Disability benefits: Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Attendance Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and more

With new research revealing that those with a disability can face additional expenses of almost £1,000 per month, we look at the financial help available to ease some of this burden.

Disability costs at £975 per month

Having a serious health condition often involves complex physical and emotional challenges.

And the situation is even more difficult if you’re constantly worrying about your finances.

Alarmingly, research from charity Scope has found that the ‘hidden costs’ of living with a disability can total £975 per month or almost £12,000 per year.

Here, we look at the different state benefits and other support you may be able to claim if you’re living with a serious health condition.

Disability Living Allowance for children

While working age adults can no longer claim Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the benefit is still available for children.

These payments are designed to help parents and carers cover any additional costs of looking after a child who:

  • Has difficulty walking or;
  • Needs significantly more care than a child of the same age without a disability
  • Is under 16

At present, the rate of DLA is between £28.70 and £184.30 per week, with the amount you receive depending on the level of care the child needs.

You’ll normally receive DLA every four weeks (on a Tuesday).

You can claim DLA on behalf of a child if you are a parent or care for them in the same way a parent would. People who can apply may include siblings, guardians or grandparents.

You can print off a claim form or call the DLA helpline on 0800 121 4600 to ask for a printed copy.

If you live in Scotland, you can apply for the Child Disability Payment, rather than DLA.

Personal Independence Payment for adults

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for working-aged adults with long-term needs that limit their ability to work.

To qualify for PIP, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be aged 16 or over (but below State Pension age)
  • Struggle with getting around or performing certain everyday tasks
  • Expect your difficulties to continue for at least 12 months (from the onset)

PIP is broken down into two parts:

  • A mobility component (if you struggle with moving around)
  • A daily living component (if you need support with day-to-day tasks)

The rate you receive will depend on the level of support you require, with payments broken down into a lower or higher weekly rate.

For the 2024/5 tax year, the following rates apply:


Lower weekly rate

Higher weekly rate

Mobility component



Daily living component



You can apply for PIP online, by post or over the phone by calling 0800 917 2222.

If you live in Scotland, you’ll need to apply for an Adult Disability Payment (ADP), rather than PIP.

Reviews of existing claims

Once you start receiving PIP, your eligibility may be reviewed on a regular basis.

The letter that you receive when you start receiving the benefit will tell you when and if your claim will be reviewed.

As part of the review process, you’ll need to complete an ‘Award Review’ form, which you’ll then need to send (alongside any supporting evidence) to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

At this stage, a medical professional may call you to request more information, or you may be invited to an assessment (either in person, over the phone or by video call).

You should then receive a letter with the DWP’s decision.

If you disagree with the decision, you can make an appeal.

Attendance Allowance for older adults

You may be able to claim Attendance Allowance if you’ve reached State Pension age and need another person to help care for you.

The benefit is available at two rates, with the amount you receive depending on the level of care you need.

You are eligible for the lower rate if you require “frequent help or constant supervision during the day, or supervision at night”.

To qualify for the higher rate, you’ll need “help or supervision through both the day and night, or a medical professional has said you might have 12 months or less to live”.

For the 2024/25 tax year, the lower rate is £72.65 per week and the higher rate is £108.55 per week.

If you need to make a claim, you can apply online, through the post or by calling 0800 731 0122.

Be aware, the new online service only accepts a limited number of applications per week.

Also note that Attendance Allowance doesn’t cover mobility needs.

If your health condition relates to specific circumstances such as an industrial or war injury, you may be eligible for Constant Attendance Allowance, rather than Attendance Allowance.

Although Attendance Allowance ia available in Scotland, some councils will begin trialling a Pension Age Disability Payment as a replacement later this year.

You can read more about other support available to those over 60 in our comprehensive guide.

Disability premiums

If you are claiming certain state benefits, you may receive additional payments if you have a serious health condition that affects your ability to work.

These additional payments (known as premiums) fall into three categories: Disability Premium, Severe Disability Premium and Enhanced Disability Premium.

These premiums can be added to benefits such as Universal Credit, Income Support, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. (You can find a full list of qualifying benefits on the DWP’s website).

The type of premium you receive will depend on which state benefits you are claiming.

For the 2024/5 tax year, the following rates apply:


Disability Premium

Severe Disability Premium

Enhanced Disability Premium

Single person








You should tell the DWP about any health conditions that may qualify for a premium if you’re making a new claim for state benefits. If you’re already claiming and your health changes significantly, you should notify the DWP about your new circumstances.

If you qualify for an additional premium, this money will be automatically be added to your other benefit payments.

New Style Employment Support Allowance

New Style Employment Support Allowance (ESA) provides financial support if you are under State Pension age and have a health condition that limits the amount you can work.

The purpose is to help with your expenses while you can’t work and to help you get back into employment when you are well enough.

To qualify for ESA, you’ll need to meet both requirements below:

  • Have worked as an employee or been self employed
  • Paid sufficient National Insurance contributions (usually enough to cover two to three years)

Assessment for ESA

Once you’ve applied for ESA, you’ll need to submit to an assessment to determine if you qualify for the benefit.

During this period, you’ll usually receive up to £71.70 per week if you are under 25 and up to £90.50 if you are 25 or over.

If your claim is approved, you’ll be placed into one of two categories: a ‘work-related activity’ or a ‘support group’.

If you are assessed as being able to return to work in the near future, you’ll be placed in the ‘work-related activity group’, which has a rate of £90.50 per week.

You’ll be placed in the ‘support’ group if you are not able to return to work in the short term, which has a rate of £138.20.

You can apply for ESA online or by calling the Jobcentre Plus new claim hotline on 0800 055 6688.

Although you can work while claiming ESA, there are conditions on the number of hours you can work and the amount you can earn.

ESA and Universal Credit

You won’t be able to claim New-Style ESA if you haven’t made sufficient National Insurance contributions but may be able to claim Universal Credit instead.­

Before New Style ESA came into effect, you could also claim an income-related ESA, which is now being replaced by Universal Credit.

You can learn more about the differences between ESA and Universal Credit on the Gov.uk website.

Carer’s Allowance

If you spend a significant amount of time providing support for someone with a disability, you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

To qualify, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

  • Provide care for at least 35 hours a week
  • Earn less than £151 per week (following deductions such as Income Tax and National Insurance
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Be aged 16 or over

The rate of Carer’s Allowance is £81.90 per week for the 2024/25 tax year.

How to apply

You can apply for Carer’s Allowance online or by calling 0800 731 0297 to request a form.

During the application, you’ll need to provide information such as:

  • Your National Insurance Number (and your partner’s National Insurance Number, if applicable)
  • Your employment details
  • A P45 if you’ve recently left employment
  • Details of expenses

You’ll also need to provide information about the person you’re caring for. This includes:

  • Their address
  • Their date of birth
  • Their National Insurance Number (if they are over 16)
  • Their Disability Living Allowance reference (if they are under 16)

Note, you can backdate your claim for up to three months.

If you care for someone for 20 hours or more per week, you may also be eligible for Carer’s Credit, which will help fill any gaps in your National Insurance record.

If you live in Scotland and receive Carer’s Allowance, you may also receive a Carer’s Allowance Supplement.

Also note that Carer’s Allowance is being replaced by Carer Support Payments in Scotland by spring 2025.

Other financial help

Although it would be impossible to go into detail about all the financial support schemes available in this guide, there are some particularly helpful initiatives that are worth including.

Council Tax Reduction

If you or someone living in your household has a disability, you may receive a discount on your Council Tax, which can be between 25% and 100% depending on the circumstances.

Budgeting loan

If you’ve received certain disability benefits for more than six months, you may qualify for an interest-free government loan, which can cover costs such as household items, household maintenance and clothing.

Vehicle Tax Exemption

If you receive one of the following disability benefits, you can apply for Vehicle Tax Exemption:

  • The higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance
  • Enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment
  • Enhanced rate mobility component of Adult Disability Payment

To qualify, the vehicle must be registered in the disabled person’s name or a nominated driver.

Statutory Sick Pay

If you are temporarily too ill to work, you can receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks at a rate of £116.75. Note, this is paid by your employer and is not a state benefit.

Disabled Railcard

National Rail offers discounts of a third on train fares in Britain to those with a disability through its Disabled Railcards. The discount applies on both standard and first-class journeys.

A one-year card costs £20 and a three-year card is £54.

Useful organisations

If you have a disability or care for someone who does, there are organisations that can provide both financial and non-financial support.

These include:

Carers UK
Disability Rights UK
Family Fund

Some of these organisations also offer ‘benefit calculators’. To use these tools, you’ll need to enter your personal circumstances and you’ll then receive an overview of any support you may be able to claim.


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