Suffering an injury can be a traumatic event. It can leave you out of work and in need of financial support just to get by day-to-day. During these difficult times it is important to gain good, clear advice from a professional as early as possible. This can be vital in meeting your personal everyday needs but also any additional costs incurred through disability.
It can be daunting to look at the welfare system and work out where you should start. You can claim benefits whether you are still recovering from an injury in hospital or have already left. They can help over a short-term period or can assist with long-term care and adjustments to your life.
How will welfare benefits advice help me?
A welfare benefits adviser will be able to offer you help and support at all stages of the welfare benefits process:
- Welfare benefits review – this initial stage helps to identify the benefits you may be entitled to and the amount of money you can expect to receive. This will be based on your individual circumstances;
- Application process – once the benefits have been identified you will need to ensure the benefit paying departments are provided with the correct information to help them make a decision. This is especially important for sickness benefits, including Employment & Support Allowance and Universal Credit, as well as disability benefits such as Personal Independence Payment (“PIP”), to ensure they are paid at the correct rate;
- Appeals – should your claim be rejected you may be able to appeal the decision. With 75% of Department of Work and Pensions (“DWP”) decisions overturned on appeal getting expert help at this stage can make all the difference;
The benefits system has dramatically changed over the last 10 years. With the arrival of Universal Credit designed to simplify the benefits system, the process has somehow become even more confusing. It is vital that you receive expert advice to ensure that you do not fall through the cracks of the system and miss out on vital welfare and benefits that could make a massive difference to your quality of life.
I have suffered an injury and cannot work – what benefits can I claim?
If you lose your job or experience a drop in your income due to a personal injury, you may be able to claim an out of work benefit. These benefits include:
- Universal Credit (“UC”) – this benefit is available to anyone unable to work, looking for work, or on a low income. Universal Credit is a means-tested benefit where income and capital are taken into account when calculating entitlement. If you claim this benefit as unfit for work you will be required to submit GP fit notes until you have been assessed under a work capability assessment. Universal Credit includes elements for children, disabilities, caring and rent;
- Employment & Support Allowance – income-related Employment & Support Allowance is no longer available for the majority of claimants with UC generally claimed instead. However, should you have made enough national insurance contributions you will still be able to claim new style Employment & Support Allowance, this disregards capital and most forms of income. You will be required to submit GP fit notes until you have been assessed under a work capability assessment.
Can I get any help with the extra costs my disability brings?
Experiencing a long-term illness or disability can bring additional costs and strains to your life. These benefits are aimed at helping with these costs. Disability benefits are separated into age groups:
- Children aged 0-15* – Disability Living Allowance (“DLA”) is only available to children for new claims. It is separated into two components which are paid at different rates:
- Care component – based upon the level of looking after the child’s needs and whether that care is during the day, night or both;
- Mobility – based upon the level of help they need getting about.
- Working age* – Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has replaced DLA for people of working age. The amount awarded is based on needs and is split into two components:
- Daily living – based upon the level of help you need to carry out everyday tasks;
- Mobility – based upon your mental and physical ability to walk and make journeys.
- Retirement age – Attendance Allowance is paid to anyone that has substantial care requirements and is over pension age.
*These components are paid at either a standard or enhanced rate which is determined by the amount of points awarded for each descriptor. There are twelve descriptors in total; ten relating to daily living and two relating to mobility.
I have suffered an injury at work – is there anything I can claim?
Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is for people who are disabled because of an accident at work or who have certain diseases caused by their work, but not if this is self-employment. It is a no-fault scheme paid by the DWP.
Your level of disability determines how much benefit you get and is assessed by a medical advisor on a scale of 1 to 100%.
I am retired – are there any extra benefits I could claim?
If you are awarded Attendance Allowance this can increase entitlement to State Pension Credit.
Are there any benefits available from my local authority?
Your local authority has funding available to help a variety of things including:
- Social care – funding may be available if you require help to live independently or have to enter residential care;
- Disabled facilities grant – available if you need to make adaptations to your home;
- Disabled band reduction scheme – this will reduce your council tax band by one if you meet the criteria;
- Council tax support – help to pay your council tax if you are on a low income or receiving certain benefits;
- Council tax exemption – properties can be exempt from council tax for certain reasons;
- Severe mental impairment – if anyone in the home is deemed to suffer from a severe mental impairment they will be disregarded for council tax purposes;
- Housing benefit – this is still available in exceptional circumstances.
Can I claim benefits on behalf of someone else?
You can apply to become an appointee for someone claiming benefits, if that person cannot manage their own affairs due to mental incapacity or severe disability. We can help you take the correct steps to put these measures in place.
Where can I go for more welfare benefits advice?
Major Trauma Group can direct you to welfare benefits advice that will stand you in good stead when recovering from injury or illness. We understand how difficult it is for you and your loved ones to recover from a major trauma. There could be a whole host of different problems that require many different financial solutions and, with the help of our team, we know that we can put you on the right road to secure the benefits you are entitled to for your recovery journey.
If you would like our help with making a personal injury compensation claim, legal advice or welfare benefits advice, please get in touch: