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9 Welfare benefits

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1. Introduction

2. If you have a low income

3. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

4. If you have children to look after

5. If you are unemployed

6. If you are ill and can't work

If you are off work sick, you may qualify for:

  • Statutory Sick Pay (and possibly also contractual sick pay from your employer) for the first six months;
  • Incapacity Benefit (on top of any contractual sick pay you receive from your employer), if you are still ill and can’t work after six months.

If you are self-employed or unemployed, you cannot receive Statutory Sick Pay, but you may be able to claim Incapacity Benefit during the first six months of sickness if you have paid National Insurance contributions within the last three years.

If you are sick and you have never worked, you may qualify for Incapacity Benefit if you were under 20 (or 25 in certain circumstances) when you became unable to work. Otherwise, you may get Income Support if you are on a low income. Some people may be getting Severe Disablement Allowance because they can’t work, but you cannot make a new claim for this benefit now because it has ended. If you do return to work and are still disabled, you may also qualify for a higher rate of Working Tax Credit to top up your earnings.

If you have been injured at work

As well as the Statutory Sick Pay or Incapacity Benefit already mentioned, you may be able to claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit if you:

  • have an accident at work; or
  • suffer from one of a list of certain diseases because of your work.

You must have been an employee when you were injured or when you contracted the disease, and the injury or disease must have happened because of your work. To claim this benefit, you do not have to prove that your employer was at fault, but you should speak to a solicitor in case you can also take legal action against your employer.

7. If you have a disability

8. If you are just starting work

9. If you have retired or are about to retire

10. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

11. Where do I claim?

12. What must I do when I claim?

13. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

14. What if I've been badly treated?

15. The Human Rights Act

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: April 2019

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