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Benefits for the person you care for

Disability benefits

The person you care for may be entitled to several benefits because of their condition and circumstances. It can be difficult to identify exactly which benefits they might be able to claim.

There are three main types of benefit:

Your step-by-step guide

The person you care for may be entitled to one benefit or a combination of all three types. To work out which benefits they're entitled to, follow these steps.

Step 1  check for earnings replacement benefits

Check if they're entitled to one of the earnings replacement benefits. If they're entitled to more than one of these types, the benefit that offers the highest amount of money will be paid.

Step 2  check for cost contributions

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

In April 2013, a new benefit called Personal Independence Payment replaced DLA for disabled people aged 16 to 64.

Check if they're entitled to:

DLA is paid if the young person you care for is severely disabled and has poor mobility (ability to get around) or needs help with personal care. PIP is paid if the person you care for has a long-term health condition or disability, as well as difficulties with activities related to daily living and/or mobility. AA is paid if the person you care for is severely disabled and needs help with personal care.

If they have children, they should also receive Child Benefit payments.

All these benefits can be paid on top of any earnings replacement benefit.

Step 3  check for top-ups

Check if the person you're looking after is entitled to any top-up benefits or tax credits.

Top-up benefits are known as means-tested benefits because they're only paid if the person you care for has limited income and capital. They're paid in addition to other benefits to top up your income, depending on the benefits you're receiving.

The following are means-tested benefits that the person you care for could qualify for:

  • Income Support – this is paid to some people who are below the qualifying age for the guarantee credit part of Pension Credit, who are on a low income and who don’t have to sign on as being unemployed, such as carers or lone parents.
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance – this is a benefit paid to people under 65 who have a limited capacity for work due to ill health or a disability. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance – this is paid to people who are actively seeking work. It can also help with the interest part of your mortgage payments.
  • Pension Credit – this has two parts: the guarantee credit, which is paid to people who have reached the qualifying age, in order to top up their income, and the savings credit, which is paid to people aged 65 and over, and rewards them for having some savings. Pension credit can also help with some mortgage payments.
  • Housing Benefit – this is paid to people who pay rent and have a low income.
  • Council Tax Reduction – this is paid to people who are liable for council tax and have a low income.

Claiming PIP, DLA or AA increases the amount of income that the person you care for can have coming in and still receive one of the means-tested benefits. Because of this, if they have just started to get PIP, DLA or AA they should check if they're entitled to a means-tested benefit, even if they've previously been refused the benefit.

Entitlement to means-tested benefits often enables a person to receive other benefits, such as free school meals, health benefits and social fund payments.

There are two types of tax credits: Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit.

Child Tax Credit is paid if the person you're looking after is in or out of work and has responsibility for a child. It is means-tested. Working Tax Credit is paid if they work and have a low income.

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

Click on the bars below for more detailed information on benefits for the person you're looking after.

How DLA and AA can lead to other benefits

A person who's receiving Personal Independence Payments (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) may become entitled to various other types of help. Sometimes the entitlement will depend on them qualifying for a particular component of PIP or DLA or a particular rate of DLA or AA. There are many forms of help for those receiving DLA or AA, but bear in mind that there's also help for people with disabilities who don’t get these benefits.

Help with the costs of care

If the person you're looking after receives the high rate care component of DLA, they may also be receiving funding from the Independent Living Fund (ILF) towards the cost of their personal care package to help them live in the community. The ILF is no longer accepting new applications, but people already getting ILF will continue to receive it until 2015.

Help with the costs of driving and travel

If the person you're looking after is receiving the higher rate of DLA mobility component, they may be able to apply to the Motability scheme to help them lease or buy a car, wheelchair or scooter. Their mobility component will then be paid directly to Motability.

For further information about Motability schemes, call 0845 456 4566.

If the person you're looking after receives the higher rate of DLA mobility component they (or you if your car is used for their purposes) will be exempt from road tax. For further information and an application form, call the Disability Benefits Helpline 0345 712 3456 (textphone 0345 722 4433) or write to Disability Benefits Centre, Warbreck House, Warbreck Hill, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY2 0YE.

The higher rate of DLA mobility component may also entitle the person you're looking after to a Blue Badge, which will give them parking concessions. The local authority will have more information about this. You can find contact details for your local authority by calling Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053 or by searching the directory of local carers' services

If the person you're looking after gets AA, either rate of DLA mobility component or the middle or highest rate of DLA care component, they may be entitled to a disabled person’s railcard. This will give them, and a person travelling with them, concessions on many rail journeys. Concessions on local bus services are also available. Contact your local authority for more information.

Help with Council Tax

If the person you're looking after receives the highest rate care component of DLA or higher rate AA, it may mean that they or the person they live with who is liable for Council Tax are eligible for a Council Tax discount.

Christmas Bonus

If the person you're looking after is getting AA or DLA in the first full week in December and they're resident in the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, any EEA country or Switzerland, they'll be entitled to a tax-free £10 Christmas Bonus. This is paid in December and no claim is needed.


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Page last reviewed: 09/04/2014

Next review due: 09/04/2016

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

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