a letter 48 hours after Social Security Scotland has sent it, unless you can show that there was a delay in you getting the letter. This can be extended up to 12 months with good reason.

Find out more about asking for a re-determination.

If you’re refused the grant because the person you care for doesn’t get a disability benefit, you should tell Social Security Scotland if they are later awarded it.

You can access the Young Carers Package even if you don’t get the Young Carer Grant. Find more information on the discounts and opportunities available on the Young Scot website.

Rules about living in Scotland

In most cases you will be able to get the Young Carer Grant if you normally live in Scotland and you meet the other conditions for getting the grant.

If you are not a UK citizen or if you’re a UK citizen who has been living abroad you may not be able to get the grant unless you are ordinarily resident in Scotland and:

  • are ‘habitually resident’ in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the European Economic Area or Switzerland. This is a legal test which is used to see whether some people are entitled to claim benefits. You are likely to be ‘habitually resident’ in a country if it is the place that you have chosen to live for the time being. Read more about the ‘habitual residence’ test
  • are a refugee
  • have been granted temporary protection as a displaced person
  • have discretionary leave to remain
  • have leave to remain under the destitution domestic violence concession
  • have temporary protection as a displaced person
  • are a British resident who has been deported to the UK from another country

Working out what benefits or tax credits you’re entitled to can be tricky, especially with recent welfare changes. Find out where to get free expert advice online, face-to-face or by calling an advice helpline.

More info here.