A to Z Welfare Benefits Guide

Overview

Below is an A to Z list of welfare benefits. To get more information, use the drop-down click 'more about' to go to additional information. Try the free online benefit calculator tools too.

Armed Forces Independence Payment

The Armed Forces Independence Payment (AFIP) was introduced to provide financial support to service personnel and veterans seriously injured as a result of service to cover the extra costs they may have as a result of their injury.

Attendance Allowance

A benefit paid by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) to people who have care needs as a result of their disability & are aged 65 or over when they claim. It is not affected by your income or capital & you do not have to have paid National Insurance (NI) contributions.

Bereavement Allowance

Bereavement allowance (previously widow's pension) is a weekly benefit for widows, widowers or surviving civil partners. These benefits are not means-tested, so they are available to anyone regardless of their income level and can be paid whether or not you are working.

Bereavement Support Payment

If your spouse or civil partner has died you may be able to claim Bereavement Support Payment to help ease some of the financial worries you may be facing. These benefits are not means-tested, this means they are available to anyone regardless of their income level and can be paid whether or not you are working.

Blue Badge Scheme

The Blue badge scheme is run by local authorities and provides flexible, and sometimes free parking to people with a disability that affects their walking or driving. To qualify, you must get the enhanced rate of personal independence payment (mobility component) or the higher rate of disability living allowance mobility component. Your award must have at least 12 months left to run.

Budgeting Loan

Budgeting Loans are interest free loans from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) Social Fund that are available only to people claiming certain income-related benefits for a minimum of 6 months. You have to pay back a Budgeting Loan.

Carer's Allowance

If you are providing care for someone for at least 35 hours per week and they receive certain disability benefits you may be eligible to claim Carers Allowance.

You could receive £66.15 per week and you don’t have to be related to, or live with, the person you are caring for. However if you care for more than one person, you can only be paid for one and you will receive no extra.

Child Benefit

You will get Child Benefit if you are responsible for one or more children under 16 (or under 20 if they stay in approved education or training). There’s no limit to how many children you can claim for.

You can choose not to get Child Benefit payments, but you should still fill in the claim form because:

  • it will help you get National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension

  • it will ensure your child is registered to get a National Insurance number when they’re 16 years old

Cold Weather Payment

You may get a Cold Weather Payment if you are getting certain benefits or Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI).

You will get a payment if the average temperature in your area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for 7 consecutive days.

You’ll get £25 for each 7 day period of very cold weather between 1 November and 31 March.

Cold Weather payments are different to Winter Fuel Payments.

Council Tax Reduction

If you have a low income, and have minimal savings, you may be able to claim Council Tax Reduction, also known as Council Tax Support. If you are entitled to Council Tax Reduction your award will be taken off your Council Tax bill, reducing the amount you need to pay.

To check your full benefit entitlement visit our Benefit Calculators page for free online calculators.

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)


Disability Premiums

Disability premiums are extra amounts of money added to your:

  • Income Support

  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Housing Benefit

Any money you get is added to your benefit payments automatically so you usually do not have to apply for a disability premium.

There are 3 types of disability premium for adults:

  • disability premium

  • enhanced disability premium

  • severe disability premium

You can get more than one premium at a time.

Discretionary Hardship Payment


Employment Support Allowance (ESA)

ESA is a benefit, which is paid if you are ill or disabled, providing financial support if you’re unable to work and personalised help so that you can work if you are able to.

You can apply for ESA, whether you are employed, self-employed or unemployed. You could be transferred to ESA if you’ve been claiming other benefits, for example, Income Support or Incapacity Benefit.

There are three types of ESA: New style ESA, income-based ESA and Contribution-based ESA. Your circumstances will determine which type you will receive.

‘New style’ ESA

To qualify for ‘new style’ ESA you’ll need to:

  • Have paid National Insurance contributions, usually in the last two to three years, either as an employee or through self employment. If you have acquired National Insurance credits they will count too

  • Have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work

Neither you or your partner’s income and savings will affect how much ‘new style’ ESA you will be paid.

If you are eligible for Universal Credit you will be able to claim it, at the same time or instead of the ‘new style’ ESA. However if you get both Universal Credit and ‘new style’ ESA at the same time, your ‘new style’ ESA payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment.

Income-based ESA

To be awarded income -based ESA you need to have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work, and in addition, you must receive either:

  • A severe disability premium, or

  • A severe disability premium was awarded within the last month and you’re still eligible for it

Your National Insurance contributions in the last 2 to 3 years do not affect your eligibility for income-based ESA

Contribution-based ESA

To be awarded contribution-based ESA you need to have an illness or disability that affects your ability to work, and in addition, you must receive either:

  • A severe disability premium, or

  • A severe disability premium was awarded within the last month and you’re still eligible for it

You will need to have paid National Insurance contributions, usually in the last two to three years, either as an employee or through self employment. If you have acquired National Insurance credits they will count too.

Neither you or your partner’s income and savings will affect how much contribution-based ESA you will be paid.

Free School Meals

When your child starts school, he or she might be entitled to a free school meal. If you have children in reception, year 1 or year 2 and they go to a state school they are entitled to free school meals regardless of your household income. From year 3 onwards your children could get free lunches, and sometimes milk, at school if you are receiving certain qualifying benefits.

Funeral Expenses Payments


Guardian's Allowance

If you are bringing up a child and the child's parents have died, you may be entitled to receive Guardian’s Allowance.

There are also special conditions to claim when there is one surviving parent.

The Guardian’s Allowance rate is paid at £17.90 per week. You are entitled to receive this on top of Child Benefit and it is tax-free too.

If entitled to Guardian’s Allowance you will normally be paid every 4 weeks. It can be paid weekly if you’re a single parent or in receipt of certain other benefits, such as Income Support.

Housing Benefit


Incapacity Benefit


Income Support

Income Support helps people who do not have enough to live on. It is only available for certain groups of people who do not get Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance and are not in full time employment. Income Support is being replaced by Universal Credit.

Industrial Injuries benefit


Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)


Maternity Allowance


Motability Scheme

The Motability Scheme is provided by a national charity - Motability. It is available to a person with enhanced rate of personal independence payment 'mobility component' or the higher rate of disability living allowance 'mobility component', awards must have a minimum of 12 moths to run. It provides a simple way to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair without the worry of owning or running one.

NHS Dental


NHS Healthy Start Vouchers


NHS Prescriptions & Other Health Costs


Pension Credit


Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have a disability or long term illness which affects your daily living and/or your mobility, you may be entitled to PIP, a benefit to help pay for the extra needs you have as a result.

If you qualify for PIP because of your disability or long term illness, it will be paid to you regardless of your income, savings, National Insurance contribution record and it is a tax free benefit. You can also receive PIP if you are working or studying. The PIP payments you receive do not have to be spent on paying for the extra needs you have.

PIP is available for all new claimants and replaces DLA (if you are between the ages of 16 and 64 and if you were under 65 on 8 April 2013).

Savings & Capital Rules - Over 60's

It is important to check how your savings and capital might affect your benefit entitlement if you qualify for 'pension age' benefits. You can check your state pension age by using the government calculator, the current pension age is under review and is likely to increase.

If you are in a couple your eligibility for pension age means-tested benefits is based on the age of the youngest person in the couple.

Statutory Adoption Pay


Statutory Maternity Pay


Statutory Paternity Pay


Statutory Shared Parental Pay


Statutory Sick Pay

You can get £95.85 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if unable to work due to illness. SSP is paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. You must be eligible for SSP, see below.

You must be paid no less than the statutory amount. You can get more if your company has a contractual sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’) - check your employment contract.

Sure Start Maternity Grants

If you are expecting your first child and have no other children under 16, or you are expecting a multiple birth, for example, twins or triplets (even if you have children already you may be entitled to a one off payment of £500.00 (in Scotland you can apply for a ‘pregnancy and baby payment’ instead).

Tax Credits

Tax Credits are claimed and paid through HMRC. In most cases, tax credits have been replaced by Universal Credit.

There are two types of tax credits:

  • Working Tax Credit

  • Child Tax Credit

If you are already claiming tax credits and remain eligible, these will be renewed annually until your local area rolls out Universal Credit, the government has delayed full roll out to 2024. Current claimants will be sent an annual declaration pack to complete by a certain date and must return this or submit online to prevent your claim from ending, you can also renew by phone.

If you have children moving from high school to higher education, it is important to notify both Child Benefit and HMRC that your child is remaining in education. If you claim council tax reduction and housing benefit, you must also let your local authority know to avoid overpayments. Benefit departments are not yet co-ordinated with these changes.

Universal Credit


Universal Credit Advance


Winter Fuel Payment

If you were born on or before 5 November 1953 you could get between £100 and £300 to help you pay your heating bills. This is known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

You usually get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you are eligible and you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction, Child Benefit or Universal Credit).

If you are eligible but do not get paid automatically, you will need to make a claim.

The deadline for claiming payments for winter 2019 to 2020 is 31 March 2020.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by 13 January 2020. If you do not get your payment, call the office that pays your benefits - their details are on any letters they sent you.

Any money you get will not affect your other benefits.

Working Hours for Benefits

If you are doing paid work for an employer or are self-employed but on a low income, you might still qualify for certain welfare benefits. Some benefit entitlement will depend on how many hours of paid work you do per week.