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Benefits for carers

Income Support and Incapacity Benefit

Some people who are not well enough to work may get Incapacity Benefit or Income Support due to incapacity. It's no longer possible to make a new claim for Incapacity Benefit or Income Support due to incapacity as they've been replaced by Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

People who get Incapacity Benefit or Income Support due to incapacity are being reassessed to see if they're fit for work. Not everyone will be reassessed straight away, but it’s expected that everyone claiming will have been reassessed by February 2014.

If you're claiming Incapacity Benefit or Income Support due to incapacity and are due to reach State Pension age before March 2014, you won’t be reassessed and your claim won’t be affected. You can find out your State Pension age on GOV.UK.

What happens after reassessment?

If you're reassessed and it’s decided you're fit for work, you’ll need to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or another appropriate benefit. If you're reassessed and found to have limited capability for work, you’ll be able to claim ESA. Depending on the outcome of your reassessment, you’ll either be placed in the work-related activity or the support group for ESA. 

Incapacity Benefit

Incapacity Benefit was paid to people who were incapable of work and:

  • had paid enough National Insurance contributions
  • were no more than five years over State Pension age, became too ill to work before reaching pension age, and met certain other pension conditions
  • qualified as a widow or widower
  • became too ill to work before the age of 20 (the age limit could sometimes be extended to under 25 if you were in full-time education for at least three months immediately before turning 20)

The weekly rates of Incapacity Benefit for 2013-14 for people under State Pension age are:

  • short-term lower rate of £76.45 (paid for the first 28 weeks of the claim)
  • short-term higher rate of £90.50 (paid after 28 weeks)
  • long-term rate of £101.35 (paid after 52 weeks or 28 weeks if someone gets the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance, or is terminally ill)

The weekly rates of Incapacity Benefit for 2013-14 for people who have reached State Pension age are:

  • short-term lower rate of £97.25 (paid for the first 28 weeks of the claim)
  • short-term higher rate of £101.35 (paid after 28 weeks)

People who have reached State Pension age can only get the short-term rate of Incapacity Benefit. The short-term rate is only payable for 52 weeks, after which time people who have reached State Pension age are no longer entitled to Incapacity Benefit.

Extra amounts of Incapacity Benefit are paid with the long-term rate if you were under 35 or under 45 when you became incapable of work. These are called age-related additions.

You can also claim an adult dependant increase for your spouse, civil partner or someone who looks after your children.

Income Support due to incapacity

If someone has not paid enough National Insurance contributions to get Incapacity Benefit they may have been getting Income Support due to incapacity instead. This is a means-tested benefit for people under State Pension age. Because it's means tested, it can only be claimed if you have income and savings below certain limits. Income Support is paid at different rates depending on your age and whether you're single or part of a couple.

If you've been incapable of work for a whole year, an extra amount of Income Support, called a disability premium, will have been included in your Income Support.

The official source of government information on benefits is GOV.UK.

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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

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