There is a wide range of practical and financial support available to help you with the costs of living with a disability.
Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is a benefit that can be paid if you need help with care or mobility. It helps you meet the extra costs of living with a disability. It is split into two parts: a mobility component and a care component.
You can claim DLA for a child under the age of 16 if you can prove that they:
- have had care or mobility needs for at least three months
- will have care or mobility needs for at least six months.
There is no lower age limit for the care component and anyone over the age of three can claim for the mobility component.
If you are over 65 years of age you may also be eligible for DLA.
For further information and guidance on how to apply please see our factsheet.
Note: If you are aged between 16-65 you may be eligible to apply for Personal Independence Payments which replaced DLA for working age residents in 2013. See below for more information.
Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are a new disability benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for people of working age (16-64).
PIP is a cash payment aimed at covering the extra cost of having a disability. It is not means tested and is payable even if an individual is working.
PIP consists of two components: Daily Living and Mobility. Each individual is assessed for both components using a series of ‘activities tests’.
Each activity test consists of a series of ‘descriptors’ which are used to best describe an individual’s condition (for example, ‘can carry out this activity unaided’ through to ‘cannot carry out this activity at all’). The decision is based on whether they can carry out the activity:
- to an acceptable standard
- in a reasonable time
- at least 50% of the time.
Both components contain two rates of pay – standard and enhanced. The rate that an individual receives is determined by the number of points they receive in the activities tests. Individuals need to score eight points to receive the standard rates and 12 to receive the enhanced rates.
For more information and guidance on how to apply, please see our factsheet.
This is a benefit which provides additional funding for individuals aged 65 or older who need assistance with personal care for an ongoing or fixed period. It is not means tested, so an individual’s savings will not be taken into account. It is a benefit to help with the additional costs of living with a disability. To be eligible for Attendance Allowance, you must:
- be 65 or older
- need assistance with personal care during the day and/or during the night (washing, eating, dressing, etc.)
- need help with communication
- have difficulty walking
- need supervision to ensure you don’t cause yourself harm
- be a resident of the UK.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) provides financial help to people who are unable to work full time or at all due to illness or disability. They must not be receiving statutory sick pay.
Individuals applying for ESA will be required to undergo a Work Capability Assessment and a Medical Assessment.
After the assessment stage, if you are deemed to have a limited capability to work, you will be put into one of two categories:
- Work-related activity group. If it is decided that you are not well enough to work right now but could work with support, you will be placed in this category. You will have to attend meetings with a personal advisor to discuss and prepare for an eventual return to work.
- Support group. If it is decided that your illness or disability severely limits what you can do, you will be placed into this category. You will not have to prepare for a return to work (but you can if you wish to).
For further information and guidance on how to apply please see our factsheet.
Please note that ESA is currently being phased out and replaced with Universal Credit. To find out if this affects you, please see ‘Universal Credit’ below.
Universal Credit (UC) is a new means-tested benefit which is replacing a number of ‘legacy benefits’ including Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Housing Benefit.
UC is currently being ‘rolled out’ (made available) in areas across the UK. You can check if you are living in a UC area by visiting the Universal Credit Info website.
For more information about UC, please call the helpline team on 0800 652 6352.
People who are assessed as having care needs will be given grants and benefits which are collectively referred to as a care package.
Care packages for a social care need are funded by social services. Care packages for someone who qualifies for Continuing Health Care are funded by the NHS. In many cases, individuals have a jointly funded care package.
For more information on care packages and how to apply for one, please see our factsheet.
The Blue Badge scheme allows the drivers of passengers with severe mobility problems to park close to where they need to go. The Blue Badge is displayed in your vehicle window and allows you to park in specially designated bays. You can apply for a Blue Badge from your local authority by calling them or by applying or online.
To learn more about this scheme and how to apply, please see our factsheet.
This leasing scheme provides a new car, scooter, or powered wheelchair for individuals in exchange for their Government mobility allowances (either the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance or the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment).
To learn more about this and how to apply, please see our factsheet.
If you live in a London Borough, you may also be eligible for a:
- Freedom Pass
- Taxi Card.
Adaptations and specialist equipment
Adaptations, improvements and repairs to the home are a key part of making your home more accessible and safer. Often getting the right adaptations means that you can remain in your home for longer.
You can be referred to an Occupational Therapist (OT) either by Social Services or by your GP/Consultant. The OT will visit your home and carry out assessments to recommend specialist equipment and adaptations.
Local authorities have funds to help cover the costs of such improvements. Minor adaptations, such as handrails, are available through Social Services. In most cases, community equipment, aids and minor adaptations that help people live at home and cost under £1,000 should be provided free of charge in England by your local authority. This is a duty imposed on local authorities under the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act.
A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is a local council grant which helps towards the cost of adapting your home so that you can continue to live there. The council pays the grant when it considers the changes are necessary to meet your needs and is happy that the work is reasonable and practical.
A grant can be used for essential adaptations to give you better freedom of movement into and around your home. It can also be used to provide essential facilities within it. This includes:
- Widening doors and installing ramps
- Providing or improving access to rooms and facilities – for example, by installing a stair lift, through-floor lift or downstairs bathroom
- Improving or providing a heating system which is suitable for your needs
- Adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
- Improving access to and movement around the home to enable you to care for another person who lives in the property – for example, a child.
See our factsheet on adaptations to learn more about how to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant.
The Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT), the Muscular Dystrophy UK welfare fund, provides grants towards the costs of specialist equipment such as powered wheelchairs, adapted computers and electric beds, for children and adults.
In the past 25 years, we have awarded more than 6,000 grants for a total of more than £6million. This has helped more than 5,000 children and adults with muscle-wasting conditions get specialist equipment not available on the NHS.