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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

7. If you have a disability

Depending on how long an illness or disability lasts and how disabled you are as a result, you may qualify for:

  • Disability Living Allowance if you are under 65; or
  • Attendance Allowance if you are 65 or over.

You can claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance whether or not you work. They are not treated as income for the purpose of deciding whether you qualify for other means-tested benefits, such as Income Support, Tax Credits, Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit or Housing Benefit. Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance do not depend on any income you have, and you do not have to have paid any National Insurance contributions to receive them.

If you were injured or became ill due to service in the armed forces, you may also be able to claim a war pension or financial help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme. For more about this, see the CLS Direct leaflet, ‘Veterans’. 

If your home is adapted or you have to use an extra room because of your disability, your council tax bill can be reduced.

If you care for a person with a disability, you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance if you:

  • spend at least 35 hours a week caring; and
  • earn £84 a week or less.

You do not have to have paid National Insurance contributions to get Carer’s Allowance. It is taken into account when working out whether you qualify for other means-tested benefits.

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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